Visibili-T: Haize, She/Her/Hers

Visibili-T is dedicated to transgender members of our community in Central Florida and Tampa Bay, some you know and many you don’t. It is designed to amplify their voices and detail their experiences in life.

In this issue, we check in with Haize, a 23-year-old Casselberry resident, musician and performer. When Haize is not attending or performing at her friends’ raves, she’s organizing her own at the Castle Smoke Shop.

“It feels like I’m in my pure divine form like I’m closest to God and my ancestors when I’m performing,” Haize says. “That’s when I feel 100% like I belong. There’s nothing anyone can say to me, and there is nothing anyone can do to me. I’m 100% in my purpose doing what I need to be doing.”

Nothing gives Haize a greater connection with her identity than her music. She released her first EP, “222,” on Feb. 22, 2023. Haize’s music explores several topics, including love, commitment, loyalty and passion. One of her first songs,“F0RB!DDEN” explores the idea of forbidden love, something many LGBTQ+ people face when it comes to their relationships.

“What I’m noticing for me is working right now in my songwriting process is the better I understand myself, the better I understand what I feel like writing about and how I want to write about it.” Haize says, regarding her music journey.

She started her music career performing in small kava bars until she worked her way up to performing in local venues like Will’s Pub.

That’s when she found Techniculture, a group of underground LGBTQ+ creatives and DJs dedicated to fostering rave culture in Orlando. They host pop-up raves in tucked-away locations with several different DJ sets and artist vendors.

Techniculture focuses on uplifting BIPOC LGBTQ+ people at their events, offering discounted rates of admissions for Black queer and trans attendees. Don Noel, the founder of Techniculture, states in an Instagram post about Techniculture’s mission that they are ”launching a recurring event to highlight local Black and queer creatives but also a much-needed safe space.”

This safe space has helped shape Haize’s Identity as she better understands herself. Her haunting sound earned her the nickname Siren amongst her peers in the “Techniculture collective,” as she calls them.

“The way that I performed at my shows, people just started calling me that,” Haize says. “In the last year, embracing who I am as a trans woman and feeling comfortable with my identity and how I present, that’s only happened from that love.”

Techniculture isn’t the only space Haize calls her own. Her other frequent spot is the Castle Smoke Shop, which Haize started working at this past August. Once she started there, Haize saw that the shop was missing out on a potential market.

“Once I got the smoke shop job, I started reaching back to connections I made because I’m not getting customers in here!”
Haize became an events coordinator and creative director, using the shop space as a community hub to draw in more customers. She says she simply “listens to what a lot of people ask for around the store.” Haize making the atmosphere more lounge-like is something her coworkers agree is fantastic for business, and now they also try to help her achieve it. They host regular open mic nights and raves at the smoke shop, all thanks to Haize.

She also hosts and performs at benefit raves for fellow creatives facing displacement or needing medical assistance with her fellow creatives in Techniculture.

According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, 17% of LGBTQ+ people were living in poverty in 2021. That percentage increases to 25% for BIPOC LQBTQ+ people. Haize wants to help where she can within her community.

“It’s awesome to me to be in this position that I’m in now, and I’m able to turn around and have a space that I can provide for the same people who helped me have stepped up,” she says.

However, Haize does not do the raves or music for praise.

“I feel like my definition of visibility is definitely going to change over time. Just because we all grow, we all change,” she says. “Me throwing the raves was never something I expected to have this conversation be a result of doing that. It’s never been about attention. I’m just doing what comes naturally to me. Even with the music, it’s not my pursuit to be this pop star on a raging stage. It’s because the music is what’s in me.”

You can find Haize on Instagram at @houseofhaize and her EP, “222,” is available on Apple Music and Spotify. You can also catch her at the Castle Smoke Shop in Casselberry.

Interested in being featured in Visibili-T? Email Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Williams in Central Florida or Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent in Tampa Bay.

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