Often when I hear people share their coming out stories, one of the first things they say is that they thought they were alone. For many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, our introduction into self-awareness is accompanied by a profound sense of isolation.
The antidote to that sense of isolation, without exception, comes in the form of community. Through our history, we have found one another through bookstores, newsletters, bars, bath-houses, political organizations and social clubs. We have faced arrest, we have risked losing our jobs, we have been subject to violence and abuse – but we have always managed to find one another. There was always someone braver, someone who had been there before, someone waiting there to welcome us home.
Historically speaking, in our community more than most, finding a mentor has been a matter of life and death. These days, at least in this country, LGBT people are free to live more and more openly. More of us are able to be ourselves both at home, and at work. Our urge to find community, though, hasn’t changed.
dot429 creates a structure that allows us to do what we’ve always done – find those that have gone before us and look to them for help. Those of us who are in a position to be mentors, who have found success in the professional world despite persistent prejudice, find real satisfaction in passing on our knowledge and experience. What better way is there to ensure our community continues to grow and thrive? What better way to is there to win the battle for equality?
Creating and compounding success is a direct route to a world in which LGBT people can live, love and thrive – a world our LGBT elders fought for, and one we must continue to work together to build.
Photo Credit: H4NUM4N