Ts Madison

TV personality, social media icon, and actress Ts Madison declares that being unapologetically Black is the most empowering thing about her.

“I’m Black like that… I know that I’m Black, because even in my Blackness and being a part of the LGBTQIA community… I face racism, inequality, and I’ve missed opportunities because I’m Black,” said Madison.

Madison says even when she does interviews, it is from a place of Blackness first, then as a trans woman.

When asked her thoughts on why some Black entertainers shy away from interviews with the Black media, she says she believes they are suffering from a type of Black hurt, a pain she says she also once felt.

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“I, too, almost fell victim because I suffered from a lot of Black hurt,” she said.

Madison explains that the Black community reacted very unfavorably to a comedic bit early in her mainstream career in which she would run around naked promoting a new weave.

“My first set of real bookings that launched me into the mainstream were opportunities provided by White people,” said Madison.  “And so, for a while, I was disappointed with my Black people because they were acting as if they were too prestigious to acknowledge me.”

She says once she became accepted by white audiences, she was accused of being a sell-out by some Black observers.

Madison says she often pushed back against those false statements with, “Sweetie, when I was starting out none of you gave me any opportunities, because you didn’t see it for me.”

She says that the failure of the Black community to sometimes accept difference is an “ugly truth” that must be spoken before the community can heal from such prejudices.  She maintains that opportunities within the Black community only began to emerge once she first found acceptance among white audiences.

Madison began her professional career as the host and producer of her self-titled social media show, “The Ts Madison Show.” Since then, she has been a regular judge on “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” and her own “Bring Back My Girls.”

She is also a guest host on the Fox Soul entertainment gossip show “TEA-G-I-F.” In recent years, Madison has found some success in film and television as an actress in the motion picture “Bros” and the AllBlk suspense thriller series “Hush.”

Growing up in Miami, Fl., Madison says she faced similar prejudices in her personal life. She remembers the conflict she felt growing up in church and trying to balance her faith with her own internal struggles.

“Coming into knowing the Lord, then becoming a teenager, and then coming into knowing myself while trying to know the Lord, knowing that you’re different and hearing that because you’re different, your soul is bound to Hell,” Madison reflected.  “So, escape for me was imagining getting away from all of it [religion].”

Madison says concealing her transition from her family was very difficult in those early years, at least from her mother and aunt, because her cousins and brothers had already figured it out.

“We all lived in a house together after Hurricane Andrew, so they knew, they were privy to see it,” said Madison. “It was so difficult to get the parents to understand when the kids knew. They would say, ‘Hell, that’s my sister,’ my mom and my aunt were late to the party.”

She continued, “How do you suppress who you are to appease people who you love? Being free is difficult sometimes, especially when you’re in a place where you’re required to hide.”

Madison says even outside of family, growing up in Florida surrounded by so many conservative cultures coming in from the islands made the challenges she faced as a trans woman even more difficult.

She recalls even fearing for her life because their religious beliefs called for the death of gay and trans people.

“Being called a f-g or a p–k or whatever derogatory slur you can come up with on a gay person was normal just like breathing air,” said Madison. “Being attacked, and no one caring about you being attacked, because of you just existing. The police didn’t care about it because ‘you shouldn’t have on a dress anyway.’”

Because of these prejudices towards gay and trans people, Madison says that it was difficult finding gainful employment, so she began doing adult entertainment to survive.  She says she was later able to create a social media platform to escape from that industry.

Madison says her social media platform provided a means for her to gain respect and the understanding of others that she was more than just a naked body.

“People needed to understand… I was more than just a person involved in sex work. People needed to know the voice behind that… The only reason I was in sex work was because of society… I had to survive, I had to eat, I had to provide for myself,” said Madison.

Madison says she was often told by others to find a regular job. “I would have loved that, or I would have loved to have peace at work,” said Madison. “A lot of people speak from a place of no experience. It was either that [sex work] or get in a suit.”

She says she prayed to God and asked for an opportunity to do something else with her life.

“Use me and use my story to help… make change happen.  I want to help make change happen, so that no one else has to endure the things like this, so the girls don’t have to do things like this anymore,” prayed Madison.

Today, Madison says her work as a judge on “Ru Paul’s Drag Race” and her own series, “Bring Back My Girls,” give her a direct pipeline to help other trans women. She says she believes change happens with community and bonding together.

“I get the opportunity to launch queens out into the world to become superstars, to become financially stable, to become independent, and not have to worry about society throwing them out because they don’t have any money to survive,” said Madison.

She concluded, “I give them the opportunity to go out into the world and not be sex workers, and not be dependent on their bodies to make money… [they] can be dependent on their talent, and their personality to make it in life.”