This individual has been on my radar for a number of years. I admire her for your selfless acts, her strength and her humble concern for others as well as her constant activism throughout the state of Florida (and the nation).
Name: Aryah Lester
City: Miami, FL
Aryah Lester, speaker/author/educator, is a transwoman of color from New York that has been a Miami-Dade resident since 2005. Ms. Lester is the current Chair for the State of Florida Health Department’s Transgender Work Group, and Chair-Elect of the Miami-Dade HIV/AIDS Partnership, as well as board member of Unity Coalition, and co-director of Trans*Action Florida. She also sits as a member on the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) Transgender Networking Group. Aryah Lester founded the organization Trans-Miami, as well as continued the network of her National Alliance of Transgender Advocates and Leaders (NATAL). Ms. Lester currently assists the Switchboard of Miami as a nationally certified crisis hotline counselor, and speaks nationally towards transgender equality.
“I am passionate about issues that have personally affected me, which in turn affects my community, especially transgender women of color. Activism, advocacy, and education are focuses which excite my inner self.
When asked if you were a superhero what would your superpower be, Aryah responded “I believe I would have ‘psionic’/psychic superpowers; I work in a lot of counseling and have developed (over the years) the ability of empathy and traversing a person’s inner self.
It would follow a fine line of being like Professor X (who avoids direct mental manipulation mostly), and Emma Frost (’cause she’s a beauty)! ” Aryah’s main goal would be to advance equality in the background of nations and leaders internationally.
What was your most significant achievement in 2014 / life?
Sharing an office with the incredible organization Unity Coalition, at their Brickell offices, and offering a monthly support group to transgender citizens of South Florida.
What if anything do you hope to contribute to Miami?
I wish to contribute a historic turn towards seeing gender nonconforming people achieving access to a better quality of life, especially in a mostly conservative state.