“Well, Ang, you have come into my life at a very interesting time.”

These were the first words Imani said when we sat down to our first interview on November 14th, at Gong Fu Tea. In the two hours I had the pleasure of interviewing Imani I learned about her life including her childhood and attempts to find community and acceptance in Des Moines. Imani’s life story is filled with activism and her fight to create equality for all. Because of this, every page I wrote about Imani came to include at least some element of her activism. In my attempts to portray her story accurately I found that Imani had often already worded it perfectly, and I attempted to retain as much of her own narration as possible. To this end, several of the titles used are selected from her actual quotes, and fully represent her feelings towards the materials presented in each page. 

Imani has struggled to find community and visibility not only as a gay woman, but also as an ethnic minority, a highly intelligent individual, and an activist since moving to Des Moines. Despite her own feelings of isolation and reclusiveness, Imani fights to create equality and acceptance for all individuals. In addition to her work for gay and civil rights, Imani aims for environmental social justice, and runs a nonprofit called Shapeshifter Development.

Imani’s story has encouraged me to acknowledge my gratitude towards those LGBT individuals who have come before me, as well as to acknowledge my privilege.


Growing Up and Coming Out