Hello, my name is Trevor Wilkinson. My pronouns are he/him.
Growing up in a small town there have been obstacles. But through all of it I have managed to stay true to myself and my beliefs. I have learned to advocate for myself. In the past I was afraid of who I was and for being gay. Until I realized that this world can be brutal. No one should ever feel degraded or belittled for being who they are.
Two months ago, I took a stand. I didn’t back down when my High School wouldn’t allow me to wear nail polish. Because I am a man. Because I wanted to express myself according to a legal right that was outside of gender norms. I was suspended for something as minor as nail polish. I thought no one cared and that it was a lost cause for a while. I also thought about backing down, giving in, and giving up. Then I met people like Sam Hatton, the APA, ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Equality of Texas and realized that what I was doing was a great thing. Although scary at first, I developed a love of advocating for not only myself, but for the lgbtqia+ community as a whole.
I have learned so many things throughout this experience. I think that advocacy is probably one the most important things that I learned. My opinion is valid, better yet, I am valid. Advocacy has taught me that if the cause is right, you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up. Because if you don’t, who will? Advocacy isn’t just about you, it’s about the people that come after you.
I learned that just because the people surrounding you all think or believe a certain way, that does not make it right. History is changed by those who challenge the status quo. Things don’t just get better naturally. It requires us, all of us, pushing. And yes, sometimes that is uncomfortable. But just because something is established, just because someone or something is older, doesn’t make them right.
I learned that I love myself and I wouldn’t change who I am for anyone. Through the help of so many people, I have learned that the lgbtqia+ community is about love and acceptance. A community that I am so thankful to be in. I am proud of who I am. That’s why we celebrate PRIDE. Because we didn’t grow up ingrained with pride, it is learned. We had to grow, to struggle. We had to learn to love ourselves.
For those who want to advocate for themselves and stick up to the cruel people in this world, do it. I know for most it seems impossible or is extremely scary, but that’s everything in life. No one should ever have their most authentic self diminished in any way. There are three vital steps that I learned to help me overcome injustice.
First, speak out. Be the odd one out. Even if it is uncomfortable. I made a petition and shared it on all of my social media. Advocating is a vital thing and the only way to do that is to speak your truth with confidence and pride.
The second is persistence. Keep going. Giving up is not an option regardless of how tough it gets. It’s important to continue to advocate for your cause no matter how well you think you’re doing. Not to mention, the more you share your cause, the better chance you have of more people seeing and even helping you!
Then find a community or group of people that you know support you.There will always be people in this world that don’t agree with you. People who have something negative to say. It can seem easy to ‘let it roll off your shoulder,’ but honestly, it’s not that easy. Find a group that sees your truth and will support you.
Advocacy can be really, really hard but I have found that it is one of the most important things you can do with your life.