“I am Still Here” by Jeremy Yazzie: Gallup Pride 2018

This speech was given Sept. 29, 2018 at the True Colors Drag Show at Gallup Pride.

by Jeremy Yazzie (AKA Kat Storm)

Welcome to 2018 Gallup Pride!

First and foremost, fuck Donald Trump!

Thank you for coming out today. Thank you for showing us what bravery and pride looks like. It’s been a few years since we last gathered but we are here today and we’re still gay as fuck!

I’d like for you to please give applause for our Gallup Pride Planning Committee. Thank you for organizing, fundraising, and decorating. Without you, this day would not be possible.

Ahehee. Thank you.

Thursday evening, a candle light vigil was held in honor of our brothers and sisters, our family and friends and for the unknowns who have passed. We will remember them and honor their lives. When we miss them, its ok to cry. Send them light and love each time.

Yesterday, The Red Nation hosted a symposium called “All My Heroes Are Queens.” If any Red Nations members are here, please rise. Thank you! Thank you for standing with us. Thank you for walking with us. Thank you for leading the liberation for Native LGBTQ people, for Native women, for Native transgender women, and for our Native relatives who are experiencing homelessness. A special thank you to Dr. Jennifer Nez Denetdale and Dr. Melanie Yazzie. Thank you for carrying our stories and experiences, our fears and fights to the halls of academia. You have brought the fight to Gallup and we will stand with you because you have stood with us.

And to the City of Gallup, you are on The Red Nation’s radar. The warriors of The Red Nations have abolished The Entrada in Santa Fe, they have abolished the racist logo of UNM and now, they are at your doorstep. You will no longer commit injustices to Native people on Navajo land.

And on this day and tonight at the True Colors Drag Show, let us celebrate our LGBTQ community and our very own trailblazer, Myrtis Duboise. Myrtis served on the Gallup Pride leadership team and was the inaugural Miss Gallup Pride. She was the first. It’s important to celebrate our pioneers because they have paved the way for us to be here to celebrate openly and freely. They have endured discrimination and ridicule yet have emerged beautiful and fearless. Thank you for showing us what bravery and pride looks like. Many of you here today are on your way to greatness. And to all those, I say, arrive at greatness on your own terms. You may stumble. You may even need to fight but do not give up. We need you.

As for me. Many of you I have known and some I will meet for the first time today, my journey started at Navajo AIDS Network as a health educator for the HIV Prevention program. After 10 years, I am still passionate about the work despite our very own community saying: “YeeYah Don’t Talk About It or We Don’t Have HIV Here or That’s a Gay Mans disease.” As part of an HIV prevention team, we tested our people for HIV in popup tents at the Shiprock Fair, at country western dances and at chapter houses across Navajo. I sat at the table and helped coordinate the very first Gallup Pride at UNM Gallup and I am still here. My story goes further. I have survived a heroin overdose. I have attempted sobriety twice. I am a survivor of sexual assault and have had plenty of wardrobe malfunctions on stage and been on too many fashion police lists.

I am still here.

Celebrate with me today Celebrate yourselves today Happy Gallup Pride! Thank you.