Photos from Angelina Nordstrom’s Facebook Page
The Honorable Angelina Nordstrom is a Chicago-based two-spirit, Indigenous Black trans-femme who grew up in Memphis. As a person with indigenous roots with the Choctaw tribe, Angelina brings a unique perspective to world views.
The writer, lyricist, and poet have been creating pieces for over 20 years. “My written pieces have been published in compilations such as the TransWorks of Chicago House, Infinite Genders: You Can’t Read With Us, and Changing the Story,” said Angelina.
In August of 2022, they started Chasing Liberation, season one, which has 25 episodes and can be seen on YouTube. (Season two kicks off in September 2023.) Their YouTube Channel has 88 videos with over 300 subscribers. In honor of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, PrideIndex presents our lost interview of the Esteem Award winner, The Honorable Angelina Nordstrom. We discussed what liberation means, why activism is important and more.
The Honorable Angelina’s pronouns: They, Them, Theirs
PrideIndex (PI): Hello, The Honorable Angelina Nordstrom; how are you, dear?
The Honorable Angelina Nordstrom (AN): I’m okay.
PI: Thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview. The first thing I would like for you to a introduce yourself and tell me about your journey thus far.
AN: My name is The Honorable Angelina Nordstrom, and my journey go in multiple directions. My journey started with my art of being a performer, poet, and writer, which has evolved into advocacy work. I now discuss more of what goes on in the world that creates barriers and further marginalizes different communities to bring about different levels of awareness. It morphed a little into where I’m focusing more on labor-organizing work, but I still perform. I’ve taken on so many roles over the years, to the point where my views have become so much more broadened. I’ve met people from different walks of life, knowing that liberation is only realistic once all people are liberated.
PI: I have to chime in on that last statement. Can you repeat that for me, and what does it mean?
AN: Liberation, for me, indicates a person who has done their healing work. It also means that they have taken the time to unlearn so many things they were taught during their adolescence and adulthood in multiple settings and understand that some things are extremely harmful to those less privileged than themselves. With that understanding of liberation, I highlight how black people need to be liberated. Black people should be first, as should Black queer and Black trans people and anyone within that scope.
PI: Why are advocacy and activism important to you?
AN: Advocacy is very important to me because it highlights what it means to be socially responsible. Social responsibility needs to be improved in society today. I have observed that when someone encounters a barrier when pursuing a goal and sees something unjustly, some folks choose not to deal with it. It is important to hold your oppressor accountable and confront the situation. Being responsible means calling something out and trying to make a change whenever we see wrongdoing.
PI: Tell me a little about your work with Chicago Therapy Collective (CTC).
AN: In 2020, right before the pandemic, I began participating in the #HireTrans Campaign with Chicago Therapy Collective. My best friend, Elise Malary and Iggy Ladden, CTC’s founder, spearheaded this campaign to ensure employers give more equitable consideration and opportunities to Trans applicants for jobs in Chicago. The pilot project took place in Andersonville by signing up 50 employers. It was inspiring to me because Elise loved the work that she did with CTC until her dying day. She loved her work from being a board member and when she was a Trans coordinator. Working with Iggy, Elise, and everyone else who participated in the campaign was an honor.
PI: Do you plan on picking up the baton and continuing the work Elise started?
AN: Yes, I do plan to do that. I don’t know how it would look. I’m figuring out how to balance the work that Elise was doing while maintaining the focus on some of the work I have been doing as well. Elise was a fierce advocate. I got into advocacy in the form of art and poetry. And so how we both got into advocacy were in entirely different ways. That was one of many things that bonded us together.
I made a promise to her in the eulogy that I was going to continue to do a lot of the work that she was doing. I’m going to keep her name and legacy alive. Elise only asked that our community be respected, embraced, and affirmed.
PI: So, if someone out there wanted to have The Honorable Angelina Nordstrom, the writer, poet, and performance artist, participate in their event. What should they do?
AN: Go to my website Angelinanordstrom.org. That is the easiest way of getting in contact with me.