I used to be pretty narrow-minded. I grew up in a relatively conservative area and everyone sort of stayed within their own groups and looked down on anyone who was “different.” But even in that environment, my parents instilled in me a belief that it was important to stand up for what is right.

At a time in my life when I experienced hardship, some of the only people there for me were members of the LGBTQ community that I met in Boston. They never judged me. All they cared about was if I had a roof over my head and food to eat. I guess you could say that my eyes were opened up and I realized the problem didn’t lay with them; the problem lay within myself. If these people hadn’t been there, who knows where I would have been at this point of my life. They cared. They looked out for me. They kept me on track.

Tim at beach, with dog

As a straight, cisgender man, I am very thankful to have met and to have been accepted into the LGBTQ community in a way I never expected. So, when the opportunity arose for a school internship I jumped at the idea of joining GLAD. It’s my way to say thank you to the community and to give back.

My time at GLAD echoed what my parents taught me growing up: to stand up for what’s right. I think in these times it’s especially important to stand for a cause bigger than yourself. A lot of people are anxious and scared about what’s going on in the country right now. A lot of people are giving up hope. But we can’t let that happen. My time at GLAD showed me the faces of some of the people facing fear and hate every day. Even through all of that, they rise to the occasion and stand up for what’s right.

So, any time you feel like losing hope, just remember my story and this message. Remember that if someone like myself can change, anything can change – it just takes unity and having each other’s backs. Most importantly, remember that no matter how high the odds are stacked against you, being there for one another will get you through it all.

This Thanksgiving, I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to you and everyone out there trying to make a difference, holding on to hope, and fighting for what’s right.