Symon “Mel” Howard was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia. Like most LGBTQ+ children Mel struggled with accepting his identity which led to depression and issues with self-love. In 2010 decided to attend support groups to find others like him. Mel started his journey transiting to male medically in 2012 in Richmond, Virginia due to the lack of gender affirming care available in Hampton Roads. While accessing support groups, therapy, volunteering and building community connection he started to survive. In January 2013 he became a founding line member of Alpha Omega Kappa and begin working heavy on his self-love and continued attending support groups and giving back. Mel became more and more stable in his journey began to thrive and on April 20, 2022 he formed Thriving Transmen of Color. Mel a major voice and advocate of the community. Mel is a foster parent, an at risk youth advocate, writer for Blaque OUT Magazine and a bridge within the community.