Tavoy Malcolm, 29, is having a tough time.
And not just over gender identity.
Born in Montego Bay, St. James Parish, Jamaica, and assigned at birth the gender of male, Tavoy grew up wanting to be a woman.
“From as far as I can remember, I was always attracted to men. I always knew my gender mentally, but physically I was in the wrong body,” Tavoy said.
Tavoy came to the USA to escape the prejudice she felt in Jamaica and to pursue the American dream of financial success.
“There were more opportunities and acceptance for transgender people in the United States,” Tavoy said. “Jamaica is not safe to make a choice like this one. I constantly had to live in fear and was constantly discriminated against. The thing is it wasn’t just by strangers alone but family also,” she said. “My mom passed away before I started my transformation, but my dad didn’t really understand it and it made him very distant for a while.”
In the US, Tavoy found a partner, Lorindo Powell, who also uses the name “Mr. Johnson,” and together they started a business helping the elderly collect sweepstakes winnings.
For years, the two operated their business which consisted primarily of informing senior citizens that they won a sweepstakes prize and helping seniors try to collect the prize money after first getting the seniors to pay the required taxes and other fees necessary to collect the windfalls.
The business paid well, it seems, at least for Tavoy and her Mr. Johnson.
It afforded Tavoy, who likes to be called “Tiana,” with money to get hormone therapy starting in 2015, and, happily, in 2017, she was able to pay for a breast enhancement surgery, plumping up her breasts in what could only be called a most fulsome manner.
One of their best clients ever was a 77-year-old woman who had won millions in a sweepstakes, they told her.
The lucky woman just needed to disclose certain financial information and pay some taxes so she could get her millions in winnings.
Lorindo, using the name Mr. Johnson, and Tavoy set about helping the woman, informing her that she needed to make regular bi-weekly payments to them which in turn they would use to pay the taxes on her winnings, a requirement she needed to accomplish before she could collect her millions.
Unhappily, while making the biweekly payments on the sweepstakes taxes, the woman fell behind on her bills and defaulted on her mortgage payments on her home.
Tavoy and Lorindo offered to help, suggesting that, once she collected her millions, she could pay off the mortgage in cash.
They offered to allow the woman to make the mortgage payments directly to them and they would take care of the bank. Things went askew, however, and the bank foreclosed on the elderly woman’s home, evicted her and she had to move into a rented room.
Tavoy and Lorindo assured her she would soon see happier days and get her sweepstakes millions, but the old woman began to smell something fishy and law enforcement got involved. Unhappily for Tavoy, she happened to call just when Homeland Security agents were interviewing her and when Tavory asked the old woman to deposit her social security check right into Tavoy’s bank account, something she had done for years, the woman had witnesses from the government.
This time, following the advice of Homeland Security agents, the woman stopped paying Tavoy and Lorindo, thus ending the income stream from their most lucrative client.
Over 10 years, Tavoy and Lorindo got some $572,000 from the woman, yet somehow the woman never got her sweepstakes winnings, though Tavoy and Lorindo assured her it was just a matter of a few more tax payments before she reaped her millions.
The money Tavoy and Lorindo earned from the woman was used for an array of essential living expenses including a Mercedes Benz sedan in which Lorindo proudly tooled around town in, showing off Tavoy’s augmented breasts.
Perhaps if this elderly woman had been their only client, they would not be judged so harshly. But it turns out that other clients also did not get their sweepstakes winnings.
Their unhappy clients included a Maryland couple with dementia, a 79-year-old Brooklyn teacher, an 89-year-old Florida man, and a 91-year-old woman living in a New Jersey retirement home.
The 91-year-old unhappily died before she could collect her winnings, but, in the meantime, Tavoy and Lorindo were able to collect a handsome fee for helping her out which included $13,000 in cash withdrawn from her bank and $10,000 charged on her credit card.
It is not inexpensive to change from a plain, butt-ugly Jamaican man to a glamorous, gorgeous American female.
Wardrobe is essential. And the $10,000 charged on the 91-year-old woman’s credit card just before she died definitely did not go to waste.
On February 6, 2017, Tavoy charged $4,700 worth of shoes from Barneys using the old lady’s credit card. The purchase included a pair of $695 crocodile leather sneakers, a pair of $895 blue suede sneakers, and two pairs of $1,095 white suede Christian Louboutin sneakers.
On February 14, 2017, Tavoy was back again charging $5,155 worth of shoes from Barneys, including a $1,995 pair of Christian Louboutin loafers.
Tavoy was so excited by her success and her new footwear that she used her Instagram account to model a pair of mint green Pigalle pumps by Louboutin that were bought with the dying woman’s credit card. The old woman never lived to collect her sweepstakes winning, dying shortly after the shoe charging spree.
Their business came to an abrupt halt when Tavoy and Lorindo were arrested by agents for Homeland Security in 2017. The two were convicted and sentenced to 51 months in federal prison on charges of fraud.
Then it got worse for Tavoy.
She was still in that twilight world between male and female, at least physically, when she went into the custody of the US Attorney General and was assigned to the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, [the same place where notorious sex cult leader Keith Alan Raniere is presently housed.]
The BOP had a problem. If you inspect her from below the waist, Tavoy is still a man. But if you check her out from waist to neck, she appears to be a woman.
From her face, it is not totally clear whether Tavoy is male or female.
Puzzled, BOP officials finally decided that because Tavoy had a penis, she should be housed with the men at MDC, despite her having, as a result of the hormone therapy and breast augmentation, a feminine shape and other female characteristics.
While in prison, Tavoy alleged, she was beaten and raped over the course of two months and was finally switched over to the women’s side of the prison, possibly being the only person there with a penis.
“I served the first five months of my sentence on the ‘male’ side because they needed some form of classification as it relates to my gender, although my documents state that I am a female,” Tavoy said. “I was sexually assaulted by other inmates … it was very difficult. They didn’t move me over to the female side when the abuse initially happened but they did when the guys had started fighting over me and after my lawyer got involved.”
While still with the men, Tavoy requested to be placed in the segregated housing unit (SHU), rather than the general male population.
But, instead, she was placed in the general population in Unit I61. While housed in the male unit, Tavoy complained multiple times to mental health treaters at MDC that she felt uncomfortable. On August 17, 2017 at approximately 1:00 p.m., an inmate entered Tavoy’s cell and punched her several times in the head.
Tavoy, despite being the victim, was placed in the SHU for a period of time.
When her stay in the SHU ended, she was returned to Unit I61 and housed with a male inmate. Tavoy was just too much for him to resist it seems and on October 11, 2017, between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., he anally raped Tavoy.
Tavoy reported the rape to her case manager, and other officials and then she was transferred to the female housing unit.
Tavoy has commenced a lawsuit against the USA for the actions of the Bureau of Prison, to be paid for by US taxpayers in the event she wins.
“Only after plaintiff was assaulted and then raped did BOP (Bureau of Prisons) transfer plaintiff to a female housing unit,” the lawsuit said. “Even after her transfer, plaintiff continued to be subjected to harassment and intimidation by BOP correction officers.”
But things are looking up for Tavoy. She hopes to win a large settlement to paid by taxpayers, perhaps as much or more than she collected from seniors she was trying to help collect their sweepstakes winnings.
Tavoy said that today she is focused on acquiring a degree in Psychology and has found the Lord too.
“I have developed a stronger relationship with God,” Tavoy said. “I am not baptized as yet but I read my Bible every day and I make time for God. Back in the day, I was addicted to sex. It used to be my ‘go to’ drug. I am now more goal-oriented.”
Meantime Tavoy is seeking asylum in the US, arguing that she will face discrimination if she is to be sent back to Jamaica.