Dee Westenhauser (DW) and Martha Gonzalez (MG)
DW: If you were to see Aunt Yaya back in the day the way I saw her, she was tall. She had a beautiful angular face with high cheekbones, and she had brown eyes. They almost looked like owl eyes, scanning everything.
One weekend, my mom and my dad, they decided that I was going to go to Aunt Yaya’s house. I was nine years old. And once the door closed, she says, ’How would you like to change into something that’s really comfortable for you?’ And what was there were a blouse and a wig. I knew I was a girl. And so that weekend, I got to be me. We went shopping in my outfits. Everyone in the neighborhood knew Yaya. And she would introduce me as her niece.
MG: Would you go home and mention anything like that?
DW: No. She said, ’When you go home, you have to be what they want.’ Because if you don’t and they find you out, you will be hurt. She was the one who taught me early on that I have to play the game.
Yaya, she had a lifelong friend. And it wasn’t until years later that I finally figured out that her friend was her lover and her partner. And you never spoke of that back in the day.
Yaya never got the love she was supposed to from the rest of the family. And Yaya wanted me to be everything that she wanted to be if she could live her life over again.
I loved her, she loved me back, and behind that white door became my place to be the little girl that I needed to be.