The Daily Grind Video

You might remember the name Phillip Hudson from the VIBE magazine article titled “The Mean Girls of Morehouse,” which chronicled his time at Morehouse College and some of the adversity he experienced as a gender-bending student.

However, there is much more to the Phillip Hudson than the “Amazon of ‘The Plastics’” persona, a label he was given by his peers. Phillip’s courage to simply be, and to not ascribe to himself a particular gender or sexual orientation, forced Morehouse College students and faculty to confront LGBTQ identity issues in a way they never had before.

Since his controversial and highly publicized time at one of the nation’s most prestigious historically black colleges, Phillip has become a minor celebrity. In Florida, where he grew up, Phillip is the face of the growing anti-bullying movement which has spread throughout the country in response to the social epidemic that has seen several students take their own life and the lives of others in school shootings in recent years. The self-described androgenous male activist has seen more in 21 years than many people have seen in a lifetime; far more than your average college kid to say the least.

The tragic and horrifying circumstances he’s dealt with growing up would without a doubt have broken the psyche of many, however Phillip has stayed positive and wants to use his life experience to empower and give voice to everyone that’s ever been bullied or struggled with suicidal thoughts. In an emotional interview, Phillip Hudson shared with us his incredible and moving life story, eye-opening revelations about life as a student at Morehouse College and his inspiring vision for the future of the anti-bullying movement.


Phillip grew up in Tallahasse, Florida the son of a Jamaican-born Christian pastor. His father, reflecting the values of his church and his upbringing, was described by Phillip as extremely homophobic and intolerant of lifestyles that conflicted with his church. As a child, Phillip attended a private Christian boarding school and at age 13, Phillip experienced a tragic loss of innocence when he was drugged and raped by a classmate. Feeling traumatized and unable to confide in anyone, Phillip says his identity as Phillip Hudson froze. His emotions were kept inside and he created an alternate female persona in his mind as a way of dealing with an experience no 13 year old child could comprehend. Phillip turned to female hormones as a way of coping with the emotions he was forced to hold inside for fear of what his family would do if they knew.

In high school, life got even worse for Phillip. Instead of worrying about typical high school dilemmas involving prom and graduation, Phillip was forced to deal with the psychological trauma of being gang raped on film (the tape of which Phillip says was distributed around the school). Phillip decided against holding it in as he did at age 13 and told his father he had been raped not only then, but 3 years prior. His father’s response was to call his son a “faggot.” This was one of the very first times he would hear the slur directed at him and it reaffirmed his outlook on his father and the unlikelihood that he would ever gain his respect and acceptance

Feeling his father cared more about protecting his image as a pastor than about his own son, Phillip started going to gay clubs and planning to move out of his emotionally toxic household. Phillip says his father found female clothing and wigs in his room and destroyed his stuff instead of trying to understand what his son was going through. Phillip says his father’s intolerance of his lifestyle fostered in him a self-hatred that would stay with him for years and cause him to act out in several ways.

“The first man to ever say the words ‘I love you’ was a well-known record producer in the industry at the time. He was someone I attached to because I had never heard the words ‘I love you’ before from a man other than him! He told me I would be a beautiful girl and he agreed to pay for my transition!

It was a male producer. I will not disclose his name publicly because of his current status as a mega producer! He approached me during a few of my club performances and told me I would be more beautiful as a female. So in a way he was trying to turn me into what his preference would be. He was the first person of the male sex to tell me that he loved me. At the time I guess you can say we were dating on a more personal level and money never was an issue for him. He was the one who paid for everything. By the time he stopped I had already made the connection to get the hormones myself!

I thought if my dad wont accept me as being a male I’m going to turn into a female … I started taking hormones when I was 13, only because I didn’t get any attention at home. Some people turn to drugs and weed and alcohol and all that other stuff when they’re going through stuff. My addiction was female hormones.”


Despite all that he had been through, Phillip overcame the negativity and graduated early from high school at age 16 with a near-perfect 3.8 GPA. With high school behind him, Phillip saved his money and found an apartment in New York City through Craigslist. Phillip only told his mother he was leaving two weeks before and he had no intention of ever coming back. Unfamiliar with NYC neighborhoods, Phillip moved to a Jamaican/Caribbean neighborhood in East Flatbush, Brooklyn with the hopes of finding acceptance and a home. Although he moved in with a friendly taxicab driver, Phillip quickly found the same attitude with him in that community as he’d experienced with his father.

Phillip’s first job in New York was at Target after transferring his employment from the one he’d been working at in Florida. Not long after being hired, his employers wondered why he was working full time and not in school at age 16. Phillip ended up leaving the job and living on credit, amassing a huge credit card debt. Around that time, Phillip was informed that the man he lived with could not renew his lease and Phillip would have to leave the apartment. Phillip was able to stay with a cousin for a few days but then was on the street and had to ask random people for a place to stay. Eventually, Phillip connected with some of his cousins from Jamaica who he described as the “outcasts” of his father’s side of the family. Taking advantage of Phillip’s situation, he says he was pushed into being an escort. Phillip recalls several dates with men who paid him for his time and he was quick to point out that he was able to avoid sexual acts with these men due to his size (6’5’’).

According to Phillip, he was encouraged by his cousins to go on these dates but never saw any of the money. They also apparently wanted him to have a sex change but he never went through with it, although he came very close.

“They actually pushed me further and further into wanting to become a female to the point where I had finished my psychiatric evaluation to actually get a sex change. Two months before my sex change operation was supposed to take place I said ‘I can’t do it.’ Something clicked in my brain like ‘this isn’t Phillip.’ Phillip was stuck from the first time he was raped. This female character that everybody knows is a really fun-loving person, but the real [me] was tired of it and took over and said ‘I don’t like this.’ I really didn’t like being forced to do something.”

Phillip also worked as a telemarketer while this was happening, but he ended up losing his job because he was unable to maintain a professional appearance. After moving to Jamaica, Queens, Phillip eventually received a phone call from his mom. Phillip’s father’s health was deteriorating and she implored him to return to Florida and help take care of him. Broken down mentally and searching for a change, Phillip accepted. His plan was to regroup and come up with a new gameplan.


A New Beginning

Life back at home was a welcome change, however Phillip kept his expectations low. Phillip went to a local community college, got job at a restaurant, stayed to himself and tried as hard as he could to avoid conflict with his father. Looking toward the future, Phillip got in touch with a friend who was attending Morehouse College. His friend expressed to him how his time at the historically Black college had changed his life and helped him become a well-rounded person.

During our interview, Phillip made clear that he doesn’t believe in sexual orientation labels such as “gay” or “straight” and believes society should view people as individuals and not force upon them labels and gender-specific expectations of to act.  At this point in his life, Phillip was still struggling with his identity and felt attending Morehouse would help teach him how to fit our society’s concept of a male.

Morehouse Man

Phillip applied and was accepted although he didn’t know if his parents would help him pay tuition. His dad thought he wanted to go there to be around men and thought it was “a gay school.” He intended to stop taking female hormones and try to fit in, for the first time in his life, with masculine men. Phillip spent money on a new wardrobe and prepared himself for the next phase of his life. Unfortunately, his first appearance at the cafeteria as a new man did not go over as he expected. As he described it, when he walked in the spoons and forks hit the floor.

“The first day I was there they were just like ‘go back to where you came from, faggot!’ I literally ran to my room and cried and I said to myself, ‘if I’m going to have to deal with this here, I might as well give them something to deal with.’ And that’s when everything that I had worked towards, trying to be a masculine male went out the window. They want to see a faggot, I’ll give them a faggot and that’s when the hair weave came out, the nail polish went on and the lip gloss came out.”


Entering college Phillip still carried with him anger from rapes he survived, but never gave his tormentors the satisfaction of getting a reaction. Phillip coped with the hatred by laughing it off and even lightheartedly confronting the bullies. At times, however, he would lock himself in his car and cry because he had no family and few friends to whom he could express his struggle. Instead of crumbling under the pressure, Phillip focused on academics and maintained very high GPA.

Life at Morehouse was an everyday struggle for the freshman. Phillip was bullied and verbally harassed with gay slurs constantly. Students even threw eggs at him on his way to class and the worst instance according to Phillip, was when someone wrote “FAG” on his car window in red lipstick. Phillip was even taunted by students anonymously in the campus newspaper.

Not all students and faculty at Morehouse shunned Phillip. He recalled an encounter with the football coach who approached him to play for the team:

“The football coach came up to me and asked me if I was interested in joining the football team! I laughed at him and said ‘I just got a fresh perm, y’all wear helmets, the boys on the football team are already trying to talk to me on Facebook and trying to have sex with me. I couldn’t possibly [play on the team] (laughs). I told him ‘half your football team is trying to have sex with me!’ He looked at me and his mouth just dropped. He told the whole football team and some of them confronted me about it and I said ‘Am I lying? Would you like me to go back to the Facebook messages that you sent me?’ I thought it was hilarious but I wasn’t gonna do something. I really thought it was funny and stuff, that really just showed me that Morehouse is a big gay campus. I’m not saying that to defame it’s name … All the boys used to just write me on Facebook ‘could you come to my dorm?’ I’d go to their room to help them study and they’ll try to hit on me but I was [called] a ‘faggot’ in the hallways.”

Closeted students also used Facebook to communicate with Phillip without fear of being outed. They would tell him they respect him but to tone it down as a Morehouse man dress-wise. Phillip ignored them and stayed true to his individualistic fashion sense. However the university itself eventually stepped in with a new dress code that Phillip believes was aimed at him and the handful of other students on campus who pushed the limits of acceptable fashion on campus. What resulted was a media-controversy that brought Phillip to the spotlight for the very first time.

Phillip believed the faculty thought he was transgender because of his physical appearance, altered by the female hormones he had taken, despite the fact that he wore traditionally male clothing. He faced heat from professors for the length of his hair and how he dressed but, after familiarizing himself with the proper attire policy inside and out, would push back by pointing out other students who were violating proper attire policy with sagging pants, fitted caps and do-rags. These students weren’t punished and it became clear to Phillip that the faculty had targeted him and the handful of others on campus who shared his fashion sense.


“It was a proper attire policy but if you’re going to [restrict how students can dress] then implement a dress code where you provide a certain color of Polo shirt or a certain color of pants to wear. Don’t try to say no pumps, no do-rags, no totes because at the end of the day [the proper attire policy] was a statement to say that all the boys were tired of The Plastics and Phillip.”

It wasn’t all hate for Phillip at Morehouse College. Some faculty, staff and students looked out for him and he maintains that the university does deserve its prestigious reputation despite the problems he encountered. Since leaving campus, Phillip said he’s been contacted by Morehouse student organizations that have called him a legend for having the courage to be himself.  

“We weren’t changing the school, but the more freshman came in the more freshman who saw us acting a certain way, it was showing it was okay [to do] that. Even now I have freshmen sending emails and text messages saying ‘It’s because of you that I’m able to be who I am and go to school and fully try to find out who I am without the pressure.’ Student organizations and student government say ‘You’re a legend. I don’t think you know how powerful that you are!’ I say, ‘I didn’t do anything but just be who I was. I wasn’t trying to be too gay I was just trying to be Phillip … to express myself … just not caring.” 


A Bright Future

Through all the trials and tribulations he’s faced over the years, Phillip feels a responsibility to help the ostracized and has maintained his passion to make the world a better place for the voiceless. That passion has driven him to do some great things since leaving Morehouse and returning to Florida. Phillip has kicked the female hormone habit and intends to have surgery to revert back to looking more masculine. The media attention Phillip received from his time at the HBCU has given him the exposure needed to promote acceptance and speak on issues of identity and bullying to an even broader audience (when the VIBE article came out in October 2010 there was so many reporters on campus at USF, where he attended college after leaving Morehouse, that he had to park off campus and be escorted to class).

Since moving to Tampa, Phillip has spoken at the majority of high schools in the area and has spoken at the funerals of children who were bullied and took their own life. He helped create a video to welcome incoming freshmen to USF. He is currently in the process of funding a college radio tour that would have him visit major radio stations in 18 cities nationwide for sit-down interviews.  

After speaking with Phillip, it’s clear that his enthusiasm for helping others is unparalleled and that he embodies the pride and self-confidence he seeks to build in others. We’re rooting hard for Phillip and hope he continues to be an outspoken leader and voice of the anti-bullying movement that’s needed now more than ever.

Phillip’s favorite celebrity advocates:

Kim Kardashian


Lady Gaga

Nicki Minaj


Kanye West

Russell Simmons (for the No Hate Campaign)

Kimora Lee (for gay rights advocacy)

Rev. Run

Phillip credited all of the above for being influential, provocative, respected and for doing something positive with those qualities.


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