Transgender Activist Discusses Current State of Impact on LGBT Community in SC

Dayna Smith grew up wanting nothing more but a simple life where she could be herself. What it led to was something more than she could even imagine.

Wearing a purple dress and busy on her laptop inside a busy library as the team of The MediaSen Group walked through the doors of the Richland County Public Library, a woman sits waiting to speak to The MediaSen Group shortly after the Stop the Violence Rally at the State House earlier that day. She looks to be just like any woman in a crowd of people…until she tells her courageous story.

Smith is a local poet and activist in South Carolina. She is also transgender, but she is a beacon of light to so many going through similar situations that she endured throughout her life and career, making her the voice of the voiceless of the transgender community.

A native from Brevard, North Carolina and graduate of Appalachian State University, Smith began her pursuits to be a high school drama teacher until she began to realize that she was transgender near her sophomore year of college.  Once she began to transition, immediately she felt the discrimination and change in persona from the public. It led to her moving to Columbia, where she found her niche in counseling others through her works of poetry and speaking to various trans support groups across the state.

“I just wanted to be me and I feel that there are so many out there that walk the same path as I,” she stated in an interview in June.

At the time of the interview, the Pulse shooting in Orlando continued to bring impact upon the LGBT communities all over the nation. The tragedy greatly impacted groups in South Carolina, including herself, as the state approached the one year anniversary of the shootings in Charleston where Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people in a church, including a long time respected politician.

“It just took me a moment to realize that, it could have been me,” she stated.

Smith is working hard with politicians to bring advocacy and awareness to others within the communities in South Carolina to help prevent acts of discrimination and violence like Charleston and Orlando from occurring again in the future.

“When is enough truly enough? This isn’t what people within the trans community are saying, but everyone,” Smith stated. “Everyone wants to know how much bloodshed are we going to witness for change to actually occur. It’s up to the politicians to make that change happen.”

Smith is a member of Trans United in South Carolina as well as the Harriet Hancock Center. She often speaks throughout the state of the issues that are going on within the transgender community and ways on bringing everyone together.

“Eventually, the world will be better for everyone, but it’s going to take a lot of work for us to get there.”

Check out the full interview here on The MediaSen Group.

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