Trey is a content marketing designer from Brandon, S.D. By sharing his story, he hopes that he can empower others to find confidence in their own skin to own their true identity.
What does it look like, for you, to celebrate pride?
Celebrating pride to me is all about the unity that is a part of the LGBTQ community. All of our backgrounds are so diverse and yet we always come together to celebrate love and equality.
What has your experience been like, living as an out-LGBTQ person in South Dakota?
My experience living as an out-LGBTQ person in South Dakota has not been as harsh as it has been for some of my peers. Though I am very comfortable in my own skin, there are definitely times where I feel the need to hold back a little or put myself on “reserve” given the crowd I am surrounded by. Be it we are such a conservative state, it is very easy to stay under the radar when it comes to your sexuality and not be as present as you could be in certain situations. The more you grow in your sexuality you realize that staying under the radar isn’t necessary anymore as you are a beautiful human no matter what your preference and this something to be celebrated and not diminished.
Any advice for folks who are considering coming out, or might have concerns living in South Dakota?
If you are considering coming out, the best advice I could give is do it at your own time. Don’t make it about anyone else but yourself and do it for yourself. You owe yourself the most when it comes to defining your coming out story. If the timing feels rushed or foreign, then it is not the time. You will know when that time is right, and when it comes, you will be the most proud knowing you did it on your terms. As for living in South Dakota and coming out, yes we are a conservative state, but that does not make it an unbearable state. I have learned that the people you think would be the most offended actually can be the quite the opposite. The most unlikely people in South Dakota happen to be the most caring, empathetic people out there. I am not saying everyone in South Dakota is like that, but you would be surprised at the ones who are.
What do you hope to see after sharing your story with us?
I don’t expect to see change overnight from my story as we all know change does not happen quickly in the state of South Dakota. What I do hope to see is someone who is maybe not out, or who is out, take my story and use it for some confidence boosting in whichever stage of life they are in. To take my story and feel like they are not alone and that they may have a long way to go but it is such a beautiful story to tell once you take the first step in that journey.
Do you think people should get more involved politically? If so, why? If not, why?
I think if you feel the need to speak up for an issue, go for it. The more voices united toward one cause, the better. If you are not someone who likes to put yourself out there, speak your truth to someone who is not afraid to share your standpoint in order to get a point across on a political platform. If it is not told through you directly, it can certainly be told through someone else and still have the same effect. Like I said before, no change is going to happen overnight, but it is more likely to happen at a quicker pace with more voices than just one when it comes to politics. If we want to see change happen, especially in the LGBTQ community, we are going to have to speak up for those who have gone before us and who are yet to come who will run into some form of discrimination due to their sexuality. We owe it to them just like we owed it to ourselves.