Hi, I’m Neka, I am a 24 year old non-native Rochesterian transplanted from Pennsylvania, much to my delight. I love this city and the people who live here.
Little did I know when I moved to Rochester after I graduated from college in 2013 that the place I was moving to for my new job would be a safe and supportive place for me to begin my transition. The first thing I did when I knew where I was moving was to google “gay in Rochester NY” and quickly found the GAGV. I wanted to know what resources there were for a queer trans person in this city and I was excited to find such an established organization. I thought it would be pretty cool to volunteer with a queer organization. I had never had access to any such group in the places I had previously lived.
I got an opportunity to volunteer with the GAGV in July 2014 as a co facilitator for the trans-youth support group. I eventually took over as the sole facilitator and assisted in moving the program over to the Center for Youth. I also am a regular at the Genesee Valley Gender Variants group and I am a member of the Trans Alliance of Greater Rochester (TAGR).
Recently I co-organized a clothing swap for the trans and queer community. My co-organizer Thomas Adams and I were overwhelmed with the support we got from the queer community and our allies in the form of donations for the swap. Attendance was great and it was a very special experience to have created a safe space for people to express their gender identity without worrying about social pressure to conform or financial cost. We had a lot of extras and were able to save some for our next swap as well as pay it forward be donating items to the house of Mercy.
I am passionate as a member of the trans community about engaging with other marginalized communities. We can only build a better world for ourselves by acknowledging intersectionality and actively participating in the deconstructing the kyriarchy. So many trans people are also poor, also people of color, also undocumented immigrants, also imprisoned, also disabled. Even if there were full federal protections for trans people tomorrow, so many people in my community would still be without full right and protections.
Fighting one battle is not enough.