Monday, March 27, 2006

Making a Difference

Saturday morning came more quickly than expected, especially since my alarm clock didn't go off, will have to check on that. I was trying to prepare for a big day, so I thought I would get up early to double check that I had everything, instead I woke up 20 minutes before Jim was suppose to pick me up. Running around half dressed throwing things into my duffel bag, a mental check list ran threw my head most important first:
Tuxedo (shirt, pants, and jacket with tails): Check
Bow-tie: Check
Cuff Links: Check
Cumber bun: Check
Hair Gel: Check
Wallet, phone, keys: Check
Books (something to do while oil gets changed): Check
PJ's: Check
Stuffed Animal Puppy: Check
Oh I need black shoes, and I can't wear white socks, shit...shit... ok so the socks don't exactly match but they are both black, so I through them in as well. About this time Jim drove up and I ran out the door, still feeling like I forgot half of my body. Driving down to Ft. Collins I realize it’s only the camera I had forgotten, which is semi-replaceable with a quick stop for a disposable camera.

As we drove into Denver, I didn’t know what to expect from the day, I was nervous and excited, still in awe that I was going to a dinner that could possibly have some very important people at it. We got ready and dressed for the dinner at one of Jim’s friend’s house, me not quite sure how to piece the tuxedo together and feeling uncomfortable, “Would I be too over-dressed, would I be out of place being the only girl in a suit?” Then I remembered that I may be all of those things, but that is ok because I am more comfortable in a suit than what I would be in a dress, and getting dressed up is fun for me. After a little help with the cuff links, and making sure the hair was good to go and the cumber bun was the right side up, we were off, two very handsome people, Jim and I.

We came in the back way to the Tabor Center, and self-parked so we missed seeing Fred Phelps, which I can’t say I was sad about. Walking into the lobby of where we would have dinner and seeing so many bears donated by names I recognized, names that by them donating a bear said yes I am support this foundation, I am supporting anti-hate against the LGBT community, I am pushing for acceptance of diversity throughout society, it honestly floored. I am not sure why it came as a surprise to me that so many support the “good fight”, maybe because this showed me that we really are not alone in that fight. I met people Saturday night that in my mind were the for-runners and leaders of our social movement, people to be in awe of, but Jim leaned over and said, “Remember honey, they are just people, simple as that, just like you and me.” I was introduced to representatives from GLADD, the Foundation, and people who used to work there, or works with them. Every time Jim would introduce me he would say something along the lines of, “This Brittany one of our Board members of Spectrum, and she has also organized the University’s first Day of Silence.” People congratulated me, and offered help and support, they gave their cards and said call if you need anything, they were ( I can’t find the right word, proud maybe, amazed maybe) but it was something that shocked me. By the end of the night I had the Foundation’s support, and I am suppose to drop an e-mail to them to get a box of bracelets from the Foundation to hand out at Day of Silence.

Dinner was absolutely amazing, chicken and mmm just goodness. I heard a college student accept an award for Making a Difference, and his confidence in what he has done and all that he has done made me cry, I also heard Judith Light and Robert Disiderio speak and there conviction of their beliefs put into action brought tears to my eyes as well. I met some amazing drag queens, with huge hearts, that I hope to see again in April for Wyoming Aids Walk, and made some new friends I do believe.

Saturday night made me realize that we are never alone in the fight for acceptance and understanding. What we do here at the University of Wyoming does not only make a difference here, but every where it effects the cause in a good way. What we do matters and changes societies views, granted it may be slowly, but change does happen, not only here in our community but across the country as well.
“Now, do you see Brittany, why so many people are proud of what you’ve done on campus?”

I do. Now. I am proud of the fact that I have headed the group to organize the University of Wyoming first Day of Silence. I am also very proud and grateful to everyone who has helped out along the way, the Spectrum Board, and our group members all who have huge hearts and bigger generosity.

So…The University of Wyoming will be hosting its first and hopefully annual Day of Silence on April 26th. The Day of Silence is a silent protest against the discrimination, harassment, and prejudice of anti-LGBT. But the Day of Silence Project is more than being silent for a day. It’s about raising awareness around LGBT issues, making a visible personal commitment to justice and equality. The positive and visible silence that we are creating turns the destructive silence created by homophobia and heterosexism on its head.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The last day of Spring Break and I am stuck working all day.

Oh well, probably for the better. There is snow covering the ground outside right now anyways. Leave it to Wyoming to be nice the week before spring break and dump snow on us all throughout the week of Spring Break.

Miles Driven: 1,995
Miles Walked: 16
One new tie
One new hat
A new pair of shorts
And a couple more comics

I started off Spring Break with a weekend trip to Vegas. It was awesome, we got into Vegas around 1:00 in the morning on Saturday and we were all to excited and to much adrenaline pumping to actually go to bed, and since in Vegas there are people up 24 hours a day, we all got dressed up and went out on to the strip, wandered around part of Caesar’s Palace and ended up in the casino at the Excalibur until 5:30 in the morning. Walking back to our hotel at 6:00 in the morning we were rained on a little and watched the sun rise over the Strip. Saturday was spent wandering around shops and getting our tickets for KA the Cirque Du Soleil show we went and saw Saturday night. Words cannot explain the show, I was on the edge my seat the entire night with partial audience participation (mainly just actors running into the seating area), the staging and lighting were fascinating and the pyrotechniques were fabulous. The rest of the weekend was mainly more walking around.
We're not letting go this time, days wasted together can be the most valuable in a life.

I have finally gotten my leaner's permit (yes again, someday I swear I will get my license) and drove Sunday night from Vegas up to Cedar City, UT. Wednesday some of my friends decided to steal away to Ft. Collins and Denver for a couple days, so we invaded the comic book shops, video arcades, and yes had bed jumping contests in our hotel room.
To find a soul so like your own can be scary some days, hold on to those friends.

On the way to Ft. Collins, Jim called me to see what I was up to. What followed was an enormous opportunity for youth in the area. Next weekend is the Matthew Shepard foundation's "Bear to Make a Difference" Dinner in Denver, CO. Jim found out that there was a scholarship available for youth 15-20 who submitted an essay on "What Embracing Diversity means to you." There were a limited number of scholarships available, but soon after I submitted my essay I received an e-mail stating that I have been selected to attend for the 5th Annual Bear to Make a Difference Dinner and Celebrity Teddy Bear Auction. So next weekend I will find myself in Denver, again at what hopes to be an amazing evening. The dress code for the evening is black-tie optional and instead of wearing a formal dress I might be looking into renting a tux for the evening :)
I wouldn't give any of it up for second try, growing into ourselves is the greatest time of our lives. It will be hard, but there are days that make up for the rest of them.

On a more solemn note, back in February I lost a good friend of mine that lived in Jackson. I received the news on a Sunday that Travis had been found dead by his mom in his bedroom. Travis was one of my dear friends and my best friend Sarah's boyfriend. He had taught me how to skateboard, and introduced me to Tool. When Sarah figured she had no other options except to runaway in the 8th grade she stole away to Travis's house in Jackson for about a week and half, and I went with her. Travis was one of the most caring, easy-going guys I've known. In 2003 Travis was diagnosed with HIV. It was the most difficult thing for him to swallow. Shortly there after I lost contact with him as did most other people. Last December the HIV had developed into full blown AIDS, Travis couldn't handle it and took his own life. This though is to the Travis I knew, to the inventor of the sign GAME CROSSING game (Parcheesi, and Sorry), to sneaking into movies and love a of snowboarding, who taught me to play Grand Theft Auto, and how to unlock all of the secret codes in Tony Hawk's Skateboarding. To contemplating why the stars really existed (to be full of beauty on dark nights when you cannot find yourself) To the guy full of love.
“Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life” ~The Fray