What was ‘Coming out’ like for you?
Coming out for me was such a challenge. Growing up as a black male in the inner city, there are certain images one must uphold for themselves or most importantly their family and peers. For the longest time, I suppressed who I was.
However, In January of 2005, I began to live my truth. I slowly began to tell friends that I was gay. However, it would November of 2006 that I officially told my mother. I wasn’t as concerned about what she would think, but I was more concerned about what my sister would think.
I was concerned that she wouldn’t want me around her kids, particularly my nephew. Like many coming out stories, I cried due to mixed emotions. Oddly enough, I told my mom that I was not sick, I didn’t’ want to be a woman and neither was a drag queen. Looking back on it, it’s a shame that we have to address these stereotypes that people think of those that are gay.
Of course, there are members of our community that fit these categories, but they are not bad people and it’s something we as a community have to remind ourselves and educate others.
What would you say to your younger self if you were to come out again?
I would tell my younger self to go for it and live your truth. It’s liberating to know that you can live your life as a proud gay man and still contribute to everyday society.
Furthermore, I would remind my younger self that gay people are more than just gay, we are doctors, lawyers, politicians, educators, and so on.
What do you feel like society can do to help the youth of the LGBTQ community?
I think society can do more by having education programs that will teach us it’s ok to be gay. Society needs to remind LGBTQ youth that there are safe places where you can talk about your thoughts and feelings.
Parents need to be involved and engaged with resources to show their love and support for the LGBTQ youth. Moreover, society can provide us with a platform of positive imagery for LGBTQ youth so that they are aware that we are just as valuable to our society as our straight counterparts.
You’re all role model to the LGBTQ community but who is your role model within the LGBTQ community?
WOW! I never thought of myself as a role model for the LGBTQ community, but I guess embarking on such journeys can be seen as a role model for other LGBTQ people. To answer the question I would break it down by past, present and future.
Past Role Model: Harvey Milk
Present Role Model: Ellen DeGeneres
Future Role Model: RuPaul
All are significant to the movement but in different ways. They have all used their gift (politics, charity, drag) to bring about awareness to a community that has been ostracized for so long and unfortunately continue to be. Its people like this who serve as reminders of why the fight is so important.
Erik Dillon hails from the inner city of Gary,IN. Erik began to live his truth in his late years of college at Indiana University. Upon graduating college, Erik decided to take a chance on life and move to fabulous Las Vegas, NV.
Erik has spent the last 12yrs working in Higher Education where he currently serves as the Director of Admissions for a local Nursing School. In his spare time he loves to travel and attend sporting events.
As a member of the GLBT community he helps raise funds for local organizations that provide various services to the GLBT community. Erik’s latest venture is developing a student organization at his university that specializes in healthcare education for the GLBT community.
In 2016 Erik was granted to opportunity to stand behind some pretty heavy hitters in the indie L of the GLBT community and play the role of Lemuel in the upcoming sitcom “3030” based in Las Vegas, NV which wrapped filming in early 2017. Erik believes that developing such an organization is crucial to the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of members of the GLBT community.