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Emergence 2021: Josh Miller

 

 

I grew up in a small town just west of Indianapolis, Indiana that didn't tolerate differences. I was taught through abuse at school and scripture at church that I was irreparably broken, and that how I was born was inherently "bad" or "wrong." They made my sexuality out to be a thing I was afflicted with instead of a natural aspect of existence, and that disembodied a part of my identity and turned it into something they said could be removed. I wasn’t a gay man, I was sick with homosexuality and Jesus was the cure.

In secret, I tried to pray away my sexuality. I cried myself to sleep regularly, begging God to heal me or at least explain why he was unmoved. I was told that God didn’t answer prayers when someone lacked faith, implicating that I was a bad Christian. I needed to try harder. I also heard that God’s silence could sometimes be the result of living in sin. If that was the case, how could I get Him to answer me when my entire existence was sin...

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Emergence 2021: Kara Ballenger

 

I came out as bisexual when I was in High School to my friends but my parents would take me years to tell them. I always knew that I was not considered “Normal” in society's eyes when I was 8 years old. I had a crush on the very first boy of what I thought was my dream...but something seemed odd about it. I was always hanging around boys in my class and had very few girls as friends. One of them ended up being my first kiss with my neighborhood friend. I would invite her to my house all the time and even to my 8th Birthday. On one of the occasions, I remember her asking me if I knew what kissing was. I said only from movies and she wanted to know what it was like. So, we kissed and it was a little awkward at first but when I look back on it….it was very innocent. 

Jump forward to high school where I started making art and watching a lot of tv shows. One of them was Xena which inspired me to create my own stories as I got older. I had boyfriends through my...

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Do We Really Need to "Come Out" in 2021?

I joined a networking group last month.  At our first meeting, a tall blond woman asked me "Oh is homophobia still even a thing?  I'm surprised you run an entire organization that is fighting it.  I thought the younger generation didn't even care."

 
Yes.  Homophobia is still a thing.  Therefore coming out is still a thing.  
 
I came out at 38, after being a Mormon suburban housewife for 17 years.  When I came out, I lost my church, my business, and my entire social network.  I gained an entirely new community of friends who cheered on my coming out process.
 
Looking back I realized that how people reacted to my Coming Out was a massive tell in how our relationship would progress.  Almost all of my then-current friends and family said to me "Well, I love you no matter what."  It's three years later and hardly any of them are still speaking with me.  Once my partner and I moved in together, it was radio...
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Emergence: Share Your Story!

 

October is just right around the corner, and with National Coming Out Day drawing near, we want to do something special for you.

As a foundation, our goal is to encourage and lift you up. So this October, we want to bring visibility and validity to every queer experience - we believe that all coming out journeys are valid and need to be shared. If you let us, we'd love to share yours with the world.

Whether you've JUST come out, are thinking about coming out or have been out for years, we want to share your story in whatever medium or form of expression comes most naturally to you.

Every story is different, some experiences are unexpectedly easy and some have unexpected and lasting consequences. Whatever your journey is like, it's definitely worth sharing and deserves to be in the spotlight.

That's why we organized Emergence, to celebrate the different coming out stories from the community and bring attention to queer experiences. Share your...

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#QueerBusinessBook is here!

We wanted LGBTQ+ business and self-empowerment books to support our goal of reducing suicide and homelessness in our community.  

The “big publishers” said there wasn’t a big enough market.  If LGBTQ+ authors wanted to get a traditional publishing contract, they had to figure out a way to get at least 50k followers to justify the “investment”.

We said, “Thank u, Next.” and created our own publishing company.  

Pride and Joy Publishing is proud to announce our very first publication, Thriving in Business: Strategies for the LGBTQ+ Entrepreneur.  This book is a compilation of the best tips and heartfelt advice from successful queer entrepreneurs around the world.  14 new friends are waiting to support YOU and your business goals.  

Pride and Joy Publishing has set a goal to reach Bestseller Status in the first two days of its launch.  This will set the book on a powerful trajectory and Amazon...

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Attracting Key Talent in the LGBTQ+ Community

How Pride and Joy Foundation’s Impactful Benefit Survey can increase diversity and talent retention in your workplace 

By: Becca Ladd


 

When employers are looking to attract key LGBTQ+ talent into their workplace, a good place to start is with employee benefits. But how can employers looking to become inclusive leaders create a benefits package that truly reflects what LGBTQ+ workers are looking for and brings in those key employees? That’s where the Impactful Benefits Survey comes in.

 

How the survey helps the LGBTQ+ Community

The Impactful Benefits survey gives LGBTQ+ people, their allies and parents the chance to tell employers which workplace benefits are most inclusive and beneficial to members of the LGBTQ+ community. If you've been looking for a way to share your thoughts on workplace benefits, this is your chance to have your say.

The survey seeks to create the workplaces people in the LGBTQ+ community have been fighting for. Whether it's...

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Start Your Journey: Keynote Queers is Here!

"My TEDx talk changed my life."

- Elena Joy Thurston, Founder of Pride and Joy Foundation

Being on stage and connecting with people is something that Elena never struggled with. In the past, when she found herself in the middle of a messy divorce and struggling to take care of her four kids, these skills are what saved her.

With no other marketable skills, no work experience for the past 15 years, and no savings, she relied on her eagerness to dominate the stage and her ability to connect with people. She worked with one of the best speaker coaches for four long months to master public speaking and her hard work paid off.

She got accepted on her first try in applying to a TEDx event. This may not be for everyone, but she knew at that point that it was meant to be - it's her journey. As she stood in that iconic red circle carpet on stage, in front of about 900 people eager to listen to what she has to say, she realized a crazy new reality.

Being queer is a superpower.

As a...

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The Legacy Fund for Purpose-Driven Female Founders

 

Legacy is a brain trust for women speakers and thought leaders, led by Alexia Vernon. This group of female entrepreneurs and thought leaders are committed to helping other purpose-driven female entrepreneurs.

The Legacy Fund came from a portion of each member’s investment, and the group is getting ready to make its first investments in women founders. Legacy aims for this grant to help women-identified entrepreneurs in scaling the revenue and impact of their businesses.

In its inaugural year, The Legacy Fund will award two, unrestricted grants of $1500 to women-identified founders who serve as business leaders of for-profit or nonprofit businesses.

Plus, each recipient will receive a complimentary ticket to Alexia’s 2-day, Las Vegas speaker training event in 2022 ($397 value). Women-identified applicants who also identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, live with disabilities, chronic illness or survived trauma are particularly encouraged to apply.

 

 

Applications...

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It Was Time For Him to Go

 

Editor’s Note:  We first published Jake’s story in July 2020.  It is now a year later, we felt (and Jake agreed) that the timing was right to share his story again.  Jake is one year into having “fired” his homophobic side and if you’ve followed him on Social Media, you know just how amazing his life has become.  If you’re new to his story, have a read and then check him out.  It’s a beautiful journey.  

 

It Was Time For Him to Go

I’m coming off a high. I just fired someone, and it was one of the crowning achievements of my adult life. I made sure to make a scene of it too by gathering everyone into the conference room, laying out a long list of offenses, and walking him out of the room and building to never return. It was awesome!

Nine months earlier I came out as gay to my wife of 13 years. I married her with the best of intentions, desiring to do all that was expected of me as a man in...

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Pride with Kids, All Year Long

 

As Pride Month 2021 comes to a close, here is a review of the most commonly asked questions from parents of LGBTQ+ kids.    

I’m pretty sure my kid is LGBTQ+ but they haven’t come out.  Why aren’t they being honest with me?  

Not being out with your parents is very common in the LGBTQ+ community. The coming out journey begins with being out to yourself, and depending on the environment you're being raised in, it can feel unsafe to be authentic even to yourself, let alone your parents. The more comfortable a child is with their own identity, the more likely they'll come out to their parents.  

Obviously, parents and caregivers influence that comfort level. But home life can be very accepting and the child might still struggle to accept their identity themselves. It’s a very personal journey, which can feel disconcerting since we’re their parents. We wiped their bums for goodness sake! We feel heavily...

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