Jess is an organizer and event planner with Laramie PrideFest and serves on the board of Wyoming Equality. Jess hopes that folks keep their advocacy like anything else - authentic.
What does it look like, for you, to celebrate Pride?
Pride looks like people coming together. When the city of Laramie issued its Pride proclamation it really hit me. It was wonderful to see the city proclaim Pride month, and in a way, stand with LGBTQ folks in Wyoming. Gestures like proclamations and pride flags displayed around the town can have a powerful impact on a city’s perception.
Since seeing this, I have been drawn to LGBTQ activism in many forms.
How do you plan to use your education?
Right now, I plan to take a gap year to decompress and plan. I would ideally like to use my education and further the work of Wyoming Equality and the Laramie PrideFest. Eventually, I may pursue a master's degree in fine arts in creative writing.
What does LGBTQ activism look like to you?
LGBTQ activism to me has an intersectional lens to it. When advocating for equality in any realm, we must include people of all backgrounds, people of color, and bring their stories to the forefront.
Activism has to be authentic.
Do you think more people should get involved politically? If so, how.
Yes! People should definitely get involved in a way that corresponds to their comfort level. The first step is just to play up your passion and your skillset. For example, I know my skills are more in the event planning and the organizing of people coming together and creating opportunities for more visibility versus legal. So that is where I chose to lend my time.
Volunteering is a great way to not only build a stronger community, but make some friends along the way.
Where do you see opportunities for change in Wyoming?
At times, folks find it difficult to stay in Wyoming. Mostly because they fear some sort of discrimination or lack of growth. I’d love to see more work on creating spaces for young people and LGBTQ people to thrive in our state.