Interview of Shelby Chestnut

Shelby Chestnut describes their childhood and adolescence between Montana and Minnesota, discussing friendships and family, bullying and acceptance, mixed-race (Native American and white) identity, queer identity, and learning disabilities. After two sudden deaths of loved ones, Shelby left for college in Ohio, spent a year in Seattle, moved back to live with her family in Montana, checked into rehab, and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico before eventually moving to Crown Heights in New York City and beginning anti-violence organizing with the LGBT community. Their narrative includes discussions of small towns and big cities, addiction and recovery, race and intergenerational trauma, arts, and finding and building community.

Date of Interview:

May 14, 2017

Location of Interview:

Brooklyn, New York

Place of birth:

Shelby, Montana



Interviewed by

Nadia Awad

Summary by

Jourdan Sayers