Thursday, September 26, 2013

It’s been one year and some change

By Angela Thomas

Routines—we all get into them. Mine starts out with “headline—space—Angela Thomas.” Always.

I have been working at the Philadelphia Gay News for one year now and I have my routine. I come into the office ten minutes (or admittedly ten minutes after) 9 a.m., coffee in hand, spending my time catching up on emails, sorting details of the day before I start writing at 10 a.m. For the rest of the day, I write articles on the transgender leader coming to Philly, the queer lawyer getting the award, the LGBT community center hosting an important event, the queer Latin@ group setting a positive example in the community. This is my life. I write, write, write and every day, I am inspired by the people I interview.

It’s been a year and I have grown. One year ago, I barely talked to anyone. Talking to Philadelphia Pride Presents president Franny Price was terrifying to me. I didn’t know about half the organizations around.

One year later and I slip into the office, flirting carelessly with office manager, Carol while making jokes with other staff. I talk to my editor about our favorite shows Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars and Girls. I have no problem calling Franny—in fact I look forward to our calls. If I had to pick, I would say that GALAEI: A Queer Latin@ Social Justice Organization has inspired me the most. But I could name ten other organizations that have touched my life.

I’ve interviewed people that other journalists could only dream of. I’ve heard stories that had me in tears or had me smiling.

The truth is my life turned around in a complete circle. May 2012, I was trying on my cap and gown and imagining myself working at PGN, my best friend, Rae, working at the Philadelphia Inquirer. I imagined myself moving into an apartment in Philadelphia surrounded by amazing friends.

It came true.

September 17, I was hired as a staff writer for PGN, Rae went on to work as a staff writer for The Daily Local and I moved into an apartment in West Philly this summer with some amazing new friends. My life has come full circle. Who would have thought? Not this girl.

I’ve definitely come into my own—grown more comfortable in my skin and in my community in which I write about. I’ve learned that not everything is gay or straight, male or female. There is a beautiful grey area looking for recognition.

I’ve learned to take the phrase “you’re lucky” with a grain of salt. This wasn’t luck; this was hard work and dedication. This was a journey that took blood, sweat and tears to create. Luck didn’t hand me this experience on a silver platter. I had to work for it.

I always say this—dreams do come true. ‘The field of journalism is impossible’ they said to us. We proved them wrong. This year isn’t just about me and my one-year. This is about Rae, who works for The Daily Local. This is about Deanna, who was an assistant sports producer for and now works as an assistant advertising coordinator. This is about Laura who works as an editorial assistant for a publishing company in Philadelphia. This is about Rebekah who is in grad school to be the next best queer outreach staff. This is about Carol, who just got a job in human resources and proves every day that life is beautiful.

This is to more years writing about a community that I would be nothing without.