A trans woman who spent her formative teen years in a Florida county is the face of a new campaign from a nationwide company honoring the LGBTQ community.
Miliana S. is one of the featured artists in a new ad from Pantene as part of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles promoting members of the LGBTQ community to be able to travel home as their true selves during the holidays. During the ad, the New York City native talks about the decade in the early 2000s she lived in Polk County.
“As a child, I never saw people like me and I didn’t think they would accept me as a woman,” she told NBC affiliate WFLA-TV. “I think if a trans person can make it in Polk County, they can make it anywhere.”
Now calling California home, Miliana describes being suicidal and running away from home during the time she was transitioning.
“I have been called the n-word, the f-word, I have been called everything in the book. I have had my life threatened,” she said before describing herself as someone who used her hardships to create the first Gay Straight Alliance at her Florida college and now works as a health care professional.
“I can tell my story to others and let them know, you may be suicidal, you may be struggling, hold tight, it’s going to get better,” she said.
The company donated $100,000 to Family Equality, a group that advances legal and lived equality in the LGBTQ community – while agencies such as GLADD say that nearly 45 percent of the LGBTQ community say they don’t feel comfortable going home as their true selves during the holidays.