At the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch, trans farmers raise alpaca, patrol for threats

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07/15/2021

WESTCLIFFE, Colorado, July 16 (Reuters) – The ranch hand walks along rocky ground, the beam of her flashlight cutting through the moonlit night. She holds a shotgun loosely at her side during her patrol of an alpaca ranch founded as a haven for transgender and non-binary people. Penny Logue, who grew up on a farm, started the Tenacious Unicorn Ranch in Colorado in 2018. It had been two years since Logue had begun her transition and the U.S. Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, had just declared 2017 the deadliest documented year so far for members of the trans and gender non-conforming community, with 31 people killed. Logue says she saw that many in the LGBTQ community had nowhere to feel safe and struggled to find employment, housing, and peace of mind. “You have people that are brilliant, that just can’t interact with society in a normal way,” Logue says. “They just get shoved down every time they pop their head up and you watch it over and over and over again.” Logue initially rented a ranch in northern Colorado to raise alpacas, whose wool is sold as a prized weaving material. In March 2020 the operation moved just outside the small town of Westcliffe in southern Colorado with 86 alpaca, 20 chickens, 40 ducks, several dogs and cats, and nine people. On the ranch, gender is never assumed. Inhabitants are free to love who they love and be who they are. Rainbow and anti-fascist flags adorn the walls, including one featuring the three arrows of the World War II-era German anti-Nazi, anti-fascist Iron Front. “I got here and I experienced a love and acceptance that I never did before,” says ranch co-owner Bonnie Nelson. “I had true family for the first time.”

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