Iamfaith refers to different periods in their life as forms of enlightenment. She views each phase as another step on her journey, and opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of herself.
One of those forms of enlightenment came in 2015, and it’s set the course for the rest of his life. Six years ago, Iamfaith decided to undergo his transgender experience. It wasn’t a decision he made lightly: they always had an effeminate personality, even as they were trying out for the high school basketball and baseball teams. As a member of the Navy, Iamfaith would wear hyper-feminine clothing, and spray on perfume whenever she was away from the USS Cleveland.
After much deliberation, he thought transitioning was the best way to satisfy his feelings, but was less sure about how to present herself to the world. That’s when “Faith Kills” was born.
“I wanted my drag name to be something I can live off of, and be an embodiment of who I am,” they said. “The reason behind ‘faith kills,’ is that when you have faith, it kills any negative connotation, and you can live your best life.”
During this period, Iamfaith came to two conclusions: faith is all-powerful, and her mission in life is to help the transgender and non-binary communities. Today, they identify as a non-binary human, and run a housing and support services program for BIPOC LGBTQ-identifying people.
Naturally, it is called Helping F.A.I.T.H.
“‘Iamfaith’ is very non-binary, because there is no gender specific to it,” they said. “Faith is a spiritual being; faith is the embodiment of everything: I am faith, you are faith. I am something to believe in, and you are something to believe in. A lot of the narratives that have been set forth, we have the power to change them.”
The story begins in Texas, where Iamfaith lived with her father. He tried out for various teams in an effort to bond with his dad, who wanted his son to be an athlete. Their baseball career didn’t last very long, but he did find his way onto the high school basketball team, though he didn’t play all that much.
Her favorite sport was track and field. The feeling of running away felt familiar.
“I enjoyed that, because metaphorically, I felt like I was always running from something,” they said. “It gave me some sense of purpose.”
Despite his attempts, Iamfaith never bonded with his dad over sports. After graduating high school, he moved to California to live with his mother, from whom he was previously estranged.
That’s where she met a naval recruiter. Iamfaith knew she wanted to help people, and her dad also always wanted her to join the military. But he didn’t want to get deployed to Afghanistan, where we were about four years into our now-20-year war. So he trained to become a medical lab technician, because the process took one year. It was a shrewd delay tactic.
Eventually, Iamfaith settled on being a hospital corpsman. They spent the next several years stationed in San Diego, which has the largest concentration of military personnel in California.
But life didn’t get easier from there. After leaving the Navy, Iamfaith went through a period of homelessness, and battled substance abuse. Living through her trans experience showed her the inhumane obstacles facing transgender humans.
So he started helping out, first with purchasing supplies, and then by transporting transgender and LGBTQ people to hospitals and medical appointments. But Iamfaith still felt like they could do more.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, he came up with Helping F.A.I.T.H.
“We have the power to deny any narratives that anybody may try to put upon us, and that’s where I’m at today,” they said. “In the midst of a pandemic, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for my community, especially the trans community, because I wasn’t using my platform to the best of my ability.”
Iamfaith comes armed with an unshakable spirit — and formidable Instagram following. The former propels her to keep going, while the latter allows her to host fundraisers to support transgender and non-binary humans.
Right now, Helping F.A.I.T.H. is trying to purchase its first property: a 13-bed, 9-bath that can be transformed into a safe haven for trans youth experiencing homelessness. The house has been in escrow for more than 70 days. Iamfaith is calling on members of the LGBTQ community, especially those with great privilege, to help.
“We in the community have so much access, we we have so much money,” she said. “There’s no reason why we can’t build everything.”
While some of us head off to experience decadent Independence Day celebrations in Provincetown or Fire Island, other members of our community struggle to receive basic medical services, or find a safe place to sleep at night. In a 2017 survey of 27,000 transgender people across the U.S., 30 percent of respondents said they experienced homelessness at one point in their lives.
Iamfaith thinks that’s shameful.
“Some people within the community feel like they don’t believe in other humans in the community,” she said. “There are people in our community who don’t believe in trans people. That’s our reality. The fire is being started from inside of the house, because we have humans like that who are amongst us: devils in sheep’s clothing. It’s so unfortunate.”
But Iamfaith doesn’t dwell on the negative. Fortunately, there are plenty of people willing to help.
“We have plenty of humans who are like me, who are like ya’ll, and believe in this vision that want to see change,” he said.
And most importantly, we all have faith. It makes anything possible.
“We have so much power,” Iamfaith said. “Life is limitless, and I learned that I am a limitless human, and so are all of us as a collective. But we can’t achieve anything without believing.”