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born February 17, 1951

Tyra is like a auntie to me. She has many old school ways. She always gone tell you how it is. And never not gone bite her tongue. Sister is very straightforward and far from being shy. Most don’t know Tyra was the first trans person in the state of Wisconsin to get her name legally changed. She was just a teenager when she did it.

I’ve been knowing Tyra since the beginning of my transition. When I needed an outlet, she let me come and stay at her house to vent and just talk. I even stayed with her for about a week when I first came out because I really didn't know how to prioritize my life as a trans woman. Tyra was there for me. She was always somebody I could look up to and model my life after. Someone who lived in her truth.   

Tyra’s very religious. We even went to church functions together. One of her favorite sayings when she greets you is “God bless you, baby,” and you can always look forward to some type of hug or a kiss on the hand. Tyra inspired lots of us in the old days: me, Dynasty Scott, Ronnie Grace, lots of others over the years. And she hopes her life and story can help kids today.

Tyra Neal

Illustration by Intan Zulkifli

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