“I am very hopeful”

DSC00997-1“What I would want to tell others is that it’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to be yourself and to accept who you are. Whenever. Wherever. Sometimes it’s hard to face that void alone especially if you lose your friends, family, job, house, for being who you are- but it’s always going to get better. And the void is going to get scary and overwhelming, but you have to remember that you’re here for a purpose, you’re here to be yourself. If loving yourself is hard- then take baby steps. Think ‘Today I really like my hair’, ‘Today I really like the shirt that I’m wearing’. And eventually it will become ‘Today I really like my body despite having to wear certain things to look a certain way’ and then eventually you will just be able to say ‘I like myself’”

“I am incredibly proud to be a part of the LGBT community because of the constant struggles that we all face on a daily basis just being ourselves. And as a trans individual, going outside into the public is actually very challenging in a red state like Arizona. But the community itself is incredibly supportive. We love to celebrate ourselves. Something that I think we can improve on is talking about race issues in the community. It’s something that no one likes to talk about. It’s incredibly awkward and uncomfortable- but with recent events that have happened- for example at the Pride Festival we had people demanding that people of color be recognized at the festival and Pride ignored us. That is a huge thing that we could work on. But I am very hopeful- there is not a huge pushback, there just aren’t people who want to talk about it. I would love to lead that discussion and start the conversation. We are a community and there is no reason to be separated within ourselves.”

“My advice would be to go out and make some new friends. I have an anxiety disorder and I am panicky most of the time, but as soon as I stepped out of that comfort zone and went to an event, I made a friend. And then eventually I became part of the event coordinating process and from there I learned about all of the resources that they had. Unfortunately, it is not very advertised that we have these resources and that we have these groups- but we are trying to work on that. But getting out of your comfort zone and asking for help is the number one thing. A lot of people get caught up in the “I’m going to class and going back home”  routine, and college in general is way more than that and I wish more people understood that.”

– Rafael Gabriel Esquer, He/Him/His, Transgender Man


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