What is “Speaking of Happy”?
Web Documentary Channel
Speaking of Happy is a virtual outlet documenting the amazing stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) people and our community allies! These stories will be part interview, encompassing stories from all walks of life, and part real world as we follow these courageous people in their lives. We will hear from their family and friends about who they are in the community and share with you some of their trials and triumphs!
If you or someone you know has a life story that is inspirational and would help others, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can connect and capture that story to celebrate and share with others.
Listen to our older podcasts which are published on the site to learn about local individuals as well as organizations focusing on LGBTQ+ advocacy in the Omaha Metro area. We will have new podcasts coming in early 2019! You may find older podcasts by clicking on Radio Show above or here.
Eli Rigatuso is an Omaha, Nebraska Native who identifies as a queer Two Spirit, Native American, and transgender man. An artist, photographer, and video producer/director, Rigatuso has more than 25 years of experience in his field. He has owned and operated a video production company since 1995 and has work experience in television, radio, and digital media. Eli is a social media expert and has experience as on-air talent using his voice to help move the needle toward more inclusive spaces!
An outspoken Equal Rights Activist who has served his community in a variety of ways since the mid 90’s Rigatuso was instrumental in raising funds for the Campaign against 416 in early 2000 and help found as well as served on the board of Heartland Pride. Heartland Pride is a local 501c3 nonprofit which hosts The Pride Festival in Omaha and since it’s inception it has operated with a positive budget and has grown year over year.
He is currently working full-time at Bellevue University and spends most of his free time on Speaking of Happy which is a website he created to share the stories of people living in the Midwest who identify as LGBTQ.
Eli hosts a podcast and writes a blog sharing his personal journey as a transgender man navigating his transition both personally and professionally. He is in the process of writing his memoir. Rigatuso is a public speaker and facilitator and loves to help organizations and local businesses create open and affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ people. You can watch some of his Livestream events on our facebook page.
His current artistic venture is working on a project he hopes will challenge our perception of the gender binary. The project consists of a series of self-portraits with only subtle differences that will challenge the viewer’s personal concept of what is male and what is female. He hopes by challenging the concept of the gender binary he will pave a pathway to greater acceptance of the gender spectrum. Eli is determined to make a difference in his community.
Mr. Rigatuso is a highly trained public speaker and facilitator and has done a variety of presentations and workshops with local businesses and organizations interested in creating open and affirming spaces for transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming folks living in the Omaha area. He has presented at College Possible, College of St. Mary’s, Cox Communications, Union Pacific, and Oath (formerly known as Yahoo). Here is what folks are saying about him:
“Eli Rigatuso brought an incredible perspective to the employees at Oath and myself. He’s a natural speaker, who captivates his audience and undoubtedly compels them to understand and empathize with individuals of the LGBTQIA+ community. He spoke passionately on his personal life story, his work in the Omaha community, transgender issues, and rethinking the social constructs of gender. Not many understand the struggles and frustrations of non-binary, transgender, and two-spirit identifying humans, but Eli brought these diverse identities to light in hopes that we can all become more open-minded, knowledgeable, and able to make a positive impact in the lives of LGBTQIA+ folks.” ~Austin Christensen, Creative Solutions Manager, Ad Creative Tech
“Eli brings an authentic voice and courageous spirit to his work and advocacy. He has an uncanny ability to speak to his audience in a way that makes you feel you have known him your entire life. That level of comfort allows people to lean in and open their hearts and minds.” ~Alexis Sherman, Director of Multicultural Initiatives, College of St. Mary’s
“Eli Rigatuso’s training on GLBTQIA issues was simply fantastic. He is such an authentic presenter, who really tried to make each and every person in the training feel safe, while discussing a sensitive topic. Eli helped us to understand what it feels like as a GLBTQIA person through words. I feel that everyone walked away with a greater understanding of what it is like to walk in the shoes of somone who may have a different sexual orientation. I can’t thank him enough for such a thought-provoking presentation.” ~Megan Moslander, Development Officer, College Possible.
“Eli Rigatuso’s presentation and discussion around the topid of Transgender lives was very powertul and important. The topics concerning transgender folks lives can be stressful and uncomfortable at times but Eli did a wonderful job helping people to challenge their preconceived expectations and grow in their knowledge while still feeling comfortable and not guilty. Eli did a great job of helping peole feel comfortable asking questions and not feeling stupid or ignorant.” ~Sinjhen Campbell, Tech-Connected College Coach, College Possible.
“I feel Eli’s presence and educational discussion is a welcome approach to a sometimes stressful topic in any group environment.” ~ Jill M., Mutual of Omaha
Mr. Rigatuso was selected as a 2018 Fellow with the New Leaders Council Omaha and completed their training in May of 2018! Through this experience, he launched his patreon page which is a way for him to find support in the community to fund the work he is doing with Speaking Of Happy given it is a labor of love! Become a patron by clicking here. Rigatuso has also stepped up to be a mentor to one of the new 2019 Class of Fellows with NLC.
2018-2019 Purple Profiles of Courage with the Alzheimer’s Association of Nebraska
And as if all of the above wasn’t enough Mr. Rigatuso was also nominated and selected as a Purple Profiles of Courage Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association of Nebraska. He has been interview numerous times as well as had numerous vignette’s produced about his relationship with his mother who was diagnosed with the disease many years ago. He shares his journey as a caretaker here. He was also highlighted on Chronicles on KETV Channel 7 and you can find that video here.
News & Entertainment Programming (LAUNCHING: Soon)
Along with our mini-documentaries, we’re producing a half-hour news and entertainment show. This show will focus specifically on what is happening within the LGBTQI & Ally community. From community events to political action plus you’ll meet local LGBTQI owned & operated & LGBTQ friendly businesses. There is nothing like it available in Omaha! Speaking of Happy is also publishing an online LGBTQI Magazine. Be sure to check out our advertisers and sponsors because with their help Speaking Of Happy will be a HUGE success!
If you would like to support our efforts please check out our Patreon Page!
you can learn more about what patreon is by watching this video.