Last evening I had the true honor and privilege of being on board one of our Navy Ships that was in port for a few days. To honor the event, there was a reception for City dignitaries. I was invited as one of the representatives of our city PRIDE organization. And it didn’t hurt that the commanding officer is a friend of mine. Ha ha. Given that I am not a “city dignitary” I was so fortunate to be invited and on board.

I met a few friends on board and made a few new ones as well. The officers and crew did an amazing job of making us all feel so welcome. And to top it of, if was a gorgeous evening and the food was amazing! The one bonus is that I was able to have a really great conversation with our Mayor regarding the past support of PRIDE events by the city and we chatted on how we can keep that going moving forward. He is an amazing supporter, so it was actually an easy conversation.

But for me it was an important one to have. The mayor knows me from another initiative that I am involved with on behalf of my organization in working with the city. This was different. This time I had to “out myself” somewhat in that it would have been the first time he would have known of my affiliation with PRIDE and my community. I had to do it. No, check that. I wanted to do it, to start to build that relationship from that perspective as well. It’s important to me. This is my city too. I love it and I want it to be the best it can be. Working with PRIDE and the LGBTQ+ is absolutely critical to this being a truly awesome city, for everyone.

For me, it was also a moment when I realized that I am part of something bigger now. Not just me doing my own little thing. Sure, it might be helpful, who knows. But I know that building positive relationships with all stakeholders is necessary to grow, build, and make our community great. I am only a very very tiny little cog in that apparatus, but nonetheless, I am a part. And that really feels good. The other bonus is that my network is rapidly expanding. I am meeting new people really often. Really neat people. And that’s what makes it fun and easy to do. Even when there are tough decisions and difficult conversations. So far, we are getting stuff done. But it might be early days and maybe it’s me just being really naive. It is helping me get grounded, with the community and to a certain degree with who I am as well.

Last night made me realize that I am “fully on board”….if you will pardon the pun.

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