November 30, 2022

RSJ Spotlight: Nanette Cloud

Racial & Social Justice Partner Spotlight Series

Each month, our Equity Coordinator, Lara, sits down with an organization or individual in our community to spotlight the work they do to create real and lasting change for a more equitable Spokane.


2 minute read

content warning: abuse, death, trauma


November Spotlight

Nanette Cloud

Nanette grew up in an artistic household and hasn’t looked back since publishing her first zine, Dust, in 2017. She’s published at least one zine per year and has multiple projects in the works; her newest includes collecting submissions for INW Tranzine, a publication to celebrate the creative works of trans artists in the Inland Northwest and helping manage Quail House, a tiny art co-operative organization made up of all trans artists.

Writing and illustrating zines is a longer process, sometimes months long. A lot of Nanette’s ideas come from her sketchbook, where she can build upon them, keeping in mind not to let projects get too large or unmanageable. The one exception is Skeletons in the Closet, a webcomic she’s been chipping away at since 2016, which she describes as a queer horror-surrealist drama comic. It’s about 100 pages so far and deals with death, guilt, shame, and bad choices. She says this webcomic has been a way of processing the guilt of having been abused as a child and exploring the complications included in cycles of abuse. “I’ve since been trying to be a little bit more open about that part of my history. A lot of (Skeletons in the Closet) was me trying to process those feelings of guilt. The conundrum of Skeletons is that the main character has been manipulated into doing this terrible thing, so how much culpability does he really have as a person who’s done terrible things?”Image of woman wearing wide-brimmed hat and scarf with hands on hips, with quote that reads, "I don't want to work under an alias. I think it's very important to be authentic and visibly a trans person, living and working and doing cool things in the world."

An aspect of her transition has been a part of her art and is more reflected in her zines, Just Desert and Hanahaki Blossoms. “I think zines are so important as a medium. They’re so empowering,” states Nanette. “Trauma kind of becomes a major part of your life, but you can find power in it, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do with my creativity.”

When she’s not creating zines, she’s teaching art to young kids. She started Spark Central’s Drop In & Draw program at the age of 17 and credits being able to volunteer and work there as being a really important time in her life. “I highly recommend to anyone who likes working with people and is an artist to run art classes and community events.” After leaving Spark Central and taking a break, she got back into teaching art and is now the arts manager at Songbird Music & Arts. To her, teaching and sharing creative spaces with youth, especially queer youth, is incredibly fulfilling. As a homeschooler who grew up severely isolated in a religious household, Nanette sees the importance of being in community with queer youth and showing that visibility to younger generations. “Part of why I teach is because I know young me would’ve benefited a lot from having a secular creative space they could go to and interact with a queer role-model type person. That’s a big part of why this work is important to me. You want to be the change that you make in the world, right? So many of the challenges in my life came from that childhood trauma and that isolation and growing up in the church as a queer person who didn’t realize it and accept it until they were an adult,” she explains.

In between projects and teaching, Nanette also finds time to collaborate with other LGBTQIA2S+ organizations such as Spectrum Center Spokane to provide even more community youth programs and support, especially to trans youth. “Trans kids are precious and I’m excited to do arts programming focused on serving them and helping them develop their creative confidence and manifesting their power as people.”

Important links:

Nanette Cloud Website

INW Tranzine


YWCA Spokane’s Racial & Social Justice Committee

Our vision is to strive to be a consistently accurate resource for information on racial, ethnic, and cultural awareness to promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity in employment, in business practices, and in the care and services provided throughout the communities we serve.  For 2022, the RSJ Committee is focusing on

  • Community Partnerships
    • Enhance outreach efforts to community partners and liaisons to share ideas, support each other with action, and solidify connections. View the list of our RSJ Partners.
  • Events
    • Develop and host or co-host events to connect various groups of community members to share and understand each other’s stories. Events include movie nights, Stand Against Racism, equity & growth Challenge, and Transformations Camp for youth.
  • Education & Training
    • Provide training to YWCA staff, board of directors, mission partners and the community to allow awareness of subconscious thoughts or attitudes that affect our perceptions about people, the decisions we make, and the impact on our community.

Join the conversation with our Facebook Group and learn more about our RSJ Committee here.

CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS SPOTLIGHTS

If you or someone you know should have their advocacy work highlighted through our RSJ Spotlight series, please email our equity coordinator, larae@ywcaspokane.org.

By: Lara Estaris

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