Living for the Apocalypse



 From gas masks to tilapia ponds, the families on Sunday August 28’s TLC one-hour special, Livin’ for the Apocalypse offer a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to prepare for the end of civilization as we know it. With headlines touting the world's latest natural disasters, cultural doomsday predictions, and economic collapses, it’s no surprise some families are preparing for the worst. But, a nice bonus: a transgender woman, Jackie, and her friend Gidget are part of the family survivalists profiled on the series. Jackie (who chose not to disclose her last name) talks to the Advocate about growing up poor, planning for the worst, and exposing herself to TV critics.

You’re a believer in self-sufficiency. How did you get to that philosophy?

I came from a very poor family. We mostly lived on farms. We survived on what my dad could grow and raise, and what my momma canned and dried. I can remember many weeks of eating only beans and we were glad to have that to eat. I remember that at the age 10, my younger brother and I had to be the horse and pull the plow so my dad could get his crops in. We all worked in the fields and the garden. It was a hard life but we learned the value of work ethic. I moved out and was on my own at the age of fourteen and got my own job and place to live. I have worked and been on my own ever since.

How much did growing up in the ‘80s during the nuclear fear affect your feelings about being prepared for the worst?
I wasn't really concerned about anything nuclear at that time, but I was in the Navy and our submarine had nuclear warheads.

How is your home and family able to survive an apocalypse?
We have enough dried foods — not pre-packaged, dehydrated yucky things — for two people to survive for two years. We also have a thousand gallons of water, but we really need another thousand gallons. Gidget has two grown children and her elderly mother to care for, so the food will be divided between all of us. We hope to be able to get enough fuel to cook with and wood to heat with. As far as anything nuclear, we don't have the finances and supplies for bunkers and supplies. Gidget and I are also in bad physical health, so we both feel that we are too old to help rebuild the country.

Tags: television