As a leader in a youth-facing organization focused on identity building and gender empowerment, I have had the pleasure of supporting many young folks in their coming out process. In July 2019 I was running my very first Rock Camp held at the Rhode Island Philharmonic for ages 11-14. It was my first year running the program, and I was a bit on edge. At our end-of-day instructor meeting, I remember announcing: “is there anything urgent that we need to address?”. Usually, that question goes unanswered, and we move on with the meeting, but on this day, one of the instructors cleared their throat and said “okay….so we have a graffiti problem”. I was completely horrified–I was so sure that the kids were bullying each other on the bathroom walls, like they had done in my high school so many years before, writing derogatory words and slurs like they were going out of style. But no. Not this time. What did the student write on the wall you ask?
In this little act of rebellion, we saw a student feel comfortable enough to admit to themselves, and anonymously to the world, that they identified as bisexual. Strangely, it is still one of the most wonderful memories I have of starting my career working with queer youth in Providence. I came out as Bi when I was 20 years old, and trans when I was 24. This experience always makes me wonder what it might have been like to have a program like RIOT RI when I was that age.
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How do you identify within the LGBTQIA+ community?
What is your association with the City of Providence or State of RI?
Born and raised, current Co-Executive Director of RIOT RI, an non-profit organization that empowers girls, trans, and non-binary youth and adults through music