I grew up in rural North Carolina, where my closest neighbors were chicken houses and school was a 40-minute bus ride away.
It was the 1980s, and not an easy time or place to be a gay kid.
At the age of 14, my mother left me behind to fend for myself. In that instant, everything changed. I moved 2,800 miles away to California, and was homeless on the streets of Sacramento. Eventually, through determination and support from others, I found work at a nearby community organization, finished my GED at 24, and have been working in the nonprofit world ever since.
Looking back, as I often do, it is clear how things have improved for me, especially since moving to Seattle. I remind myself that I am the exception, not the rule—because of who was there for me when I needed them most.
The reality is that the progress we have made as a community the past several years has not translated into a better life for everyone, or in every part of our region. As I reflect on my path, and all of the ways it could have turned out differently for me, it is important to me that complacency not set in and that I not stand on the sidelines at such a watershed moment. I contacted Pride Foundation as soon as I landed in Seattle because of their focus on LGBTQ equality in our communities.
Pride Foundation’s work is as important as ever, and that is why today, I want to challenge you, my fellow Pride Foundation supporters, to join me. I am announcing a match of every gift in response to my story if you act by March 31—up to $10,000.
Now is the time to invest in a better world, one where the humanity of every single person is recognized, protected, and valued. I hope you will join me.
Steve Alexander, Pride Foundation Supporter since 2016.