Milo Winslow, a local trans man and activist, died by his own hand yesterday. His final social media posts show a man tortured by the local political war ramping up regarding his right to exist in our city of Lincoln.
Milo had begun hormone therapy over the past year, and his earlier TikTok posts highlighted exhilarating moments during his transition: when his voice began to lower, and when he showed off his recently-sprouted facial hair to his 19,000 followers. In recent weeks, since the passage of the Fairness Ordinance, it was clear that the political sparring about trans folk had been weighing heavily on him.
After talking to other trans activists and knowing Milo’s penchant for the political, we agreed Milo would want his words shared. I have transcribed his three most recent TikTok videos and a rare public Facebook post in hopes of illustrating just how dire the situation can be for trans folk in our community.
February 19, 2022 – TikTok Video
Hey there y’all. So, one of the things that’s happening right now in Lincoln, Nebraska because of this fairness ordinance, is that there are a lot of people who are assuming that every person who voted for our Democrat mayor or one of our gay or lesbian city council people, or any of the other Democrats that are in local office here… people seem to really think that everyone who supported them also supports the transgender community and that because of that, the fairness ordinance will pass the ballot measure.
But I have a different perspective to offer to all of you. The only direct in-person transphobia that I have ever experienced in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been from people in the lesbian and gay community.
For instance, when I first came out as non-binary, I had been pretty involved with a group of women who were mostly queer; not everyone in the group was queer, but a vast majority of them were. And there were three older lesbians in particular who told me that they really felt that my coming out as non-binary was me trying to meet a hetero-normative standard and saying that being a lesbian wasn’t good enough. One of those women also told me that transgender women shouldn’t be allowed in the meetings that we attended because they weren’t “really” women and that they still benefited from being “biologically male”.
When I was running the LGBTQ+ ministry at a local church, I had a group of elder gays during an event one night very aggressively misgender me the entire event, despite the fact that my pronouns were on my name tag, and I corrected them several times.
One thing I know all of those people had in common? They all voted for our mayor. So she may have had their vote, but my guess is, as a transgender person living in Lincoln, Nebraska, they aren’t going to vote in my best interest at all because they’re pretty aggressively anti-trans in their day-to-day lives.
And this is why I will continue to post about this. This is why I will continue to be loud in my advocating for my rights and the rights of every transgendered person in this city and this state. Because we deserve to be here, regardless of how anyone else feels about it.
February 21, 2022 – Public Facebook Post
Milo screencapped a comment made to him on a post in a local politics group so that he could post about it. The comment:
“Milo, most foundationally, because feelings that are sin and an affront to God should never be a ‘protected’ status. Feelings should not be legislated. Furthermore any condition where one has lost touch with reality, should not justify or be the foundation of protection.
There is right and wrong in the world. There is good and there is evil. This world has done its best to affirm whatever anyone thinks, feels or wants as acceptable. Everyone wants to define their own truth but now some are looking to force what they want upon others and force them to accept their confusion.”
This comment was made to me after I asked someone in a local politics group why it was they felt I don’t deserve protection from discrimination but yet they believe other protected classes do. I honestly didn’t think he’d respond.
It hasn’t even been a week since the LNK city council passed the Title IX changes but honestly it feels like it’s been much longer. I am already repeatedly questioning how vocally I want to be involved while also knowing full well that this isn’t a fight I will have the luxury of sitting out.
I’m angry that it’s a fight we’re having. I’m angry at the far right for weaponizing trans feminine people for their agenda. I’m angry at the dehumanizing language they use in their flyers. I’m angry at their forcing their religious ideologies onto others in the most hateful and vile ways. I’m angry that not even a week in and I’ve already been intentionally misgendered in conversations about it and told my experience is “an affront to God,” because it’s only going to get worse from here.
Mostly though, I’m angry at the political move that brought us here. A move made during midterms. A move made without the financial resources to back it up. A move made when less than 3 years ago polling said it wouldn’t pass. A move made after multiple queer and trans advocates BEGGED for it not to be made. I’m angry that this was done without a plan with the necks of transgender people (mostly trans feminine people) on the line. I’m angry that I now have to reckon with not trusting local politicians that I once felt I could trust.
Self-care. Extra therapy sessions. Finding positive connection. Snuggling Cornelia (his cat). Working as much as possible. And checking out of social media when necessary.
I’m just angry. Very angry. And we aren’t even a full week in to it all.
It’s going to be a long few months. Take care friends.
March 2, 2022 – TikTok Video
Milo is near tears throughout the video.
They needed 4,137 signatures.
They got 18,501 signatures.
There are around 295,000 people in this city, but so far 18,501 people in this city were willing to put their name on their transphobia.
It’s gonna be a long fucking year. A really long fucking year.
March 3, 2022 – TikTok Video
I’m going to be completely honest with y’all because I realized something yesterday that is really disheartening for me personally.
Advocacy work, especially advocacy work when you are a part of the group you’re advocating for, is very emotionally taxing. And one of the reasons some activists are so successful at what they do or able to do it for such long periods of time is because they have a really great support system behind them.
And while I have great followers on TikTok and, you know, a few fringe friends in real life who will comment and like posts and such, I don’t have a support system at all. And right now, I am pretty much completely isolated in my personal life. I just, I don’t have friends right now. I don’t have any family and probably never will again. I am very much alone in the world right now.
And I realized yesterday that if I continue to work on this campaign, if I continue to try to be an advocate and an activist, I will likely be a casualty of the cause. Because I am not emotionally in a place where I am strong enough to do this work while not having a support system at all.
So, I’m stepping back. I’m going to make my account private today. I’m going to stop talking about this because answering questions last night and responding to comments, it – it just made what was already a very emotionally draining situation… completely deplete me. And I just can’t do it right now.
There are other people who are more equipped to do it right now. So I’m going to step back and I’m going to let their voices be the voices that are heard, because I can’t do the work right now.
Thank you for all of your support. I do appreciate it.
Milo, you deserved better in this life. Rest in peace.