by Jelani Remy
I owe so much to the theater. From one gentle push from a music teacher, I was thrown into a world that eventually helped me discover my passion and myself.
I had a hard time at home exploring the arts. It was a sports-heavy household. I was ridiculed and questioned constantly for liking “girl” stuff. All I could do was hide it from them so I could fit in.
Then, I got an opportunity that opened my eyes to bright future. Theater camp!
Theater people accept everyone for who they are with open arms. When I went to my first theater summer program, I was amazed with how friendly, diverse and eccentric everyone was! There were kids who looked like me and had the same interest of singing, dancing and acting, making bonds and working hard at our craft. I felt so at home.
I also realized about my sexuality from the individuals that recognized themselves early on. They knew who they were and weren’t afraid to show it. I remember asking questions and hearing stories about how they came out to their parents, and it gave me an armor of strength and hope. I gained confidence and confirmation that I was going to be okay.
I am dedicating this Pride to the theater. Thank you for letting me be and discover who I am with a loving eye. Giving me a chosen family show by show and an opportunity to affect people with every production. Art changes lives. It saved mine.