By Xavia Simmons
Isis King, the first transsexual model to compete on “America’s Next Top Model,” spoke at Suffolk County Community College to share her story on February 7.
The Shea Theatre on the Ammerman Campus was packed at 12:00 in the afternoon, 30 minutes before King would be speaking to the college. Outside of the theatre, there were college students signing in to get extra credit from their teachers for coming to the lecture. Being very excited, Tayla Smith, a liberal arts major, said, “She’s inspiring women and people in the LGBTQ community to be themselves. That’s why I came here to see her speak and also for extra credit in my communications class.”
Soon after outside the theatre, there were about 40 students. Once welcomed into the theater and seated, the number of students grew to about 130 with a couple of teachers there as well.
Before King finally came out to speak, the President of SCCC, Dr. Shaun L. McKay, stated, “The content of her lecture here today is multifaceted. She’ll discuss her experiences as a transgender individual, overcoming abusive relationships and bullying. She’ll also discuss how she overcame her obstacles and will discuss her motivation.”
King stepped out, shook hands with an administrator, and sat down on stage in-front of a mic. She started off by telling the audience to snap instead of clap for amusement and enjoyment. “You guys need to loosen up. Everyone seems a little too stiff, so let’s snap instead of clap,” she stated, while doing the Harlem shake, sitting down and laughing. The audience, laughing, too, agreed to snap.
She went on to discuss her childhood and how she announced her sexuality to her family and friends. The last year of high school, she came out to her single mother who had already suspected her son of being gay. With her mother not accepting her at the time, she won a full scholarship to University of the Arts in Philadelphia for fashion design and illustration. She got out of her hometown in Maryland as soon as possible and hopped on the next flight to Philadelphia. After college and after her family started to accept her, she moved back to Maryland because she was broke. Soon after arriving back, she had a falling out with her family and moved to New York.
The next topic King discussed was her name and how many people affiliate it with the terrorist group ISIS. “Everyone, especially on social media, always calls me a terrorist for my name, not knowing the true meaning behind it,” she stated. The true meaning of her name, she explained, is Isis, the Egyptian goddess and mother of the throne. The audience, in awe, started snapping and clapping after she explained the true meaning behind it.