During my senior year, I happened on a group that embodied what a caring and supportive community could be. I joined a theater group that was outside of my high school and based in Toledo that welcomed me without question or reservation. These people were all individuals with distinctive points of view, yet their uniqueness was what brought them together. They were all looking for a place where they could be themselves and not be judged.
As someone who didn’t really fit in anywhere, it was amazing to see people with such diverse interests working toward a common goal and accepting each other for who they were. It didn’t matter to anyone involved how popular someone was or wasn’t, how rich or how poor they were or what their interests were outside of the group. Going to rehearsal to work on the show and support each other was all that mattered.
Through this group I realized I mattered and it was OK to like the things I liked and just be myself. This group of misfits showed me I wasn’t alone in the world; there were other quirky people out there who may not share my interests or thoughts, but they respected my right to have them. They raised me up and helped me be proud to be different.
A few years later, I moved to Columbus to find something new, something more exciting. It was the best decision of my life.
In our little “cow town,” I found a much larger, vibrant community of people who were different like I was.
Our amazing community gave me the opportunity to become the first woman president of the local Stonewall Democrats chapter and it afforded me the chance to be a board member of Stonewall Columbus before I was 25. I have been fortunate to be part of more than one team of the Columbus Stompers to win international dance competitions and to dance on stage with some of the best drag talent in the country.
Quorum Columbus is the most recent opportunity to be presented to me. My goal is to give back to the community I love by discussing the things that make us individuals and how these things relate to all of us. I will bring my often irreverent, usually quirky, sometimes nerdy point of view to this column as I explore how our unique characteristics strengthen us as a community.