This alpaca ranch offers a transgender haven

(Penny Logue, Co-owner of Tenacious Unicorn Ranch) “My name is Penny Logue and we’re at the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch.”

"The Tenacious Unicorn Ranch is a trans haven alpaca ranch. A haven for queer people from the rising kind of violence of the surrounding world."

Penny Logue started the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch in Colorado in 2018.

The U.S. Human Rights Campaign had just declared 2017 the deadliest year so far for members of the trans and gender non-conforming community,

with 31 people killed.

(Bonnie Nelson, Co-owner of Tenacious Unicorn Ranch) “It was this push to create a community and to be a sort of escape for the oppressed people like me on a couple of levels, being trans and a minority, to escape all of that and be with people that are likeminded and understand.”

The ranch is located in conservative Custer County, home to about 5,000 people.

Logue says ranchers have received messages and calls expressing transphobic hatred and disdain.

Some included death threats.

(Penny Logue) "I wish we lived in a world where we didn't need guns. But being queer in America at this point in time, being in a country, being rural, means that there is just a need for self-defense weapons."

"After the fifth or sixth death threat, after we called out that parade, we started to just be like, you know what, we all need to be a little bit more forward facing with our firearms. It became self-evident that we would need to defend ourselves at some point."

“We started getting warnings from people in town with friends or links to the more extremist elements in this area of Colorado.”

(Jordan Hedberg, Publisher & Owner of Wet Mountain Tribune) “It’s not very many people, it’s probably less than 50, maybe even 40, but they’re almost always the source of tension around here, but they somehow decided to focus in on the Unicorn Ranch.”

(Penny Logue) "We caught people trying to come onto the property. Me and J were on patrol, and that was that was very scary. Put a general call out for help through some networks that we’d established over the summer. Through them, they sent a very highly trained guard and he started doing an armed patrol. And that night he caught people trying to come on to the property at the gate, and then later that morning, he actually caught two armed men coming toward the house.”

"To kind of have to, like, be ahead of violent scenarios in your home all the time is, is taxing. You know, it's not fear, it's just that, like, there's a responsibility to each other to keep ourselves safe. We're a haven, and so there's vulnerable people here and bigots know that and so they target that. And so you have to create a wall. You have to create a defense of some kind, which we've done and we've done well and I think that we're safe, as safe as anybody can be. But it takes from you."

(Bonnie Nelson) "I got here and I experienced a love and acceptance that I never did before. I experienced people who had my back in a way I never did before. They filled my heart in a way I didn’t know I needed. I had family, true family for the first time.”

“The people here mean more to me than anyone else I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

“To see people be able to let go of all the difficult things, and have a moment where they don’t need to worry so much about being depressed or having anxiety and just live, it makes every bit of difficulties that we have to face every time that we have to prove just how tenacious we are, that’s what it’s all for, it’s to give people that freedom.”

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