Flashback to 2015, the year the world learned Rachel Dolezal was actually white and the year Caitlyn Jenner transitioned publicly. Since June 2015, when both garnered national headlines, Dolezal says that both their stories have been intertwined.
But Dolezal said in an interview with Salon that "transracial" individuals like herself have struggled more to be accepted than transgender people.
"What's not similar is the stigma right now," Dolezal said. "There was stigma [for being transgender] in the past, for sure, and that still perpetuates. ... But there's more acceptance for gender fluidity than there is for race fluidity right now, and I don't think anybody would deny that," Dolezal said.
Dolezal said that, just as LGBTQ people were once thought of as mentally ill, transracial people will one day become more societally accepted.
"There was a time when we did call transgender, and even gay and bisexual, people crazy — and [said they had] mental health issues and all these clinical terms — just stigmatized and rejected [them]," Dolezail said. "Maybe we will evolve and grow, and racial fluidity will become a thing in 20 years?"
She added, "I do hope that inclusivity does expand to all people of all stripes."
Dolezal added that in the time since her story went viral in 2015, many black and biracial women have reached out to her to say that her story helped them navigate their own fraught racial identities.
"They say, 'I constantly was told I wasn't black enough, and I finally gave in and identified as Latina for my adult life, or let people see me as white and didn't bother correcting them anymore — just lived however people saw me,'" Dolezal said.
Though there has been more visibility for transgender people in recent years, being transgender still comes with extreme social stigma and risk for violence. So far in 2017, eight transgender women of color have been killed.
Dolezal has been on an extensive tour touting her new chock-full tell-all, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World. The activist, who recently changed her name to the Igbo-influenced Nkechi Amare Diallo, also stopped by the New York Times for a bizarre interview in which she said she was told she had a "high-frequency Nubian soul" and was "sent here by the Gods to traumatize white supremacy."