I would have never guessed it'd be like this.
Right now, I'm 31 years old. Just bought my first house with the man of my dreams. We're planning our wedding together, scheduled for next summer. I run a national organization founded by my living hero and travel around the country doing good, and doing it well.
But 13 years ago... I just would never have guessed any of that were possible.
See, 13 years ago, I was a closeted kid growing up in a small town in Grand Forks, North Dakota. All I knew was that I wanted to get out of there so badly, just leave, escape. The homophobia I'd see everyday helped keep me in the closet. I look back and wonder if I give North Dakota too bad a name. I wasn't just in a bad place geographically, I was in a bad place emotionally. Because worse than the homophobia that existed in my school and in my home was the self-loathing I felt for myself. I hated myself for being attracted to men; I hated myself for not having the courage to stand up for other people; And I hated myself for not being able to stand up for myself.
I made it. I really made it in life. I did "escape." And I did with the help of some very good friends (both in ND, and after, in college). But why should I have had to feel like that in my own home? I never really asked myself this until I learned out Outright Vermont.
You know that phrase, "It gets better." Well, not to belittle that wonderful project, but it doesn't get better until we make it better. And that's what Outright does.
Outright's whole purpose is to be a provide a safe space for queer youth. These kids need a community, a helping hand when things get rough, an advocate for them. Outright Vermont is a non-profit and they rely on the generosity of Vermonters to keep providing this crucial service. That means these kids rely on your generosity.
I never want another kid to feel like I did. I never want a child to feel like they need to escape their school, or their home. Outright Vermont literally makes that possible. The passion i feel for the people who do this amazing work is deep and visceral and I would do anything for this organiztion.
So, in true Arshad form, I'm doing the most ridiculous over-the-top attention-grabbing stunt I can think of...
I'm PULLING a freakin' FIRETRUCK UP THE STREET. WHAT?
(Now, THAT I didn't see coming 13 years ago)...
In the middle a tight election season, right as I'm buying and remodeling my first house, and planning my dream wedding... This is the thing that is my priority.
Last year, I rasied $3000 in three weeks. I didn't have a lot of time to get my donors together this year, so I'm really counting on you to help right now. Please donate what you can - $50 or $15, $1000 or $100. It all helps.