Board Member Feature: Melody Taylor, Current TriPride President
Dear members of our vibrant and cherished LGTQ pride community, we are honored to unveil the distinguished individual whose unwavering dedication has illuminated the path of our organization. Today, we shine the spotlight on the remarkable leadership of our esteemed President, Melody Taylor! Keep reading to learn more about Melody!
In Melody’s Words
What role do you play in organizing and planning TriPride events and activities?
I am chair of the Parade committee so I organize that portion of the day. I also assist in overseeing the festival and maintain communication with the host city.
Why did you decide to join TriPride and become a board member?
I grew up in this area and have volunteered throughout the years with several organizations. As a member of the community, I really wanted to get involved with an LGBTQ+ organization so I attended a meet and greet with the original TriPride board prior to the initial festival in Johnson City. I volunteered that year and joined the planning committee and began getting more involved until I was asked if I’d like to join the board, which I was excited to do!
How do you contribute to TriPride’s goals and initiatives as a board member?
As the current President of the Board I ensure all the official business is taken care of. I also run the Board meetings and attempt to ensure we stay on track and stick to our mission. Most importantly I try to support the board however they need. Our board is made up of some incredible people with so much talent and I’m honored to be able to work with them.
Are there any specific challenges or opportunities you’ve encountered while serving as a board member?
Each year and event comes with its own challenges. Planning an event of this magnitude is not an easy task and things tend to come up right up through the day of. The board is an amazing support system and is great at rising to those challenges no matter what they are.
What aspects of TriPride’s mission and values resonate with you the most?
Definitely building a stronger community through diversity and visibility. Growing up in this area, there wasn’t a lot of queer representation and I am so proud of the visibility that TriPride brings. We really are made stronger when we accept diversity and allow everyone to be exactly who they were meant to be.
What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of your involvement with TriPride?
My girlfriend and I enjoy traveling, hiking, and doing anything that keeps us active. I also enjoy checking out local breweries or a new delicious restaurant.
What impact do you hope to make through your involvement with TriPride?
I hope to show our area that we are more alike than we are different and that we all want the same things. We love this beautiful area we live in and we are all worthy of happiness and respect.
How do you envision TriPride’s future and the positive changes it can bring to the community?
I hope TriPride continues to grow and is able to create a larger festival each year. I would like Pride Week to expand to larger events all week to support local businesses.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by the elders that came before me that were brave enough to be themselves in a time when it was unacceptable. I am inspired by the youth of today that are comfortable expressing themselves in ways I was not able to when I was their age, and I am inspired by my trans friends who are true to themselves in the face of active attempts to deny them.
Can you share any advice or messages of encouragement for those who want to get involved with TriPride or support the LGBTQ+ community?
TriPride has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It is a lot of work and time but it is well worth it. The feeling of seeing our community and allies celebrating together and being so joyous and knowing that I played a small part in that makes every minute of the stress worth it. If you’re thinking about getting involved just go for it! There are different levels to get involved and all will be worth it.
Can you share a memorable experience or accomplishment you’ve had during your time with TriPride?
I have so many wonderful memories of my time with TriPride but there is one that really stuck with me. We were hosting a smaller event outside of the main parade and festival and a young person had been dropped off alone to hang out. They joined myself and a few people at a table and I noticed they had some earrings, brand new in the package. I complimented how cute they were and they opened up about how they really liked them but weren’t comfortable wearing them because people can be mean. We all encouraged them to wear them, so they put them on. They looked so happy and I can tell you they looked fabulous! You could just see the comfort on their face that they could be themselves, free from judgment. That is what TriPride is all about, supporting people so they know they are not alone.
If you’re interested in contributing your time and energy to TriPride, we would be thrilled to have you.
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