Dayna Troisi: Proud • Bionic • Lesbian
Dayna and I met the first week of freshman year at Hofstra University in 2011. I had made some friends in her dorm building and the only thing that stuck out to me about her at first was that she was a guidette like I had never seen in real life before. With a fake tan, jet black extensions, long acrylic nails, the heavy eyeliner… she had it all down pat. Dayna loved to party and she was really nice, what wasn’t to love? After two weeks of seeing each other out but not hanging on our own quite yet, we ended up at the same crazy house party. I walked in and saw Dayna throwing a girl against the wall and making out with her. In that moment I realized two things; 1. She was a lesbian and 2. She was missing half of her left arm. I was in complete shock; how’d I miss this? I didn’t know she was gay, and I definitely didn’t notice she only had one arm. That moment is one of my clearest memories from the beginning of college.
Dayna was wild, to say the least, and we all loved it. Since then, she and I have been through a lot together. Break ups, make outs, dance parties, navigating gay nightlife in NYC with our former sociology professor, and many other college antics. Over the years we’ve created a very strong bond and love for one another, always able to make the other laugh. What I didn’t know, though, was how she came to own her true self...
CR: Dayna we’ve known each other for seven years, but I don’t know about your coming out story… can you share it with me? When you realized you liked girls vs boys, when you found the word lesbian/gay, how it made you feel, when/how you came out to your friends and family, and how you’ve come to own it.
DT: “I always knew I was gay. I didn’t intellectualize it but I was a perverted ass kid at an age where it wasn’t even cute (around six). I was always looking for porn and remember going through my dads motorcycle magazines and being extremely curious about sex in a way that I knew my curiosity was different; I don't have words to describe it but I wanted to immerse myself in sex.
In middle school I met a girl in my religion class (Dayna and I shared a brief laugh) and we would make out and talk on AIM but skirt around the fact that we had feelings for each other. One day she said, ‘Can I tell you secret?’ I replied, ‘Sure’ and she told me she was bisexual. I had no idea what it meant but it freaked me out so I went downstairs and got that ginormous Webster Dictionary and looked for the word bisexual which somehow led me to looking up hermaphrodite... I don’t know why. Then in 8th grade there was this group ‘Lesbians of New York’ on Myspace and I was like ‘Oh okay this is a real thing I'm not making this up.’ You know my parents don't talk about this stuff and it wasn't on TV - we’re the generation right before people talked about being gay and trans; we didn't have that. I joined the group and was a catfish with a fake photo and would write in the group that I thought I was one too.
In high school around 2010 I had a girlfriend. I would sometimes say ‘I’m not a lesbian’ but also didn’t deny that I was dating a girl. Although ambivalent about them I experimented with guys. I was fascinated by sex and knew if I didn't act on it I’d wonder what it was like. The sex with men wasn’t bad but I just didn’t love it; I felt no connection towards it. I thought when I’d go to college I could introduce myself and not have to say anything about my sexuality. At Hofstra I made friends that were unabashedly themselves, not even to do with sexuality, they were just unapologetically themselves and knowing I had good friends I felt I could say I'm a lesbian. No one questioned it or talked shit about it; it felt like I just joined a group of sluts and we’d go out to the bars and fish for people to fuckkk.
I was scared [realizing I was a lesbian] because I knew my family (whom used to be religious but not so much anymore) and I was like, ‘I’m gonna be in big fucking trouble.’ I didn't tell my parents until 2017. This is such a ratchet story but I went to the gyno and had HPV and thought the doctor would tell my mom that I slept with women so I said, ‘Mom before I go in there I have to tell you that I sleep with women’ and she said, (in a thick long island accent) “Well Dayna you have bigger problems than that right now.’ After that we didn't talk about it again (the next pap smear was clean, in case anyone was wondering and [jokes] is DTF). I asked if she had wanted to meet my girlfriend (who she’s been with since last December) but she had no interest so I kind of gave up on it.
My dad was driving me to pride parade and straight up asked if I was gay and I said, ‘Yea’ and he said, ‘Okay cool.’ He then took me and my girlfriend to brunch and they talked about motorcycles. Both of my parents are totally supportive of it now.”
*Dayna not being out to her parents was something I had totally forgotten about until this interview, she has always been so unapologetically herself, it's crazy to think she wasn't “out” to her family. I remember now being at her house for a family gathering and having to consciously not bring up her sexual orientation.*
CR: Let’s talk about what makes you seemingly most unique, your nub, Sofia (which I think I named by the way…)
DT: “Interesting the way you phrased it - people think it’s my defining factor - I feel like I’m remarkable in a lot of ways - not all good because I have a big mouth - but it pushed me to be different. People would stare and it gave me permission to be the center of attention. I could've been shy or I could say, ‘This rocks!’ All I want to do is talk about myself anyway and people ask questions and I now have the chance to educate people or make them smile. In college I wish I had two hands because it would've been easier… more people would've wanted to sleep with me. Now it’s the biggest blessing in my life; it’s given me a unique perspective in this world that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Disabled girls all over the country message me and I couldn’t imagine a greater gift - and I'm sure you feel the same.”
CR: What’s the best sex story with Sofia:
DT: “I wouldn't’ think about Sofia much during sex and then in college my girlfriend at the time asked if I’d ever fucked anyone with her [Sofia] and I thought it’d be a powerful moment but I felt ridiculous. I liked that I was comfortable enough with myself to try it but also knew it was hysterical because I’m trying to finger a girl with a stub.
When I got my prosthetic it gave me so much sexual confidence. I was on every dating app in the world because I felt so attractive. But now I had to think about sex because it got in the way - it’s interesting that the thing that made me feel so sexy I had to take off. The first few times I tried to take it off I was nervous that it would fart because it farts when you put pressure on it (demonstrates for me on FaceTime). The only thing worse than feeling ugly is farting during sex. The first time I did it I was in my head about the entire situation. I had only met the girl that day and we were hooking up and then I had to remove it when I’m supposed to be the most sexually appealing - then I realized ‘Oh this is sex everyone blacks out during sex and it doesn’t matter’ and we continued.”
CR: I need to highlight your personal style evolution. It’s a topic I write often about on my blog and for StyleCaster; and yours is truly special. You’ve lived many lives in many looks and they’re all somehow very true to who you are. When we met, you were a guidette straight out of Jersey Shore, the next year you were a rave queen, then a hippie chick, who then turned street goth, and now you’ve got an edgy sensual look. Walk me through these transitions.
DT: “Okay so guidette was honestly completely authentic to me and myself being an Italian from Long Island. I felt I wasn't performing it - which is sad because you'd think I was with the extensions, the nails, the poof; but I didn’t feel like I was trying to fit in I genuinely liked it. When I got to college some of the girls were guidettes but most of the out of state girls weren't dressed like myself and I was like, ‘Oh my god the way I dress is obnoxious,’ and I noticed people were staring at me and that's when I realized style is an identifier and I relished in that. I was ‘the girl with the spray tan and extensions’ and I felt empowered by it. Prior I never thought of clothing and style as anything other than fun and then I started to feel empowered by dressing.”
“Raver girl was really dark I don't know what was going on with that. I was heartbroken and I just wanted to rave and drink and party and I was just depressed and the community of ravers are a great group of people. Like in NYC gay nightlife it's people coming together who are misfits, raves were where I felt comforted; and I made that look into a business with those rave bras and made a statement in those outfits. People would stop me and want to take pictures and I liked creating things for other people too. The purest most unaltered way to have fun is at a music festival in that culture and that's why a lot of people OD and die. For me it was a fun place that nurtured my self expression.”
“Hippie chick I don’t know what the fuck that was. I admired Ani (our good friend from college) and I found her really attractive, and thought if I started dressing like it I could emulate her, but that wasn’t the case because that stuff looked terrible on me.”
“Street goth was all Instagram influenced. I followed so many insta hoes, (names: @deathcandy, @phibb,) and LA street goth girls that I thought were cool but they were just all skinny asians and that's not who I am (we both laughed) - and that didn't feel like me but it was fun.”
“Everything felt like an art project and I liked trying different stuff out on my body. My look today came with age, maturity, writing on the internet, and taking my voice seriously. Getting my prosthetic felt like an accessory, like a purse or a pair of shoes I had always wanted. It made me feel okay with myself and that I didn't need to dress outlandish but can still wear my ‘dyke’ necklace and a rhinestone bra (her interview outfit). I feel a lot sexier and not as insecure, just myself... I know it sounds cheesy but that's how I feel.”
CR: What are you most passionate about in life and if you could have a lasting impression on this world, what would it be?
DT: “I’m most passionate about writing, and the craft of storytelling, and that doesn’t go for just telling my story. I’m hungry for other peoples stories and it's a beautiful way to connect - there’s nothing more humanizing than reading a personal essay from someone. Me reading your first blog post is the kind of shit that inspires me and makes me proud to be a human being and be myself. The most powerful forces we have on the planet is storytelling.
My imprint... I want people to know I'm funny as fuck and want my stories to make people laugh and bring joy to people and make queer disabled women feel like they can go out and get a date like anyone else. I want to inspire people, and they don’t have to be like me... but I hope I make people laugh, that's really important to me.”
CR: What are you plans for the future? What is your biggest dream/aspiration at this point in time? What do you want most for yourself and the world around you?
DT: “My biggest dream is to publish a book of essays - that’s what I’m working towards with my writing career. What I want most for myself is fame and fortune obv like anyone else (we laugh) but honestly to be happy and to have a platform to tell my story and feature other people's stories.
For the world, I want everyone to speak their truth without being ridiculed. Online we have a culture where if someone tells an honest beautiful story people politicize it or intellectualize it. I dream of a world where people appreciate art and beauty without telling people how to feel about it. I’m not saying discourse isn’t important, but right now we are in a weird place where anyone who is brave enough to speak their truth people will shit all over it.”
Limbitless was Dayna’s club in college that I took part in. In high school alone she raised over $30,000. Even in college she would donate every year and created raver bras covered with flowers and big gems and we sold them in our Student Center with all the proceeds going to the club and its charity. This was huge part of Daynas’ life for a long time and she expressed her guilt in which her work stemmed from.
"I had the ability to be on my parents health insurance and received whatever I needed. So many people who are missing a limb don't have those options and it made me feel guilty and I thought to myself I have all of this time, why not help them."
Dayna posts prideful photos on her Instagram account, @walkingintospiderwebs, and is a beautifully hysterical writer, currently on staff at GOMag (where she's featured yours truly). She was recently a video feature on “NOW THIS” which has reached an incredible 1.5 million individual views. She makes an impact on anyone who comes in contact with her; and if you have the privilege of speaking with Dayna, or even better partying with her, you will fully understand that she is unlike anyone you had ever met before, in the best of ways.
What I’ve learned from having Dayna in my life is that no matter how you are born, you can find happiness within yourself. Dayna’s first tattoo, in large cursive on the side of her ribcage, reads “Born This Way,” and although she’s a true Lady Gaga fan, she got this inked before the popular song preached her personal mantra. Dayna owns something not many people, including myself can; and that is something worthy of a standing ovation. Her soul is pure, no matter how raunchy she may be; and is a person who truly embodies being influential, positive, and unique.
Check out some of my fav moments with Dayna captured below
Be confident, persistent, and thoughtful