I arrived in Anchorage in December of 2011, and have become an active member of our community in the arts and as a vocal member of the Alaskan Q community. I’ve met thousands of people and experienced hundreds of events, many of which have been focused around those things that keep my soul growing as I work to improve our community while also learning about what makes Alaska such an amazing place to live and thrive. Most of the work I’ve been so fortunate to fall into has opened my mind and increased the love in my heart for all of us. While I’ve only experienced a small portion of what it means to be an Alaskan, but I have served with all my heart and have provided much effort into celebrating people around me who do great things for our community every day.
When I stepped off the plane on the 13th of December, 2011, I had no idea I would serve as a member of one of the greatest campaigns this state had ever seen, and the most amazing aspect of this campaign was what it stood for and the people from every corner of the state and the nation who supported the efforts we made.
I was going to Dutch Harbor for 3 months; I had gotten my Yellow Card and was making arrangements to head out to sea as a cannery worker, but through some major life turns I hopped from the frying pan and into the fire and learned quickly what it meant to be a member of the LGBTQIA community in the great state of Alaska. I made the decision to leave Oregon and come to Alaska and sold as much as I could to get here so I could make it home by March.
It’s been over a year since April 2012 and since then I have lived here, represented us in Maine on a winning campaign for Marriage Equality, made genuinely amazing friends, played hard and worked even harder and participated in Alaskan life and culture as I wonder how to best serve my community and celebrate the winters and the summers as much as I can in between deadlines and work schedules in an environmentally, sustainable manner. Sometimes the greatest and most challenging aspect of all of this is everyone shares these aspects.
Everyone I know is immersed in community development and achieving success in their fields. I know better to make assumptions based upon lack of knowledge about a member of the community. Most often the people I meet have achieved a level of greatness in parts of their lives that many folks presume as being feats to be unachievable in human life, but perhaps the talents you possess and consider mundane and aloof are skills many will never be able to achieve. There is a great lesson to be learned in underselling one’s abilities.
That is a bit about what Our State Of Pride means to me this year. In being mindful of our friends and neighbors and families this is where we must continue to allow ourselves to shine brighter. This year we have covered ground that was a pipe dream a few years ago. We must continue to love ourselves and our community in every aspect. We must continue to create the groundwork for our futures. We are all responsible for creating the foundation for Alaska’s future. Being here has taught me so much about loving, sharing and working toward goals and doing the right thing and this year’s Alaska Pride Fest Celebration is no different; in fact it is a pinnacle of so much I cherish here in Alaska.