I don't know about you, but I knew I was different at a very young age. I can remember coming to a realization at about 5 or 6 that I was different somehow from most everyone else. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I understood that 'difference' was that I was gay.
I came out really young at 13. And growing up gay in a small farm town in downstate Illinois was not easy. I didn't know anyone else like me and felt very alone most of the time. A lot of my teen years were spent in a dark depression and I contemplated suicide on several occasions. Fortunately nothing really bad ever happened to me, but I can remember getting beat up in the locker room once and being spat at by the high school boys as I walked home from school. Another time I was crossing the street and someone in a truck sped up like they were trying to run me over - I'm not sure if it was a joke or they actually intended to hit me, but it was still scary.
I don't tell you all that to make you feel bad for me. On the contrary, I'm telling you so you know why I celebrate Pride month and why it's so important to me:
I celebrate Pride because it reminds me of all the struggles LGBT+ folks have been through to get where we are today. I celebrate Pride because it helps me remember I'm not alone. I celebrate Pride because it makes me feel affirmed as a gay business owner and as a member of a whole diverse and amazing community of queer folks. Finally, I celebrate Pride because I am fabulous, fearless, and proud to be the person I am today!
Believe it or not, before I started my own business I got my Bachelors degree in Social Work with ambitions of working for community organizations that served the LGBTQ community. But these issues are still very important to me. All this week I'll be donating a portion of sales to the local LGBTQ Center here in South Bend. You can check out their website HERE.
June 14-19: $5 from each rainbow underwear or rainbow logo t-shirt will be donated to the LGBTQ Center. And 100% of the sales of decals and stickers will be donated to the LGBTQ Center. (I'll give you an update later on how much was donated.)
Happy Pride! -From Wes <3