Born in Colima, Mexico, Dayamis came to the United States at the age of three with her single mother, who was driven by a hunger for better opportunities. Although Dayamis doesn't remember her early days in the US, she remembers seeing her mother struggle while living in Los Angeles, CA. Dayamis would cry to her mother when seeing her work long hours in order to support their family. In response, Dayamis’ mother would say, "don't cry because you can't show your weakness."
This was difficult for Dayamis to understand at the time, but years later Dayamis reflected on these words and came to understand, this was her mother's way of teaching her how to best deal with the hardships she would endure as an immigrant worker.
Dayamis now reflects on why her mother would say that. Many immigrants in the US are taken advantage of and are stripped of basic rights in their workplace. This was Dayamis’ mother’s way of teaching her about the hardships that she would face as an undocumented immigrant worker.
“In the early nineties, LA was a very hard place to live. My little sister's dad was a drug addict. He used to beat us one at a time while my mother was at work. One time I was playing with the
Growing up has been very difficult for Dayamis after her mother sent her back to Mexico. Dayamis stayed with her grandmother and her sisters in her birth town, Colima, Mexico, where she had to adjust to a new culture once again.
“I remember being in kindergarten when I went back to Mexico and asking my teachers why are there 2 extra letters in the alphabet. I don’t know those. (My mother) sent me back when I was 5, and I was brought back (to the US) when I was 7. I had the toughest time trying to roll my R’s.”
After a few years, Dayamis’ mother settled down and decided to bring her kids back to the states one at a time. Dayamis left Colima, Mexico around the age of 7.
“I remember the first day I was back. (My mother) brought me to her house and she had carpet, 'I was like who has carpet, are we in a different planet?' That is what made me realize I was not in Mexico. It was the next day when I decided it was a good idea to cross the street because you can do that in Mexico. I almost got hit. I remember her telling me, ‘this is not like Grandma's, you can't do that here.’ First, I was confused, growing up it made sense. I'm from a small town in Colima, Mexico. I don't really know where it's located now but I do know all the 50 states.”
Dayamis has experienced significant trauma throughout her life. She was sexually abused for years by a close relative, causing her to turn to substances for mental relief in her young adult years.
“For me, the story of my upbringing is something I think needs to be out there because it can help other people who might be going through the same thing to feel they are not alone.”
Dayamis used to rebel and lash out toward her family due to her past experiences.
“I would tell my mom, ‘I am not your son and you are not my mother.’ Because I feel she was working too much and she was not there for me when I needed her, but in reality, she was working hard for me and my family. I just felt angry. I remember seeing her crying, wiping her tears. During that time, I didn't really care. I would say, ‘you're crying for five years and I've been crying all my life.’”
Dayamis ran away to San Francisco, CA after graduating high school, in hopes of finding a different environment. When she got to San Francisco, Dayamis didn’t know anyone. She was homeless for about 6 months until she met a kind, gay couple who offered her a job cleaning their home. She began cleaning houses for income, getting good clientele and a steady income. Dayamis still had to deal with her traumas, which created some bad paths for her. Partying and drugs came into her life.
“I got to a point where I got addicted just to take the pain away. That's when I hit rock bottom. It was the scariest thing ever. One time I was with a guy, he was just trying to shut me up at one point because I was screaming in the shower and he didn’t know why I was screaming. I was feeling like I had blisters but there's really nothing there. After going through that, I had to go back home to my mother. I remember she was crying when she picked me up at the airport. It made me feel that my mom was there for me and that I am loved here.”
Dayamis became drug-free when she moved back to San Diego from the bay area at age of 19. She then met her now husband, Marcos G., in 2009 at the age of 21 during the early stages of her transition. Transitioning is a very expensive process, surgeries range from $25,000 - $60,000. At the start of her transition, Dayamis received help from a local trans activist who guided her to services that can help those who are undocumented. She was provided support to start her hormone therapy at the age of 21.
“My husband was the first person to help with my first dose of hormones.”
Dayamis and her husband met in the nightlife scene in the early 2000’s and the rest is history. They both live in an apartment near Hillcrest, San Diego with their two dogs, Missy and Raja. It’s convenient for her to live close to her community since she is considered a rising star in the nightlife scene. Dayamis recently competed in Miss Gay USA in Houston, Texas, a prestigious gay beauty pageant. Marcos has been a great support for Dayamis in her drag performances. He supports her in every aspect and it shows how caring and loving he is by attending all of her drag shows.
Dayamis has been a DACA recipient since 2013, a year after President Barack Obama introduced deferred action for childhood arrival (DACA) to the United States. DACA is an executive order that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children to have protection from deportation and to qualify for work permits. Since 2013, Dayamis has been able to find steady and reliable work. For many DACA recipients, the first time stepping into a government facility can be a difficult and triggering experience. Having to always avoid contact with police and immigration creates trauma. DACA allows undocumented people to face and shed some of those fears.
“It was kind of scary, you have to start from the beginning, you know, fingerprints, SSN office. But what I love is that when you're at the doctors and they ask you for your social security you are like, ‘yes I got that!’ You can put it in the system Margarett!’”
Dayamis became attracted to performing when she was part of a color guard team in her high school. She then joined hip hop class and step team, where her love for performing continued to develop. Dayamis started dressing in drag in 2008 when she was in her early 20’s
“Doing drag is like doing all my hobbies but you take it to a different level.”
Dayamis shares she remembers when she first started dressing up in drag, “it makes me feel like burning all the pictures from when I started, but I know they're all over the internet no matter what you do. After years of practice and investing in the drag world you get to better at it. You get to a point where you love your drag and when you're out of drag you don't love yourself. I just feel like the more you do it the more love you have toward your drag and you just want to be in drag all the time but once everything comes off it's like, back to reality. Drag is like an armor for me. My persona, when I'm in face, she's very strong, she's a social butterfly. When I'm out of drag, I'm like, ‘I don't want to talk to anybody.’ Personally, when I do drag I have this huge strength and when I am not a drag I don't feel that way anymore. It plays with your mind a little bit. It's hard feeling this way sometimes especially being trans.”
Dayamis found a second family through her drag community. She feels that through drag she has a sense of being understood through her transition process.
”When you try to have friends as a trans woman, you don't really have a lot of friends because most people don't understand. With my drag sisters, the bond is greater because they understand that drag is a shield and a confidence booster. So you can't mess with a drag queen because you're messing with the whole community.”
Dayamis involvement with the San Diego LGBTQ community dates back to the early 2000’s. The Hillcrest native has been part a variety of charity events, local LGBTQ radio shows and performs in drag throughout San Diego nightclubs. The community recognizes Dayamis for her outstanding performances and gentle and kind personality. She is currently performing at Lips San Diego, a very well recognized drag restaurant in the LGBTQ community statewide.