What Pride Means to Me: A Love Letter to Equality

What does it mean to be LGBTQ? What does it mean to be in the community? Is there such a thing as ‘not queer enough?’ Is there a certain quota you have to hit be accepted?

What do you do if you feel like you don’t belong to the ‘straight’ or the ‘gay’ crowd? Where do you belong.

This was something I really struggled with. I knew since I was 13 that I wasn’t fully straight. I didn’t know what to really do about it. We had one bisexual student in our tiny town and she was mocked for being an ‘attention whore.’

So, that’s what sexuality became to me. You were straight, gay, or an attention whore. No grey area, no other categories.

I kept to myself. I mentally shamed men and women who proclaimed bisexuality. I had a friend when I first moved to NYC who told me she was bisexual but she had a long term relationship with a man. So, I wrote her off.

My defense mechanism was cold. Everyone needed to fit into the two boxes my upbringing gave me.

This all changed when I met a very special man, Jimmy. He loved me for me, even my grey areas. He told me I was loved and accepted. And through our love, I emerged (slowly). I’m incredibly grateful for his acceptance.

From there I was able to open up to the people closest to me. This led to me starting a new job and telling them from the start who I am. I was like a frog warming up to the water! My close friends didn’t think it was crazy and my new coworkers were “oh okay. Cool.”

Now, I’m the most me that I’ve ever been! I’ve changed so much over my time in NYC. I wish I could go back and erase every hateful thought I’ve had but I can’t. Instead I have to share my journey to accepting others and myself. If you’re reading this and relate, it’s okay. We can change and heal together.

Moral of the story: sexuality is a spectrum and a journey. Life isn’t black and white and people’s emotions certainly are not. Love each other. Accept each other.

-Mikayla Olivia Orrson

Support Your Artist Friends

You’ve probably seen this public service announcement before. Most likely on someone’s Facebook repost. I wanted to take time to say how important it is to support your friend’s dreams.

Most people don’t hesitate to buy reprints of art from Target, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls. But why do that when you can buy unique art that supports your friends?

An average Broadway ticket costs about $120 or more. Guess what? Community theatre costs $20. Think of all the people you actually know that you could support with that money.

Also, the friends you support will remember that. They will feel grateful and when the times come, they will support you too.

Supporting each other is how we build a nurturing community.

Here are some of my amazing friends I support.

Artwork by Alexandra Hartford

I commissioned her to do all the artwork for my website and social media. Check out her whimsical pieces!

Taryn Tanaka wrote this book when we we’re Junior High students! Yes, she wrote a book when we were so young and now she’s got a beautiful collection of stories. Taryn is currently working as a news producer in Baltimore, Maryland. She is incredibly talented.

‘Blonde Amy‘ is an amazing short film by my friend, Genaro Dominguez. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime! Go check it out!

Broghanne Jessamine isn’t just my best friend, she is also my business partner. She is a fantastically talented actor and I highly suggest you see her work.

Linda Garcia is a cocktail queen! She works at a bar called Tooker Alley in Brooklyn but she also does pop-up event throughout the city. She’s got a killer palate and gives the best (and most honest) advice.

The Narcotix, ‘an Afro psychedelic percussive affair.’ I just went to their first show this week to support my friend, Adam. The band blew my mind and gave me chills.

There’s so many others I want to mention but that’s a good start! I plan on doing more posts about supporting small businesses and artistic pursuits. Stay tuned! And please feel free to suggest anyone you’d like me to feature!

Moral of the Story: Support your friend’s dream.

-Mikayla Olivia Orrson