...To Be A DJ and a Queer Person of Color
 CaSera Heining, who now DJs under the moniker, DJ Ca$H Era, is making a name for herself in DJ and radio.

CaSera Heining, who now DJs under the moniker, DJ Ca$H Era, is making a name for herself in DJ and radio.

To be a Woman in America is one thing. To be Black in America is one thing. To be Gay in America is one thing. To be all 3 is….


I can honestly admit that for the majority of my life I have been ignorant. I’m a mixed individual that was born in Chicago but raised in the South Suburbs my entire life. I’m mixed, not to say that I have a complex about it, but it’s relevant to me in terms of my background. But I look Black, not to say that as a negative, but when people look at me, all they see is Black. And that’s ok. 
I came out of the closet when I was a freshman in High School. Well, not really like it was a big surprise or anything, I’ve never been attracted to males, so it was more so just me reaffirming what most thoughts was already true. I went to a very accepting school, and being gay was widely accepted. I feel as though I was ridiculed more for being Mixed, compared to being a lesbian.


To live in a generation where everyone tries to be “woke” is overwhelming at times. I have to face the facts that women make less than men, and that irks more than anyone will ever know. Whatever any man can do, trust that I can do better. Not to mention the many other “issues” and “downsides” that women face in the world. 


Black Lives Matter has hit me nonstop, after seeing countless POC pass on at the hands of other people, not just cops, but people in general. This hurts, even more, when I see young POC committing the crimes and shooting innocent people. I know there will forever be gangs, but in the 90s, gangs had rules. These new age gangs seem to have one rule: Kill or Be Killed. 
I was able to deal with these two issues. Always stay strong and never back down from any man. And I thought that as long as I stayed out of trouble and tried to not go near the “wrong side of town” that I would be safe.


But now Pulse. Orlando. I have never been afraid of being gay. I’ve always held my head up high and if anybody was homophobic, I was never afraid. I would typically be extra petty and do something to piss you off even more. Oh, you don’t like gay people? Let me hold my girlfriend’s hand and kiss her cheek as we walk past. 


That has all changed now. My heart dropped as soon as I read the headline on the television “50 dead in a mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando”. The thoughts that shot through the mind were abundant. “49 dead”, 49 people that went out for a good time and will never make it home. That’s 49 souls that were a part of the LGBTQ community in some way, shape, or form. 49 people, that’s 49 families and countless friends that never got to say goodbye.


“Mass shooting” so one person built up that much hate to shoot all of these people at one time. How? Why? For what? Why there? Why now? It’s Pride Month, why does it have to occur during OUR time to be proud. Why?


“Nightclub”. As a DJ, this made me sick. There is a “gunshot” sound effect that plenty of DJ’s use during a set, I’ll admit that I’ve even used this sound effect before. I can almost guarantee that patrons in Pulse had mistaken some of those gunshots for a sound effect and ignored it. I hate that sound effect, I deleted the gunshot sound. I can’t use it. I just can’t.


My mind is lost. My heart is heavy. When the bill passed that allowed Same Sex Marriage, it felt like a major step in the right directions. This mass shooting is a major slap in the face. I feel lost. I’m not scared, just cautious. Will something happen at Chicago’s Pride Parade? Will something happen in one of the gay clubs or bars? I’m going to be 21 this year - A birthday that is typically highly anticipated. But what does it mean now? Does it mean that if I attend the wrong Gay Bar, that I’ll be a target automatically? If my friends go with me, will become a target too?


In the days following the Orlando Shooting, I had to discuss countless times what I would do if I was in that predicament. Would I hide? Where would I hide? Do I run? Do I stand by the exits at all times? Make sure I park my car somewhere nearby just in case I need to quickly leave? How about my friends? If we get split up, do I look for them? Do I leave them? What do I do? 
The shooting in Orlando has assured me that maybe I’m not as safe as I once thought I was. I’m a Woman. I’m Black. I’m Gay. I’m Proud. I’m not Scared. I’m Fearless. I’m Cautious. I’m Pulse.