Tossed back to Midwest


José, Louisville/Lexington, Kentucky

I moved here a month before the 2016 presidential election…and moved back to Portland, Ore. for six months after the election before returning.

I think everybody felt very devastated, my partner and I felt devastated and we didn’t have a community to fall back on because we didn’t know anyone in Kentucky yet. It’s been really hard to meet people in Lexington (lives in Lexington with partner) and here (Louisville). For the first little while I was here, I was really home sick.

I just recently started more hiking. There are lot of beautiful aspects about Kentucky. My partner works with Appalachian writers and we’ve been hanging out with them more.

My Favorite thing has been discovering the beautiful nature that is here that I think a lot of people don’t realize is here like Red river gorge. I’m also excited to get a kayak soon because there are so many places to us one.

“For me that is a way to get to know a place.”

When I moved to Portland, Ore., from Kansas City, I said I’d never move to the Midwest again, so it’s been interesting to be [in Kentucky]. Being from the west coast since age 18, trans, and a person of color, I was scared.

We had tons of friends in Portland and they are very liberal; there’s safety there in that way. As I’ve slowly been meeting people and finding out the other side of Kentucky where the good stuff and good people are, I’m learning to appreciate it more.

One of the clinics I’m working here is in Shepherdsville, and sometimes when I stop and get gas I think, “what’s gonna happen?” Although, I’ve never had anyone be confrontational.

There’s no right way to be trans. Everybody has their own path, everybody has their own stories. Some people come out as teenagers and some people in their forties. Be patient with yourself. And do what you need to do to stay safe. You can have the life that you imagine.  I love dancing, especially when I’m in a queer space. If someone told me when I was 15 that this would be my life, I wouldn’t believe them. Living the life I want to live, being who I am, having a good career; those are things that I thought would never happen for me.



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