I’m stepping OUT… can you believe!?
But seriously, who could have ever imagined that what I started in 2011 as a way for me to be more comfortable working out and meet more gays to sweat with in NYC would have ever grown into this amazing international organization making change, advocating for more, and impacting thousands and thousands of lives??
That’s why, with a heavy heart, I’m announcing today that I’m departing The OUT Foundation to focus on law school and what comes next…
I’m confident that I leave OUT in the hands of capable and caring people. This has been one of the most important chapters in my life, one that I will forever be proud of…so this definitely is not a goodbye. I am going to continue advocating for ALL OF US in every space and in every way that I can.
So what’s next for me? Well, as some of you may know, I am a student at Fordham Law. I wanted to expand my knowledge base to do more. I am inspired by these two questions: “where do I want to be, and how can I impact more lives in a meaningful way?” These questions led me here and as a Law Clerk for the prestigious international law firm Clifford Chance.
In this next chapter, I hope to help bring about change in ways that I don’t even know yet—like helping make policy decisions that will affect the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals. Using both my non-profit and legal experience, my goal is to become a practicing attorney who will dedicate a chunk of my time to pro bono work with communities and organizations that need legal help but can’t afford it. I want to be a catalyst in helping to nurture budding non-profit and civic organizations so they can grow and excel; just like The OUT Foundation.
For over a decade, I have been in the trenches doing this work, and I want to leave you all with some lessons I’ve learned:
- You don’t have to be an expert to be an advocate. We should always learn and grow. Building a non-profit was never in my five-year plan; empathy brought me here. Empathy has enabled me to acknowledge that my experiences will differ from others, so listening and learning will always make you better and do better.
- Lead with kindness. Passion will lead you to a cause, but kindness will align a community with you.
- Stay aware. We must always be mindful of what is happening in the world around us to meet and address the challenges we face. Staying up on the news and policies at the local, city, state, country and world levels is vital to leading a community to change. If you don’t know what’s happening, how will you be able to activate intelligently and timely?
- Have the courage to advocate for yourself. The worst thing someone can say is no. If you don’t advocate for yourself, you will not get your needs or wants met. Be confident and have courage; you are worthy.
- Remember the history. If you don’t know how you won the rights, you will lose the rights. History teaches us and instructs the future, so always be aware of the past and the people who unapologetically paved the way. Honor them and continue the legacy.
My departure from OUT is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. I love this little queer organization and everyone involved in it. I will miss it every day, but I am excited to see where it goes.
But enough about me – thank YOU! All of you. Each and every one of you who took a chance on me, helped me organize our crazy queer workouts, infiltrate spaces that weren’t always comfortable for us, advocate for support from big brands, and even fight with CrossFit from time to time… To the gym owners, families, friends, and partners that I’ve met along the way, for the high fives and hugs and “one more rep!” we used to welcome each other into fitness spaces and cheer each other on – I could have never done any of this without all of your love, support, and sweat. I will cherish you and those memories always.
As we look back on another Pride Month and are faced with renewed attacks on our community and our rights, please stick together and always remember that it’s okay to be who you are. As I’ve always said and will continue to say – we see you, we love you, and we’re here for you – inside the gym and out.