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Your Voice, Your Power

lgbtq new year power voice Jan 11, 2023

Happy New Year. Elena Joy here. For some people, the holidays are a lovely change of pace from the rest of the year, a time to slow down and be with those they love. 

I celebrate those type of people who can find that rhythm for themselves. For me, the best day of the last two months has been January 2nd.

Because anyone like me, with some childhood and adult trauma around the holidays, has a very hard time staying present and grounded. And the pressure just lifts up so much once they’re over and the change is palpable. 

The thing that kept me grounded through the last two months has without a doubt been My Voice. I wrote a lot. While most years my writing routine goes out the window during the holiday upheaval, this year my writing routine was the only thing that didn’t implode about my day. 

The pressure to “celebrate” was minimal in the quiet and dark mornings. Curling up in a corner with my laptop and a big mug of tea felt like self-care. I poured my heart into two different books I’m writing: a book for organizational leaders centered on developing inclusion skills, and a book for my kids with all the brain-hacks for growth I’ve developed. 

It felt like magic that my quiet hour of self-care also felt productive. That way if no other work got done, I still could point to the 1,500-ish words I added to the book that day and say, “Well, that’s something to be proud of.”

And sometimes nothing got done because kids were home from school or holiday errands needed running. But lez be real, most of the time nothing got done because my nervous system was in full arrest. Critical thinking skills, and strategic thinking skills, just weren’t accessible to me for several days through the holidays. 

In the past, this would send me into a tizzy, frantic that I was losing my edge, and that my business, Elena Joy Experience, was going to fail because of my lack of functioning. Ok, there was a solid day in December when I fell into this pit. But it was a day instead of a week like last year, and that’s progress! 

This progress was due to using my voice in my writing practice, I’m sure of it. I also had the opportunity to do quite a few interviews, again, using my voice. The more I grow, the more I realize that the ability to speak up for myself, my life experience, and the marginalized communities I care about, the healthier I become. The happier I become. 

This ties in perfectly with our Pride & Joy theme for 2023, “Your Voice, Your Power”. Our programming will focus on ways to claim and develop your voice throughout the year. This will look a variety of ways such as:

  • Our Pride and Joy Parents and learning how to use their voices to both support and guide their LGBTQ+ kids while also advocating for them.  Our next event is February 7 and focuses on supporting parents around Healthy Relationship Advice for LGBTQ+ Teens. 
  • Our suicide awareness and prevention programs for LGBTQ+ young adults in rural areas, learning how to speak up and reach out to their struggling peers (and themselves). 
  • Our Leaders for Inclusive Change class is a DIY online course for teachers and community leaders to learn how to hold safe space for LGBTQ+ youth in their schools and communities. Their voices are SO important. 
  • Our programs such as OUTWrite Authors and Keynote Queers will re-launch in 2023 for LGBTQ+ changemakers who are ready to develop their voices in big ways!  OWA is solely for queer authors of non-fiction and Keynote Queers is for LGBTQ+ leaders who want to develop their public speaking and visibility skills.  Stay tuned to this newsletter for the launch dates and Early Bird rates!

All of these programs point to our vision of every LGBTQ+ individual being Heard, Housed, and Mentally Healthy. Our mission is to prevent suicide and homelessness in our LGBTQ+ community and we are excited to work with you to make that happen!

Here’s to using our voices and expanding our power in 2023! 

About the Author: Elena Joy Thurston is an inspirational Diversity & Allyship speaker, trainer, and author through a lens of LGBTQ+ inclusion. Elena Joy inspires her audiences to learn how Inclusive Leadership can improve company morale and productivity, changing members' lives in a practical way.  A Mormon mom of four who lost her marriage, her church, and her community when she came out as a lesbian, her viral TEDx talk on surviving conversion therapy has been viewed more than 45,000 times and landed her media and speaking opportunities with ABC, CBS, FOX, Penn State, University of North Texas, Michael’s, Logitech, and more. Elena Joy is also one of the subjects of the feature film documentary Conversion


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