Chyra & Janice

L to R: Janice, Chyra

About four years ago I was going through a really rough situation and Janice became my good friend. She just embraced me. She’s just like a sister to me. We fall out, hang up on each other, and then it’s fine. When we first got to know each other, I didn’t know she was gay. I didn’t really believe her at first.

Sometimes people get into your life and they bring out certain things in you, and you become more free. Janice is really good about setting boundaries and helping me do that, too. She is a really good foster parent and I trust her with my grandson when I can’t watch him myself. My mom is almost 80 and she’s not always open-minded to everything, but she just loves Janice. Janice is from Alabama, and so is my mother.

My mom raised us with rules like respecting elders, not messing with handicapped people, and never using the “N” word. Growing up I had some hard experiences within my own race, too. I have a lighter skin tone, brown eyes and long hair. I really didn’t like the prejudice I experienced in my own culture. It made me want to befriend people and be kind to them. I think it made me more open-minded.  I don’t really care if people are straight or gay. I have known some straight people who have done horrible things.

I asked Janice recently why she picked me of all people to do this interview. She said it was because I’m real, and that I’ve been with her through her whole journey. I look back, and she’s right. There is not one thing I couldn’t ask her to do. When my son got accepted to college in Alabama, Janice was the first one to come over and say, “Let’s plan the drive!”