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Embracing Authenticity & Unity: The Inspiring Journey of Persion Unapologetic

Embracing Authenticity & Unity: The Inspiring Journey... Embracing Authenticity & Unity: The Inspiring Journey...

Originally from Jamaica, Persion left her home country to find refuge in Spain. Her story underscores the importance, for queer and trans people, of doing whatever’s needed to access the environments where we can be our authentic selves. For Persion, embracing one’s truth is what Pride is all about. 

Persion’s arrival in Spain was not the end of her journey, but the beginning of a long process of self-actualization. In Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean, trans people face extremely high levels of community violence in public spaces. Like so many trans people in Jamaica, she felt unsafe in her daily life. Faced with threats to her safety and well-being due to her identity as a transgender woman, Persion sought assistance from Rainbow Railroad.

After relocating to Spain with the help of Rainbow Railroad, she finally felt safe to live her life as her authentic self, which she describes as a life-giving and transformative experience. Spain is one of the most LGBTQI+-friendly countries in the world, with robust legal protections for trans people.

“Resettling has been one of the greatest experiences in my life,” she shares. “It has allowed me to completely reinvent myself and pursue some of my dreams and passions that I could never do when I lived in Jamaica.”

Considering Persion’s story against the larger context of queer and trans persecution globally is a daunting and sobering exercise. In 2022, Rainbow Railroad received over 10,000 requests for help from people experiencing similar levels of persecution and violence, simply for being their authentic selves. In 2023, that number increased to over 15,000. Every year, with the support of our communities, we help thousands of people facing community and family rejection, violence, and threats, but the need to help more people remains urgent. 

Now living her life in Spain, we asked Persion what Pride means to her. “Pride is the courage to embrace authenticity, the strength to love fearlessly, and the resilience to stand tall in the face of adversity,” she asserts. “It’s not just a celebration of who we are, but a testament to the power of acceptance and the beauty of diversity.”

Persion further reflected on Rainbow Railroad’s Pride theme, Solidarity in Pride. “For me, Solidarity in Pride embodies the idea of a shared commitment by the LGBTQI+ community and its allies to support and protect each other,” she explains. “It is about reaching out to people in less tolerant parts of the world or in difficult situations, whether through advocacy, financial support, or raising awareness.”

Persion has another message to impart, one borne of the darkest days she experienced before being given a chance to reinvent herself in Spain.

“Hold onto your truth with unwavering strength,” she advises. “Your existence is a celebration, your voice a revolution, and your life a precious contribution to a brighter future. Stay strong — you are truly remarkable.”

This year, Rainbow Railroad will receive more than 15,000 requests for help from LGBTQI+ people around the world experiencing persecution and violence simply because of who they are or who they love. Be a part of their journey from Persecution to Pride by making a donation and supporting our work.