First of all, thank you to everyone who stopped by my booths at Pride Northwest in Portland and Pridefest Seattle. A special thank you goes to those of you who made my day throughout both weekends by thanking me for being there to represent the bisexual community. I was so proud and honored once again this year to be the only bisexual themed booth at both events. While there were touching moments throughout, I wanted to highlight two special interactions that happened this year.
Down in Portland, one young woman moved me nearly to tears. In all the casual and fun attire of the waterfront festival, her carefully chosen and slightly more formal outfit stood out. She browsed the shirts and accessories at the booth and then spoke up and told us how much it meant to her that we were there representing the bisexual community. She had just come out to her family a few weeks before and this was her first Pride. My heart burst with pride for her and gratitude that she shared her story with me. I will always regret that I didn't give her a giant hug. Throughout the rest of the day, we saw her pass by the booth several times and I made sure to give her a big smile and a wave.
In Seattle, two stories stood out, both on Sunday at Seattle Center. This was my first year having a booth at the main festival, and I am certainly glad we were there. First, there was a woman who was taking her time trying to decide which shirt to get, if any. I asked if she would like any help, or if she'd like to see a particular size, and she ended up explaining that she was having some trouble coming out. She left, but came back later and ended up getting a shirt. When I took her card and ID, I realized she was in the military and wondered if that had anything to do with her issues coming out. Before she left, she thanked me for being there and supporting the community.
Finally, a young man who bought a shirt earlier in the day explained that he was just coming out and that it was hard to find bisexual representation at Pridefest and in Seattle in general. He stopped by as we were starting to pack up and thanked us again for everything we were doing.
These people are why I do what I do. Because I was once like them: searching for a community and for representation. I am so glad that I can help provide that for them.