Ms. Chanel International was born and raised in Spanish Harlem, where she lived with her grandparents until the age of 22, when she moved to the Bronx. Her life was not the easiest, hanging out with the wrong crowd, turning to drugs, believing that being a trans female meant having to make unwanted and unhappy choices. She faced many challenges in her life as a transgender woman of color with limited access to the resources or support needed to make a successful, healthy and safe transition. One night, out clubbing with
friends, she saw Jessica Foxx performing. She remembers looking up to the stage, saying, “I want to be up there some day.” That night she changed her life. Ms. Foxx took Chanel under her wing, serving as a mother figure and role model, providing Chanel with a whole new outlook on the trans-life. Chanel is a well-known figure in the LGBTQ community as an activist, advocate and renowned performer, performing since 1997 at bars and clubs around New York, Miami and Pennsylvania. She was “Miss Gay Long Island 2010” and has won numerous awards, including the Miss Trans- Empowerment Award, the Beyond the Street Award, the Marsha P. Johnson Award and a Certificate of Merit and Certificate of Proclamation by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. She has been the community-based counselor advocate at the New York City Anti-Violence Project since 2010, where she launched the Bronxbased programming to support the needs of TGNC community members in the Bronx. She works with survivors who experience some of the most devastating and lifethreatening hate violence.