Gender Stories

I have always been me: in conversation with Precious Brady-Davis.

July 05, 2021 Precious Brady-Davis Season 4 Episode 50
Gender Stories
I have always been me: in conversation with Precious Brady-Davis.
Show Notes Transcript

Alex Iantaffi interviews Precious Brady-Davis to discuss her book "I have always been me: a memoir" and the themes of family, life transitions, healing, faith, and belonging . Precious Brady-Davis is an award-winning diversity advocate, communications professional, and public speaker. She currently serves as the associate regional communications director at the Sierra Club. She served for three years as the assistant director of diversity recruitment initiatives at Columbia College Chicago, her alma mater, implementing the campus-wide diversity initiative and providing leadership and oversight of national diversity recruitment and inclusion policy initiatives. She also served as the youth outreach coordinator at Center on Halsted, the largest LGBTQ community center in the Midwest. During Precious’s tenure, she launched a $1.6 million CDC HIV prevention grant, which provided outreach, education, youth programming, and testing services to over three thousand young African American and Latinx gay, bi, and trans youth. Precious is married to Myles Brady and lives in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago, where they are raising their daughter, Zayn. In her free time, she enjoys online shoe shopping, travel, and fine dining with friends. For more information visit www.preciousbradydavis.com.

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Hosted by Alex Iantaffi
Music by Maxwell von Raven
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Intro:

Everyone has a relationship with gender. What's your story? Hello and welcome to Gender stories with your host, Dr. Alex Iantaffi.

Alex Iantaffi:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Gender Stories. Dear listeners, I know I'm always excited and elated but I'm ecstatic today because I'm going to introduce you to today's interviewee who is Precious Brady Davis, who is the author of a wonderful memoir that's coming out on July 1, 2021. I had the privilege to read an advanced readers copy. And it's fantastic. I can't wait to talk about the book with Precious. But let me tell you about Precious first Precious is an award winning diversity advocate, communications professional and public speaker. She currently serves as Associate regional communications director at the Sierra Club. She served for three years as the Assistant Director of diversity recruitment initiatives at Columbia College Chicago, her alma mater, implementing the campus wide diversity initiative, and providing leadership and oversight of national diversity recruitment and inclusion policy initiatives. She also served as the Youth Outreach Coordinator, a center in Houston, the largest LGBTQ community center in the Midwest. During Precious's tenure, she launched a 1.6 million CDC HIV prevention grant, which provided outreach, education, youth programming, and testing services to over 3000 young African American and Latinx gay bi and trans youth. Precious is married to Miles Brady and lives in Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago, where they're raising their daughter, Day. In her free time she enjoys online shopping, travel, and fine dining with friends. And for more information, you can look it up a website, and I'll tell you where to find Precious online on the episode descriptions. But for now, welcome, Precious. Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me today.

Precious Brady-Davis:

Hi, Alex. My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. And for that wonderful, warm introduction.

Alex Iantaffi:

Well, I, you know, I feel every piece of that introduction, you know, from the title of your memoir, to every word that I've read, I really felt moved and drawn in and I really loved it. So I want to start by talking about your book, if that's okay. And I want to start from the title. I love that you call your memoir, 'I Have Always Been Me'. I feel that sometimes cis folks have this narrative that, you know, we were somehow different or another person before we came out as trans people. And I feel like that title 'I've always been me' is such an affirmation. So can you tell our listeners a little bit about how you came by that title?

Precious Brady-Davis:

Yes. So yes, I completely agree with the same vein of what you're talking about here. I wanted people to know that this is who I have always been. And especially when it comes to titles and naming things, people always want to have one kind of descriptor. And I felt like long before I ever had a description of what I was long before I knew I was I was a young, gender non conforming child who was queering the space. And there are multiple instances in the book where I talk about being a queer child, you know, walking around in my sister's shoes, you know, matting up the carpet, you know, playing in the backyard mimicking, you know, Whitney Houston wearing my sister's shoes to school. And I really wanted people to think about that. And you'll notice that in the end, the book that I write about my gender, as a child that I write, that I was a young boy, because that's the world labeled me. That's how that is how I navigated the world. You know, it was an experience that was male, but I knew that I was gender non conforming, that I was gender non conforming and that I was not a boy. And there are countless incidents in my life, where I could look back and say that was a trans moment, that was gender non conforming, that was trans. That was me queering the space and and so I wanted people to know that I've always been this person and there's also something about the current iteration of my life, that in this current phase, time, and place, one could look at my life and see that I'm blessed. You know, I'm married, you know, I'm a mom, I have a wonderful career. But I've always been this person. And this is the outward manifestation. My whole life, I've been working to create this, in every season of my life, I have shown up, I had been passionate, I have been involved in social activism, activism, and social justice. This is just not something new. And I think a lot of people, you know, due to social media, you know, get involved, you know, in the nonprofit world now and feel like they have to be committed to an issue. But I think the record shows that I've always been committed to justice. I've always been an energetic, passionate person. And so I really wanted that to come across that this is the person that I always have been that I haven't just arrived. That's, that's not what that what this is. And I think, like you said, I think for so many trans people, I think people say, 'Oh when did you wake up and have a realization, you know, that you were trans?' No, I've always been this person.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that, because I really got this sense when I was reading the book. And even though like, our life experiences are so different, you know, I was brought up in Italy, a completely different country and a different time, because I think, from the references in the book, I'm probably quite a bit older than you, because I'm 50. You know, so we were brought up at different times different places, but there were so many moments of restaurants, around that passion that you talk about. And I love that in the book, for example, you talk about your passion, even with church, you know, and being engaged in youth ministry, while also, you know, coming into a different kind of passion by going to the any town we can, for example, right. All those kind of different ways in which passion is stirring up all throughout kind of your childhood, and then your adolescence, you know, and so on, and so on. And, and I love that there are so many moments of transition that you talk about, this is not just about gender transition, but also transitioning from home to home for you because you had many homes growing up due to quite challenging and traumatic, I would say circumstances. And you talk about kind of transitions from for example, when you're adopted by your grandparents, right, going from being a Holbert, Jr. to a Davis, right. And now this moment of transition, and one could say transformation, or both the loss and the gain or loss of something and again, of something, the end of something in the beginning of something. Yeah. Tell me more about how did you experience that, as you were writing, writing about all these different transitions that were so much bigger than gender, even though gender was also woven throughout?

Precious Brady-Davis:

Yes, I think you hit it on the nail is my whole life has been a transition. I have always been in transition. And I've been in in flux. You know, there hasn't been sturdy ground under neath me, there were times where I created transition for myself, and times where transition was forced upon me. And as I look at it, as an adult, I think it's made me a better human being. It makes me understand the experiences of multiple individuals, like you talked about my faith community, I understand what it is to grow up in a Christian environment. I understand what it is to be a foster kid. I understand what it is to be biracial in the world. And I think it's only added to my multitude of experiences of how I see the world. And I think, in the book, I tried to lay it out as a sense of this is what happened. And I showed up, and I didn't, I didn't in the book, I didn't want to because one might say when that when they're writing their memoirs, they wanted it, they want it to be super clean, you know, and it's so up and down, because that's what happened to me. Like in my life, I had a very, you know, tumultuous childhood. And I really just wanted to lean into showing up and when it comes to trauma, often it's how we respond to it. And I in the book, I talk about refusing to be made less then because I am experiencing trauma my whole life. I've always claimed my voice and spoken out and claimed my space. Even in a time when others tried to rob me of that voice when I was in transition, and it was through the wielding of my voice where I found a foundation, when so much was in flux, I think it was, there was an inner resilience and optimism that that guided me. And I know not everyone has that. For me, it is one of my gifts and, and I know that.

Alex Iantaffi:

I think that gift was really shining beautifully throughout all of the pages, right? Whenever you talk about so many challenging moments of like you said, some of the change that was really pushed on you, in a lot of ways even going to kindergarten, right and moving from like the... Was it the morning to the afternoon shift where you find, you know, going from mostly being with black and brown kids, to being with like, white kids and starting to have that feeling that hang on a minute. Who am I as a biracial person, right, which, of course, as a kindergartener is now like, you're going to express it in kind of the terminology that we might as adults, but you had the lived moment of kind of this feeling and otherness that you talk about throughout the book. And so you have both this, this beautiful guiding resilience, but also this feeling of otherness that you encounter, I think, throughout the book, from that very vivid moment of the kindergarten change and the kindergarten shift all through. How do you feel now in relation to this feeling of otherness if it's okay to ask?

Precious Brady-Davis:

Please, please. In the in that moment, and that, and that story, in general, it is my first feeling otherness, of standing with my biracial grandparents, you know, and telling my kindergarten teacher that I had been adopted, that I felt very vulnerable, knowing, you know, that, that these weren't my birth parents, like, I knew that, and I was in front of like, a room of brown faces. And it was very different from the morning class, which was white kids, you know, and I grew up, you know, and I talk about throughout the book, you know, that my grandmother was, you know, a very strong, you know, religious woman, and a lot of her whiteness, you know, I could see how her whiteness, even though, you know, her children, her grandchildren, as well as her as her husband was a man of color, that it showed the ways that it shaped my relationship, to race, you know, in the world. And looking back at that scene, I really see as a kid, of how it shaped my perception of how other kids would like view me through my entire life. And I thought, with accepting my blackness, as a child, you know, because I wanted to, I didn't want to be other. And I felt like I had already was, I had already, you know, was being, you know, pushed out there and already stuck up because I was adopted. And because I had changed my name, you know, normal kindergarteners don't go through full name changes. And so I had to tell my teacher, and that's a big thing. You know, in kindergarten, your name is written across your desk. So it'd be it became a thing that my name was changed and that I was adopted. And it took many years, for me to process that experience. Because I saw the faces of the young people of my peers, looking at me as I was standing and having to bring this information back to my kindergarten teacher. And that was something that traveled with me. For much of my childhood, I always knew that I was others that I was different. And people made sure to let me know of it. I talked about in the book. When I was in fourth grade, people would ask me, 'Are you gay?' I didn't even know what gay meant. I didn't. It was before I even knew what the word gay men and as I continued growing up, and I was in seventh grade, I talked about this in the book as well. People would ridicule me and people would mock me, you know, and my stomach would be in knots. So the feeling of otherness was something that traveled with me through my entire childhood through adolescence.

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely, and we should probably say for the listeners as well, that you were brought up in Nebraska, right?

Precious Brady-Davis:

Yeah

Alex Iantaffi:

So not all lot of kind of biracial gender non conforming, gender expansive kids around you, I'm assuming in all of those different contexts. So. And, you know, there's so much joy and resilience in the book. And there's also a lot of trauma. You know, there's your trauma, this also intergenerational trauma here and there, you know, like, talking about what you find out about your grandparent and your grandmother and all the different family relationships and and how was it for you to write this book, it could not have been easy. And I know you say a little bit about there were definitely moments that were painful, and the introduction of the book, but how was this process of really excavating your life, almost like an archaeology, kind of going back in history in your mind and those painful experiences?

Precious Brady-Davis:

It was, it was so hard to do. But I knew that I needed to do it, because I wanted to claim my healing. And this book wasn't about anyone else. To be honest, people can write the book, however they want, and people and people will, and I hope people enjoy it. But it is a testament of resilience. It is a testament of survival that I that I made it out of all of this trauma. You know, I talk about my brother in the book, you know, in peril that my brother has dealt with, you know, being, you know, incarcerated and all of the traumas that he has experienced. It is a miracle of resilience that I have survived all of that. I think also, as a person of color, we often are told to not talk about our pain, where we're told to, to hold these family secrets, and they stay within the house. And for me, that's like poison. You know, it's like poison within my blood, all of this trauma percolating. And for me writing this book, I felt like I was canceling a generational curse, that I said, it's time to end this curse of trauma. You all have passed down this trauma for generations, because no one wants to talk about their feelings. No one wants to talk about the truth. And so this book is about the truth. This book is my truth. It's my family's truth. And I bare my soul for my family sake to say, the curse stops now, no more secrets, we need to heal. And it's not just about everyone else's healing. It's about my healing. This book is about me being free. This book is about my mental health, you know, and, and so many people say some people, they say, you know, this is about the child and me, this is not about the child and me, this is about the woman and to me. To become the woman that I want to be, I don't want to carry around the heaviness of that trauma and pain. And for me, this is spiritual, this is what spirituality is, to me. Some people might say that going to church, you know, or going to yoga, that that is what feeds their soul. This fed my soul, to close the door, and to go inward with my story. And, and myself, you know, and there are things in the book that I don't share, that I felt were too traumatic to share. And I never want to pass on my trauma for just trauma sake, that's not what I wanted to do. Everything that I tell in the book that is traumatic, I tell because I think someone else has gone through that. And I think it's important to shed light on on issues of abuse, on issues of being a foster kid, of being adopted, of being given up because you are queer. Those are very real things and issues that color your entire life. And for me, those are things that I carried with me for many years. And so I wanted to lay them to rest and to kind of give them you know, a capstone because I feel like I have survived them. And in order to be the wife that I want to be, to be the mother that I want to be, I need to be as healed as I can be.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that andI really found that when I was reading the book, I didn't you know, there are traumatic moments, but that healing that you talk about really does come through you know, as it never feels gratuitous. It never feels... I don't know, just cathartic putting it out there for the sake of putting it out there, it feels transformative, you know. And when you were talking about breaking the curse, I was like tearing up, because you know, I was brought up in a culture, you need to leave, especially southern Italy, we say like the dirty, you wash the dirty laundry in the family. You know, of course, that in Italian, not in English, but basically the meaning is like you don't talk about things that are happening within your family outside. And that fostered so much abuse, you know, in my family growing up and intergenerationally. And, you know, being that person in the family that says no more, I'm not going to be silent, I'm not going to keep this under wraps, right. It's amazing. And I really felt that when I was reading your book, and like I said, totally different backgrounds and experiences, but I felt that kind of, I felt that resonance, you know, maybe because I was also brought up in our faith. You know, like a Christian, the Christian and I love when you talk about your experiences with church, and even your relationship with spirit comes through the book, you know, I don't know if you'd agree with that, but definitely have felt that you have a very alive relationship with spirit.

Precious Brady-Davis:

Yes, that means so much to me. That is, that's what this book is about. This book is it's making me cry, because this book is a soul journey. And I think that so many of us need to become attuned to soul. You know, there's so many things that like, weigh us down. And part of this book was about my spiritual health. And like I said, some people go to church, but for me, like, I want to speak to my soul, like, I want to tend to it and I want to make sure that it's not grieved, that it's not sick. You know, and that is a great part of what this journey is. And there were there were some times where I had to stop. When I was writing this book, I was on deadlines, I did not care. I did not, I said, 'I'm sorry, I need a break. Like I need my soul'. Like what I just like went through the beginning of the book. You know, because there are many things that I recalled, you know, growing up as a foster kid, but there were many things that I did not remember. And it occurred to me as I was writing it, I was like, I was awarded the state. All of this is on record somewhere. And lay and behold, I reached out to the state of Nebraska. And I asked them to send me the records. And they did. And that was one of the most painful things that I have ever lived in my life, to read 300 pages of case notes about things that I never would have known when I was a baby, you know, and to find out what my biological mother was going through. And I think that is the thing that I'm most grateful about this process, that I feel that we now have a relationship. I don't know where that relationship will go. But I feel it has at least made me understand why, like I was given up that she herself was dealing with a mental health issue. And I never would have known that, if I had not written this book. I just said, Oh, she just gave us up. You know, she wasn't doing her job. She just abandoned us. And it gave me a completely new understanding of her and understanding that generational trauma is so, I'm so glad that I did that. And something that I also wanted to put in the book, you know, because, you know, like you said, like, in reading the book, you see that I was deeply involved in church growing up. And I loved, I found and it wasn't necessarily the the spirit, you know, God like in the place, I found spirit in the music.

Alex Iantaffi:

Yes.

Precious Brady-Davis:

And in the fanfare, that was the way that I responded in to the piano melodies, to the hug, the connection, that human connection is what spoke to me and is what has remained, even after the oppressive factors that I dealt with. And so for me, that feels like spirituality to me, and I kept that and I really wanted that to resonate in the book because I think sometimes people think about trans folks in just a secular way that 'oh, let's not have you know, any kind of spiritual practice or relationship with with higher being'. And for me, I feel the very act of transition in itself is a spiritual act.

Alex Iantaffi:

Yes.

Precious Brady-Davis:

I don't think people see that way from the outside. But there is this relationship to self of self awareness that one must go through and travail to arrive at a point of transition. While transition is always inevitable that we're always transitioning to something. And I really wanted that to come across in the book.

Alex Iantaffi:

I really think it does, you know, you said it's a soul journey, but also feels like a spiritual quest to yourself. And to home and to family, right? There is so much about family in the book, I feel like it's such a big part of the focus, but not just kind of family of origin. But also what does family mean, you know, when you, for example, are fostered by the the youth ministers was at the lobs, for example, for a period of time. And then as you move towards creating your own family, you know, towards the end of the book, and family is such a focus. What was it? What is it what is possible? And I think it spoke to me because again, sometimes the trans folks we're seen as it's like, little individual boxes orunits and there is this yearning for connection, this yearning for love and acceptance, this yearning for really, for family, what does family mean to you now? After not only you've gone through this journey, but also the journey of writing about family so much throughout this book, if that makes sense?

Precious Brady-Davis:

Absolutely. It was so hard for me, because family to me has been such a broken place in my life. And there were so many moments where, there were some times where I would be waiting for mom to call me during the process. And that wasn't going to happen. That's never happened my entire life. You know, I yearned for parental connection, even during this process. And it became this other final moment of healing, of letting go, of also realizing people can't give you what they don't have.

Alex Iantaffi:

Yeah.

Precious Brady-Davis:

And I think that was a place that I arrived in the book as I was, as I began to excavate, and think about the ways in which people were treating me and the things that people were saying to me. They didn't have the knowledge, they didn't have the emotional capacity, the emotional depth, they didn't have their own coping mechanisms to navigate trauma. And I think it bred forgiveness in in me, and why there may be some relationships that will forever be fractured. That's fine. I'm the one who is healed. I'm healed. I can move on. And I can be a mom to my daughter, and in knowing that the cycle of trauma stops there. That I wanted to create space, to love, to love honestly, and to love wholly and unconditionally, you know, because throughout my life, I've known love with limits.

Alex Iantaffi:

Yes.

Precious Brady-Davis:

So many times, it is a love but limits like, if you do this, if you do this, you must be this or this or this or this, to receive my love. And so I unbeknownst to me, I did not plan it this way that I would become a mom while writing this book. That was not how... It just so happened. When I after we had seen I was like, Whoa, I was like this is crazy. But I was like this is the ending of the book.

Alex Iantaffi:

Talk about a soul journey.

Precious Brady-Davis:

I was like whoa, like the ending of this book. And to me becoming a mom. Like this is wild, you know it just like yeah, it shows you the soul journey that that we all have the opportunity to take when we really lean into our truth and authenticity of who we are. I've always been a mom. I've always been nurturing you know. You see it earlier from me teaching the Sunday school to working with youth that the the scent on Hostin like this is the person that I've always have been. And it just has morphed into a new entity. And I hope that that teaches people to look at their life and look at the places where we see patterns. Sometimes we don't look at the patterns in our lives, we don't stop and see the connection. And so it's certainly been a journey of healing. And I also have to say that my husband has been a great part of that, you know, his family. I married into the most beautiful black family, like as such a gift of just black professionals, unconditional love. It's polar opposite, to the way that I grew up. And I just feel so blessed and humbled. You know, there are countless foster kids who don't get that love, and who spend a lifetime trying to find that kind of acceptance. And I hope that's something that we start to examine, and try to bridge more of the divide. As you know, people read the book, I wanted to really hone a light in on that. I don't think people talk about that enough. You know, what does it mean to be given up by your birth parents? What does it mean to feel abandoned, that travels with you your entire life, to not feel wanted, that's a heavy feeling.

Alex Iantaffi:

And you have that moment repeatedly in the like, this doesn't happen to you just once you don't like it happens more than once. And yet. One thing that also shines throughout the book is that even though as you were experiencing rejection again and again, by family or other folks who said they were family and take care of you growing up, that you have this accepting loving spirit towards your peers, towards your siblings, towards your foster family. You know, trying to give your best trying to support trying to nurture, like you said, you know, you've always been this nurturing person and really comes across in the book. And I wonder what, and maybe it is just kind of who you are. What enabled you to keep giving that love and acceptance and support, even as you were experiencing it being so limited when it was towards you? If that makes sense.

Precious Brady-Davis:

Yeah, no, it does. For one. I've always had the mindset of, there's something else on the other side. This too shall pass. Like, I know that things happen for a season. I at least knew that something better could come. And that I was willing to... I was willing to persevere through through nightmares, that there would be nightmares. But I knew that on the other side that I would find joy because I always did. In every situation. There was a way for me to find community. When I was living with the loves, I found community amongst the most beautiful beatnik folk of theater people. I like found my tribe, you know, and if I wouldn't have gone to live with a loves that would not have happened. You know, when I was living with my grandfather, I learned a lot about production. He was a concert promoter. And in my life today, and I do keynote speaking, you know, and I'm a personality, and I get that from him. So I think I leaned on a lot of the good the good pieces in those situations. And I do have a strong faith. I do have a very strong belief in faith. And I would say back then it was a very centric Pentecostal faith. You know, church was very involved. I was very involved in church in my life. And I think that created a strong basis in my life of communicating with God as of leaving things at the altar. That's what it was back then I would leave things it was it was a kind of therapy. I would leave things and then I would move on to the next thing but I tell you, when I speak at colleges, the number one question that I get people say to me, why are you so optimistic? That is the number one question. And let me tell you, it's always the first question. Like after I speak. And I can't I don't have an answer. The only answer I have to that is, it is part of my nack of skills that I just, you know, live on the bright side of things. And I think also like that has been my mechanism of survival.

Alex Iantaffi:

Yeah.

Precious Brady-Davis:

Because I don't even want to think about what the outcome could have been. If I would have not had that mindset, I see where several of my siblings are, and what roads that has led them down. And I am just grateful. And I hope that encourages people, sometimes we have to sit in our situations and say, this will pass, this will pass and I will do everything within my power to make it work. And also, I think there were times where I knew that I didn't have the power. And I have always not been unashamed to to reach out and to tell the truth. And I think that's really important of saying, This isn't working. This isn't working right now. And something needs to change. And I think that that's still that has stuck with me, even till this day.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that. That is so beautiful, both kind of the. And that's not just about optimism, again, it's about connection, right? It's about that not being afraid to reach out and connect, and figure out who can give support. And who can kind of see that you're not alone in this journey. I love all of that. And speaking of which, you know, when I was when I started reading the book, I was taken right from the beginning, because you got a sentence, I think it's in your in your prologue that I loved. And you say, I offer my story of hardship and healing as a vision of the way through. There is love, whatever that means to you. On the other side, if you're willing to claim who you are, stand up for yourself and do what it takes to create it. And ah. Even now I feel like reading that sentence. I was like, that got me right at the beginning of the book. And and so who is your ideal reader? I know you wrote this book for you and for your healing and for your own kind of your own soul journey, that there is a message about that love is possible, whatever that means to us, right? And what would you ideally like your readers to get out of your book? And who are your ideal readers, so to speak, if there is an ideal reader?

Precious Brady-Davis:

Yeah, yeah. So in terms of ideal readers, something that I was thinking about when I was writing this book. One of my sisters and I are estranged Nina and I, and I write about her in the book. And I don't write about her from a place of malice. I write about her about a place of two siblings who don't understand, who don't understand each other. And so, I hope it inspires people who have differences. And we may never have a relationship in this life. And I'm okay with that, like this book has made that possible. So people who are maybe disconnected from family members, people who are struggling with faith, you know. I like I said, I struggled in that Pentecostal community for so long. And I felt that my connection to God would cease if I was a queer person. So people who are struggling with their faith, foster kids who are looking to feel love and think about what is going to happen. On the other side. That's why it was so important for me in the book to dialogue about my academic journey. My academic journey was not a perfect journey, whatsoever. I share the ups and downs of that, but being educated that was important to me, you know, and I didn't have perfect grades in high school. And so I had to go to a community college to get into a university and I want young people to be inspired by that sometimes. Is your fall down. But there is hope. On the other side, I talk about my romantic relationships in the book. Sometimes we as queer and trans folks, we think that no one is going to love us. And this book, it becomes a love story, ultimately, and talk about creating family and, and finding home. Folks who are looking for home. There are so many individuals who are looking to find home in the world, and are looking for stability. This book is about home, this book is a, it's a home for me. And when I think about the constituencies that I'm connected to. Just this week, folks who have pre ordered the book of this thing, who who has been posting, I mean, I know women who are white Republicans, to a woman in Kenya, you know, to a Jewish woman in Israel, it is just so vast that people are telling me that it's speaking to them. And so I think that you, I think you already hit the nail that this story is about human connection. And I think that there are so many themes that can resonate with folks. And like you said, the theme of family is in this book, you know, I talked about when I went to go live with the loves. I thought that they were the perfect family.

Alex Iantaffi:

Yes.

Precious Brady-Davis:

As I had grown up in this biracial family, and I said, 'oh, all I have to do is get away from this family, and life is gonna be perfect'. But then I went on the other side and saw that all families have some kind of trauma. And I didn't know that. I thought it was just our family, alone. But then I found chosen family, and the power of creating family of I curated people around me, who became family to me when I had no one else. And, yeah, I want this book to there are so many constituencies who I want to read this book, I almost asked my publisher to release this book at Christmas. Because that, that, that very traumatic story that happened to me as a child, which traveled with me for many years. And I probably think about that incident every day of my life. And it colored the ways in which I viewed holidays. I couldn't, I couldn't celebrate Christmas for years. Even as I got married, probably the first two years of our marriage, I could not have a grand Christmas. I became depressed and just very reserved, and like wanting to be alone. And with withdrew from family and like literally wanted to be just kind of sulking in the dark, and just like reliving the trauma of that incident. But now I go all out on Christmas. Like I have been able to create new traditions. And so folks who are struggling, I know lots of people deal with things around the holiday times, you know, folks who have passed away, you know, or divorces or COVID-19. Like all of these things, you know, holidays can be so hard. And so I want folks who want to heal, to read this book I want folks to be and this is a conversation. You know, this doesn't. This just isn't about my journey. I hope folks look at their lives and see places in which they need to heal and say things that need to be spoken aloud.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that. I love the said this book is a love story because I think it is but it's not just a love story because of where it ends. But it's a love story throughout of how you keep coming back to you and loving yourself and loving those around you. Even though they're so imperfect and gathering your family of choice, right? It's this much larger love that is not just about romantic level though. I'm so glad that you found this beautiful romantic love. But it's so much more than about romantic love. I think the love that you speak out in the book and so I'm so grateful for that.

Precious Brady-Davis:

Thank you. Yeah, it's a love of self. It was a self journey. There were times in this book that I was not loving myself. But I came to a place where I could, if I didn't go through those experiences, I don't think that I would be who I am. Today, I'm so glad that that I did. You know, I write about working in the Chicago nightclubs, that that nearly took me out. You know, because I was, living in this big city where I was a little girl who came from Omaha, Nebraska, but a little Nebraska mentality. And the Chicago girls are like, we will spit you up and eat you out. And so yeah, this book is, it's a love story of, self. And, yeah, I'm so glad that I wrote it.

Alex Iantaffi:

I'm so glad you wrote it too, because I think that even though you, talk to your experiences, which is uniquely your own, and yet it feels so universal. I am not surprised that people from across the globe are resonating with it, because it truly has some messaging that feels so core to humans around love and belonging and family. I could keep talking about this. And we haven't even touched on so many other aspects of your life that we could be talking about. But I want to be respectful of your time for today. And, and I wonder if there is anything that we haven't talked about that you would really like to share with the gender stories, listeners? Any messages or call to action, or anything that you were hoping we would talk about that we didn't get to?

Precious Brady-Davis:

I think we covered a lot. I think we made great ground. But I just want to reiterate that we are all in transition. And no one person has arrived, that we are always learning and we should, we should always be learning about ourselves so that we can reach higher states of consciousness, higher states of healing, so that we can show up more authentically in the world. And lastly, I just want to say, don't let others prescribe to you who you are. Because for so many years, I let other people tell me what I was. And the moment I decided to step out, close the door and say this is who I am. You know, there's a moment in the book, you know, when I have my the start of my drag career. And I have the opportunity to rename myself claiming space names speak to identity names speak to origin, of literally rewriting my own origin story in this moment and saying, Precious is my name. And when you look at the meaning of my dead name, it means gift from God. And so rewriting the narrative of, I am something of rare value. I am exquisite. And people need to know that they are exquisite. They are precious. There are so many people who have been cast aside because they are other because they are different, because they are not heterosexual cisgender because of patriarchy in the world. And I'm here to tell people that they belong and that they matter.

Alex Iantaffi:

Thank you. What a beautiful beautiful message to leave our listeners with and gear gender stories, listeners. You can pre order Precious Davis, 'I Have Always Been Me' a memoir is being published by, I think it's topple press right your publisher?

Precious Brady-Davis:

Amazon publishing.

Alex Iantaffi:

Excellent. And you can preorder it already and then it will be in your hands by July 1, and it's absolutely worth it. Whatever your gender identity or experiences are. I think you'll find something in this book that's for you. And thank you so much. Precious has been so wonderful to spend this time with you. I have so much gratitude for every word that you've put down in this book and they you've spoken with me today. So thank you for your time.

Precious Brady-Davis:

Thank you so much. I greatly appreciate you having me.