LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Cei Loofe
Cei Loofe, LGBTQ+ advocate and poet, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on January 19, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. Loofe shared information about growing up throughout small towns in Nebraska, his transgender identity as a child, experiencing rejection from the lesbian community, his sobriety, developing epilepsy, his medical transition and involvement in slam poetry and Buddhism.
Cei Loofe, born in Lincoln, Nebraska, is a white, queer, trans man, poet, and LGBTQ+ advocate. Loofe earned an Associates in Communication and K-12 Education from Iowa Western Community College (1998), and has held many different professional roles, including owning a bookstore, working with adults with cognitive disabilities, and writing for the Fremont Tribune. Loofe spends his time involved with organizations such as Words Save Lives, Sacred Circles, was formerly a Heartland Pride board member (2012), is an ordained minister with Inclusive Life Ministries, and is the Men's Midtown District Leader for the Soka Gakkai International Nichiren Buddhism network. Loofe was a recipient of the Spirit Award in 2017 for his community activism, and represented Lincoln at the 2008 National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin.
Cei Loofe, LGBTQ+ advocate and poet, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on January 19, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. Loofe was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to a working-class family and grew up with one sister, Leane. His parents struggled to make ends meet and pay bills, and they often moved throughout Nebraska small towns. Loofe's mother's mental health and struggle with lupus worsened over time, leading to her suicide at age 52. As a child, Loofe was aware of his trans identity and was "one of the other boys." When he compared himself to his male friends, he thought he just hadn't developed yet. Devastated by being forced to wear a catholic girls' uniform, he was spanked often at home for rebelling. In high school, Loofe was gifted and active in many extracurricular activities, such as drama and forensics, but struggled with abusing drugs and alcohol.
Loofe attempted, at various ages, to come out as trans to his friends, but was laughed off and rejected each time. As part of the lesbian community, Loofe's lesbian friends believed if he transitioned, he would be "betraying" his womanhood. Eventually, Loofe became sober and stopped communication with friends who would not accept him. In 2004, he was involved in a car accident, suffered a brain injury and developed debilitating epilepsy. After reaching a breaking point, Loofe came out as transgender in 2014 and began his medical transition, which led to the dissolution of his marriage. Currently, Loofe spends his time volunteering as the Men's Midtown District Leader for the Soka Gakkai International Nichiren Buddhism network and performing at slam poetry events.
Trigger warning for sexual abuse, suicide.