SEPTEMBER : “ You’re standing in a historical spot, ya know. Do you remember the mass shooting that happened here in 2007?”
Transilient: In Omaha?
“Yeah, but in this mall, actually. I sort of knew the guy that did it.”
Transilient: Oh, now that you mention it I remember hearing about that. I can’t believe they kept this place open.
“They did, I remember it impacting things for a while, though.”
Transilient: So, what do you do?
“I work two jobs. I am a sales person and I work at a mental health facility too. For fun, I do all the standard geeky stuff. I read, watch movies, play video games, and binge watch Netflix like everyone else. I like historical European martial arts and I definitely like the hobby of aquaria, as in fish keeping, and I enjoy the outdoors like fishing and camping. I grew up in Miami, Florida. I came here to actually be able to hold a job and get a good education. The price of living and access to jobs is great here. ”
Transilient: How’s the community here?
“Community? Well, for me, I have what feels like two separate communities. Queer people and people of color. The trans and queer community is awful, I can’t lie, because I feel like it almost exclusively centers white trans men, especially here in Omaha. There’s a rivalry between groups who are explicitly for trans people but they are separated between trans women and men and they are all pretty much white centered. Most cis women of color I know are transphobic. Cis white women are worse. The few trans women of color I have come into contact with here tend to carry internalized stuff and carry slut shaming ideology.
I’ve tasted discrimination forever. In Miami, I was ostracized just for being perceived as this ambiguously, potentially, bisexual man. So, I came over here to get away from that too. Omaha is still a lot better than that. At the end of the day though, the LGBT community here is way better than that in so many areas. They are quick to realize when something is oppressive or problematic but still struggle to get on board with race.
I’ve been wanting to get more involved with immigration issues. Long before I got involved with queer issues I was interested in immigration. I wanted to step into queer and trans issues because I feel like it’s the only representative of white people. I decided that if nobody else was going to change this then I was going to. Jennicet Gutiérrez is someone who I really admire. She has this braising energy and it was fantastic when she called Obama out while he was speaking. We don’t just need trans women of color to be present, we need people to listen to us. People like to talk about being allies. We don’t need allies. We need accomplices. We need someone who is willing to stand next to us in a jail cell. Allies need to be risking their asses. They may be allies still even if they don’t do this work but we need more accomplices. It will be what actually create changes for us. ”