Firefighter Meredith White-Bell Reflects on Her Journey to Embrace Pride
June 1, 2022 @ 12:00pm
Firefighter + football player
What Pride means to you
Pride. This is a deep question because of how I grew up. My family is very religious and when I discovered I was attracted to women in high school, it wasn’t acceptable in my house or at school. I did not explore my sexuality until college and still did not fully embrace it until after.
After some family drama/trauma, I decided to stop living a lie and embrace who I am. I found pride in who I am, every aspect of myself. I am a masculine of center person, so wearing clothes that aligned with me inside was a huge part of embracing and accepting who I am and how I wanted to show up in the world.
My mission has been to foster an environment for my daughters that allows them to be whomever or whatever they want to be. One of my coworkers came to me a few months ago because her niece was having some trouble at school around her sexuality and gender identity. Just being able to provide a listening ear, someone she could relate to and feel comfortable talking with, in my mind was huge for me. It is something I did not have growing up. I guess I have become something of a mentor, which really makes me happy. Something so seemingly small, I know can have a big impact on this young person.
Supporting the LGBTQ+ community
Get to know us. There’s not a doubt in my mind everyone knows, lives across from, works with someone in the LGBTQ+ community. If we took time to get to know each other, people would be pleasantly surprised we are not much different from them.
Your identity-affirming song
I love this question because music is my favorite artistic expression. In “Diamond,” Rihanna has a line that says, “Find light in the beautiful sea, I chose to be happy.”
To read all 24 other Pride Guide 2022 interviews, visit our print issue or look through our site.
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