It’s refreshing to see someone like you using social media not based on self promotion but with key messages that inspires and motivates others. How do you see social platforms in this day and age and what would you change if you could?
It’s the numbers game for most people - I call it, “cyber hoarding”. We want more followers and more likes, more, more, more. For some people those likes really fill there’s a sense of self worth - I suggest every gay man to read, “The Velvet Rage”. It talks about the stages in a gay man’s life and speaks precisely on the topic of being fulfilled by things more meaningful than vanity. I mix it up, I know my followers want to see me shirtless - but if I post a photo like that I will try to attach something meaningful behind it. At least they are reading it.
The suicide rate within the LGBT community due to bullying its still extremely high. What words of advice would you give to all the teens out there?
I would want each person struggling with their identity to know, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you - you are worthy of love and dignity - and there are MANY people willing to help you and talk to you. I personally know what bullying feels like - and it hurts. I always recommend anyone that needs to talk to someone and feels they can't talk to their family to reach out to the Trevor Project. They have a 24 hour a day hotline and even a text service. Trevor Lifeline now at 866-488-7386, or they can reach out to me! @RSJdesign
Can you tell us a bit more about the Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks and how can people support it?
I contacted city of Atlanta Officials in August of 2014, with the proposal of installing The Rainbow Crosswalks. These would come to be historic LGBTQ+ public art – I’m so proud that I made it come to reality. There are many cities that already have rainbow crosswalks. The mission behind these crosswalks are for everyone to know, whether they are just coming out, closeted, bi, trans, having difficulty accepting themselves; whether they are too afraid to share who they really are or to afraid be who they really want to be; those that family members disowned or shunned; and like many of us that have faced discrimination because of who we love and how we were born, that yes, you are welcome here, you are safe here and you will be treated with respect and dignity and the city itself stands behind you. Thankfully the community stood behind me. I raised close to $45,000.00 - and donated close to $18,000.00 back into local organizations in need. The Atlanta Rainbow crosswalks is my most cherished and fulfilling personal accomplishment to date.