A 99-year-old trans war vet is raising $1 million to make dreams come true for queer seniors and maybe the world isn’t completely cursed
Robina Asti, a 99-year-old trans woman, is raising money to “grant the wishes” of her fellow queer seniors and the word “wholesome” doesn’t even get close to how pure this is.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to raze ordinary life, Robina Asti is doing all she can to spread hope and joy — working to make dreams come true for elderly and homeless folks discriminated on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Asti has launched the Cloud Danders Foundation with the aim of raising $1million this year to help, the group’s fundraiser states, “the ageing and LGBTQ” as well as “homeless youth”.
Robina Asti has her own incredible life story.
Asti’s biography is one of triumph over the odds. She’s a World War II veteran. A tireless trans pioneer. A flight instructor. And the founder of an LGBT+ outreach group.
In 2019, Asti jumped out a cockpit with her fellow flight instructor Kate Kearny to fly over the Hudson Valley, as part of her attempt to secure a Guinness World Record for being the oldest, active, female-certified flight instructor and pilot.
After losing her husband, Norwood Patton, in 2012, she fought against the Social Security Administration — and won. The agency denied her widow welfare because she was not legally a woman, but she won the right to be recognised as a trans woman.
She also sees herself as a “little jerk”.
“Being 99 is just a number,” she told InsideEdition.com. “It’s a number that means 100 years ago, in 1921, some little jerk was born. And that’s me.”
“I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is see out the window that it’s daylight, and I think: Hey, I survived the night. Isn’t that great? I got a day to look forward to.
“I don’t care what happened, I’m going to enjoy this day,” she added.
“In other words, I’ve already made me feel good.”
‘As an old person in New York City, I realise how invisible I am.’
Asti’s courageous spirit is often at odds with how “invisible” she feels in the skyscraper canyons of New York City.
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The Upper East Side resident said: “As an old person in New York City, I realise how invisible I am.
“The acknowledgement of me as me is lost. Nobody cares. I have a feeling of not being seen, and it’s very hard to take.”
In founding the Cloud Dancers Foundation – named after her time flying planes for the Navy during the war – Asti aims to help “grant wishes” for other pensioners, homeless individuals and LGBT+ people. She hopes to do this by promoting community outreach and education.
“You sit in an airplane, the next thing you want to do is fly it and feel it, it’s so strong,” she said.
“That’s where the name comes from — my personal experience and passion for flying airplanes.”
While the coronavirus may have grounded her – she is currently living with her daughter, Coca, in California – Asti plans to be back in the air come as soon as lockdown is lifted.
“I’m so lucky, I am still qualified to teach flying,” Asti said.
“I will be 101 when I have to do it again. Maybe then I’ll retire. Maybe. I’ll see how I feel.”