ASIA HANKTON

NEW ORLEANS, LA

ASIA : “I grew up over in Kenner- near the airport. It was so fun, I used to sneak out, I was probably sixteen years old and would come into New Orleans. I actually grew up with the Big Freedia crew- her and Katey Red! When I first came out, I was actually a dancer for Katey Red. So, I got to tour and see different cities when I was really young. Growing up in New Orleans back then there was different dance groups and events. So, basically, I grew up around Katey and Freedia but there was Chev and Vockah – their rivalries in other parts of the city. We all had different parties and talent shows, it was really fun. Even when they’d be dissing one another in songs we’d be competing and just having fun.

 

That was all uptown, ya know how Katey sings about it, and now uptown is different.

Living uptown now, I just find myself relaxing without much to do after dark. I’d sit on my porch at night and see Sierra, one of the girls that got killed recently, walk by my house every night. I was close to the girls who were murdered, they were my sisters.

 

I don’t put myself in areas that could feel dangerous. The reason the violence has happened, well this may be taken the wrong way, I don’t know the real reason behind it, I just know that the areas this happened in is where working girls go to and they are dangerous places. They are not welcoming to us girls.

 

I am not looking to be anyone’s secret. I am not looking to make myself vulnerable and that’s a really hard choice for many of us to make. Not all of us can make that choice. All I know is, I am not being put back into a box that we are fighting to get out of. It’s been real sad, all of this, yes.

 

It sounds easy to just leave, but it’s not easy to start over. My family also loves and supports me, which is rare! I do want to try out Las Vegas soon because I’ve been in Louisiana my whole life. I visited there and had a good time. I also know that I’ll never find another place like New Orleans, I love the people here but you got to try new things.”

 

New Orleans has experienced a recent increase in the murders of trans women of color