Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"What you're doing is important," Stevie Martin-Chester.

I was that friend—that friend that was in the crowd, cheering my college buds on as they received their awards. I was that friend who nominated their friends for awards because of their dedication and hard work.

I was also that friend that didn’t get awards.

It isn’t that I didn’t do well in school; I did as fine as I possibly could. I was involved in a lot—especially my university’s newspaper. I dedicated a lot of time to that, to the point where I had no life.

I just never received any recognition. There were days where I would call up my mom and ask if there was something wrong with me? Was I not good enough? She would always reassure me that it just wasn’t my time to shine yet.

Mom, you were right.

After graduating, I headed straight into the temp. agency because I needed money and I needed experience. I applied to newspapers and I applied for other writing jobs but nothing stuck. I started to feel like maybe I should give up and hope that my temp job turned into a permanent job.

However, my mom wasn’t so ready for me to give up. On a Sunday morning, my mother urged me to apply for a job as staff writer at the Philadelphia Gay News. They were hiring ASAP because there editor of 6 years, Sarah B. was leaving to take a job in Washington D.C. and their current staff writer, Jen C. was being promoted to editor.

So on that Sunday morning, I send in a resume and 3 clips. The Monday after, I received a call from Jen asking me to interview. I left my current job earlier on Thursday to interview with both Jen and Sarah at 3 p.m. Now let me tell you, both these ladies are amazing human beings in and out of the journalism world. I’ve aspired to be like both of them ever since I discovered PGN, so to meet them was a fantastic experience in itself.

That night after my interview, not sure what kind of impression I made, I was asked in an e-mail to write a news article from a press release. After having both my mom and my best friend, Sammi read it; I sent it, praying to whatever God that I at least made an impression.

I wasn’t sure and I hated that. However on Friday, while at work, I received a voicemail from Jen, asking me to call her back.

Now the next series of events was hard for me to digest and still is. She offered me the job. Me? But I though other newspapers didn’t want me? I thought I was just doomed to interview for the rest of my life. However, they wanted me and I wanted this job more than anything in the world.

As someone who is out and proud in the LGBT community, this job has been a dream come true.

I watched my friends receive amazing awards and now, they were watching me and giving me the support I need.

Needless to say, this job has been an amazing experience so far. I’ve interviewed a handful of people already including Lar Lubovitch, world-renowned choreographer and dancer, Gilbert Baker, inventor of the rainbow flag as the LGBT symbol, State Representative Babette Josephs, Franny Price, Director of Philly Pride Presents, as well as others.

The PGN staff is probably the funniest and coolest bunch of people ever and my editor, Jen, is the nicest person.

It has been awesome to see my dreams come true. PGN made me feel like I wasn’t alone at a time in my life when I thought I was. They gave me a newspaper that was just for me and those in my community. Now they’ve given me a voice and for that, I am ever grateful.

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