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May 12, 2014 by Guest contributor
Post submitted by Ty Stacey, HRC supporter in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Stay tuned to HRC Blog throughout the month as we continue to highlight some of the heroes of HRC’s Project One America.
My hometown of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, like most of the South, is known for its “big hospitality.” But for those of us living as openly LGBT, it isn’t always the friendliest.
Coming out in a small town at the ripe age of 18 was terrifying. And though I feared hostility, I found love and acceptance in the most unexpected places. While there were some that argued that I made a “choice to be different,” a great many in my community have demonstrated a willingness to accept my identity and join the movement for LGBT equality.
Despite the arduous and continuous journey of coming out, it is our voices and experiences that move us closer to equality. I am open at work with the hope of empowering another to live authentically. I share my stories on panels to help a neighbor feel less alone. And I support HRC's Project One America and the already existing local grassroots organizations working to make equality a reality for LGBT people in the South.
Indeed, Arkansas is a conservative state, but there exists within our backyards the wonderful opportunity for innovative change. We set the example that change is still possible. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the South, but we are moving forward.
We may move at the pace of molasses, but Arkansas remains a great place to invest in if you want to work hard for change and see your dreams materialize. To join the driving force for equality, add your voice in support for HRC Arkansas.
For more on HRC’s comprehensive, multi-year campaign to dramatically expand LGBT equality in the South, visit http://www.projectoneamerica.org
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