Growing up I didn’t have or need any friends. The lack of need for friends carried over to my adulthood. I was never part of the ‘LGBT’ community even when I came out, I didn’t feel the need. When I went back to Texas A&M – Texarkana to finish my degree, there was a support group for LGBT and I joined it. Then I graduated and I was alone again. That was fine, I didn’t need anyone. When the shooting at the Pulse in Orlando, Florida occurred, I started searching for ways to connect with the LGBT community.
Even after the Orlando shooting, I was apathetic. I didn’t join in the effort to keep Ordinance M-130 on the books because I lived in Texas and it was someone else’s problem. That’s what I told myself. But it wasn’t true for at least two reasons. First of all, inequality affects everyone and change only happens when the people on the sideline gets involved. The second reason is far more personal. I’m gender queer. The opponents of Ordinance M-130 made it my problem when they made it a transgender bathroom issue. No one should be afraid to use a public bathroom because someone else might take offense to them being there.
When some guy on a Facebook page ‘Equality Texarkana’ proposed a pride picnic for Texarkana, I volunteered. There were some naysayers and to be honest, I wasn’t sure we could pull it off with the limited resources we had. We asked for help and we got the help we needed to make Equality Texarkana’s First Pride Picnic a success.
When I sat down to write I had nothing to say but now I find I have too much to say. It’s taken quite a while to filter through the noise in my head. Truthfully, I find it hard to say what I have said and just as hard to leave some things unspoken.
What does Equality Texarkana mean to me? It means hope. Hope that we can build a better community that everyone can be themselves without fear. It also means a place where you don’t have to be alone anymore.