During my childhood, my moms had a bumper sticker on their car that read: “We Are Everywhere” that regularly mortified me. I was desperately trying to hide the fact that I had lesbian moms—and that sticker was not doing me any favors.
Growing up in a town of 500 in 1980s Vermont, I learned early on that difference of any sort was not to be celebrated. My lived experience every day at school felt more like “Queer People Are Nowhere to Be Found.”
So, for ten years as a kid, I lied to everyone about who my parents were, calling them sisters or friends. I conducted my own version of “straightening up” our home before my friends visited—taking rainbow magnets off the fridge, turning around the spines of books with tell-tale titles like Stone Butch Blues and Sister Outsider, and hiding the sculptures of women displayed around our home in the closet. These actions were so many metaphors come to life.
It was not until we moved to a Boston suburb and I entered high school that something dramatically changed: I saw a student wearing a pink triangle pin on her bag in the hallway. This seemingly small sign helped me realize that there was an LGBTQ+ and allied community, and that I didn’t have to hide my parents’ queerness—or my own.
I joined our school Gay-Straight Alliance, started speaking openly about my family, and started to come to terms with my own queer identity. My dedication to this community—my community—grew. And since then, I haven’t looked back.
The LGBTQ+ community is home for me. I distanced myself from it for years, but now I cannot imagine anything more important than creating places where we all can be ourselves and all have opportunities to thrive, whether we live in a rural town of 500 or in major metropolitan center.
Whether you give $10 or $10,000, every donation matters. I hope that you will make a gift to Pride Foundation during GiveBIG—and you can do so now by scheduling your donation online!
Thank you for your commitment and your support. Together we are creating a brighter future for everyone in our community.
Because, truly: we are everywhere.
Alli Auldridge is Pride Foundation’s Director of Community Engagement.