I am Nicole Modjeski and I’m from Jackson, Mississippi. My mother was a single parent mom and we lived in the Spring Ridge Road Mobile Estates which is basically a trailer park. My mother had her own room and I and my brother, who was my twin brother, had a room together and we shared it. Much earlier I know I had feminine feelings but I could never truly explore them because I shared the room with my brother. I knew this one kid named Tim and he lived almost on the opposite side of the circle. One day, my mother was at work and it was my brother and I and Tim came over. He said, “Well I dare you to go in your mother’s room and put on some of your mother’s clothing.” My brother said, “No.” He would not do that, he would not even take the chance. Me? I said, “Sure why not?” My mother comes home early from work and she sees me in a dress and she is horrified. She told me, “Go and take off your clothes and don’t do that!” By the time my brother and I graduated, he was always home all the time. He didn’t go off to college so I could not the by myself. I did not have the privacy to try on the clothing that my mother had in her room because I was always deathly afraid my brother would find out and tattle or tell my mother and she would get angry. Ever since the Atari 2600, my brother and I would buy video games and we bought the Nintendo and that was the next step almost in a virtual outlet of me becoming myself because I could be these small little pixelated female characters, and I could dress and be myself even if I could not be myself in the real world for a short time. I could be my real self with these games. And I remember all the little moments of joy like when I dressed up when I was 15 or 16 when I had the avatars from the video games, and when I could be the woman that I am. I said “I can not pretend any longer.” Soon after I decided to transition, the clinic called the Open Arms Clinic that provided LGBT care in Jackson, Mississippi, came along, opened its doors and offered hormones for people that wanted to transition. It was just like God provided all these bits and pieces to fall into place and I was so happy. It was now real life for me stepping outside of my house and me being Nicole, who I always was. I wasn’t just Nicole Shepherd from Mass Effect, I was Nicole Modjeski in Jackson, Mississippi. Big cities like New York, Los Angeles may have opportunities. Places like Mississippi are just as important and those opportunities to be who we are, and understanding will grow over time.