When she was eight years old, Lola “Lil” Brown was in a special care unit at the University of Chicago Medical Center for her acute liver failure.
The illness caused her to be confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk or speak.
“When I first came out, I was so upset that I could not talk,” Brown recalls.
“I cried a lot, and I cried a whole lot for weeks after.”
In her senior year of high school, she was the first transgender student in her high school class to attend prom, which she was not allowed to do because of her gender identity.
Lola’s mother, Barbara, was furious when she discovered her daughter had transitioned.
“You’re not just a girl anymore,” Barbara Brown recalls her daughter telling her.
“It’s not like you’re a girl, it’s like you don’t exist anymore.
You don’t feel like you belong anywhere.”
Lola spent most of her senior prom day at the hospital, waiting in a wheelchair and having to pass out before entering the dance hall.
“She had been crying and just going through a lot of things that she never thought would happen,” Brown says.
“All she could talk about was how hard it was, how she was scared, and she was a little bit anxious.
I think she was really confused.”
Brown says she eventually had enough of Lola and started talking to her in private, which led to a “transition” therapy session that included sex reassignment surgery.
Lila and Lola attended that first transition session with Brown’s mother.
Brown says that, by the end of the month, Lila had changed her mind about wanting to transition.
She now felt comfortable in her own skin and wanted to make a statement.
“What she did for me and for Lola was the most incredible thing,” Brown said.
At age 12, Brown transitioned to female, but that didn’t last long. “
Lola decided to make her own transition to the male-to-female transition.
At age 12, Brown transitioned to female, but that didn’t last long.
“So she waited a little longer than 15 years, and then I said, you know what? “
One day she was going, ‘I want to go into a girl’s room,’ and I was like, ‘You have to wait until your 15th birthday,'” Brown recalls of Lava’s reaction.
“So she waited a little longer than 15 years, and then I said, you know what?
We’re going to do it, and we’re going do it.
And she said, OK, I’ll do it.”
Brown is now Lava, a successful entrepreneur and a mom to three boys ages 5, 11 and 13.
“There is a part of me that still has that little bit of fear of the unknown,” Brown explains.
“That fear of what people might say.
But I’m really happy that Lola is doing so well and is making the most of that time in her life.”
Brown has also been involved in an initiative to provide health care to transgender people in the Dallas area.
“In Dallas, there is a huge gap in healthcare,” Brown explained.
“They have no transgender-specific health care providers and there is no transgender medical professionals.
It’s just a huge problem.”
Lava is now working with the Dallas Transgender Health Care Association (DTCHA) to expand the group’s service to transgender patients in the region.
“We’ve seen a lot in our two years with the DTCHA, and it’s been an incredible experience,” Brown told me.
“The biggest thing that has been really awesome is that we have had so many people come out and say, ‘Hey, I’m trans.
“If anyone needs a little extra help, or just wants to connect, we have lots of resources for that.””
If anyone needs a little extra help, or just wants to connect, we have lots of resources for that.”