Eli Rigatuso identifies as a queer, transmasculine Two Spirit of the Menominee Nation. He is an artist, photographer, video producer/director, gifted public speaker, and presenter and considers himself well versed in diverse issues as they relate to gender identity and expression. Rigatuso is easily one of the most compassionate souls you will ever meet. With over 30 years of experience in his field, he’s worked all throughout TV, radio, and digital media while moving the needle toward inclusive spaces.
A gifted public speaker and presenter Eli created Speaking of Happy in 2009 and has hosted a variety of Live Stream events and continues to provide an outlet for folks to share their personal stories. He has also worked with many families in the Omaha area as they navigate the waters of gender related to being transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming.
Rigatuso was recently recognized as one of The Bloc 50 over 50 Community Award recipients, is a graduate of Leadership Omaha Class 42, a 2018 Fellow of New Leaders Council, recipient of the 2019 YP Summit and Heartland Youth Pride Marsha P. Johnson Change Maker Awards.
Rigatuso delivered the keynote address at the Inaugural Council Bluffs/Omaha LGBTQ Workplace Culture Summit in 2019 where he shared his experience of coming out as transgender in the workplace and he was a founding member and served on the board of Heartland Pride, the local 501c3 that produces the annual Pride Parade and Festival in Omaha. He currently serves on the Mayor’s LGBTQ+ Advisory board as well as The Benson Theater and another local newly formed nonprofit that will be announced soon.
Rigatuso was also a 2018-2019 Purple Profiles of Courage ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association of Nebraska sharing his journey with his mom and dementia. In addition, he created and cohosts a virtual talk show called Frankly Speaking focusing on issues as they relate to transgender, and non-binary voices and having frank conversations about their personal experiences! They host a live stream event every Tuesday at 9 pm in the following places www.youtube.com/speakingofhappy, www.facebook.com/speakingofhappy, and www.twitch.tv/speakingofhappy and no matter when you show up you can ask questions via the live chat!