Mar 23, 2020
This week, I had a profound conversation with activist Ashlee Marie Preston. Ashlee is a proud black, transgender woman who is constantly advocating for LGBTQ+ youth and those who are struggling. She is now 8 years sober, and has the humility and kindness to share her story of recovery from childhood abuse, meth, prostitution and homelessness with us. Ashlee is now the messenger she has been waiting for her entire life, and I believe she is a messenger for all of us too. Ashlee grew up unsure of her gender identity in the conservative state of Kentucky. She shares her harrowing story of sexual abuse, being institutionalized as a child, and how her drug addiction began. She moved to California at 19, and found herself struggling to fit in. She was fired from her retail job for being trans and became homeless, without a shelter that would accept her and her trans identity.
On the streets, Ashlee resorted to sex work as a means of survival. She turned to substances to numb out and survive. It was finally Ashlee’s understanding of her relationship with God/universe, that brought her to the breaking point. She began recovery, and found her voice in activism through working with nonprofit organizations, and seeing how poorly people like her were being treated.
Everything that Ashlee thought made her broken and unworthy are now symbols of strength and beauty in her life. Without the work she’s done (in spirituality, sobriety, and service), she would not be helping people like she is today.
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