Love is Love
I married Frazier Blair on September, 22, 2018. I’ve learned many things and taken away so much from this experience, but one thing in particular is worth sharing. I’ve really come to understand that a company and athletes really have a platform and a voice. Using this voice really can make an impact. Garneau and Clif Bar are two companies that really blew the doors off this concept and exploded my heart with joy in the process.
Clif Bar posted photos of Frazier and I on social media during pride month congratulating us on our engagement and upcoming wedding. Sidenote: Clif Bar also changes their logo to rainbow during pride month on social media (how cool is that!). This really makes a difference. I can tell you that a small detail like a logo change makes me feel welcomed with open arms. Garneau created Frazier and I two custom wedding kits to ride in during the group ride the morning of our wedding. They are detailed with stories and specific experiences from our relationship. Then, they took this gesture to the next level with a photo shoot and telling our story to their entire following on social media, blog, and an email blast. These two actions really impacted me personally but also have reached far beyond me.
As a result of this public celebration of my marriage, I’ve had some people reach out to me to say thank you. Thank you for being who I am and for being so open about it. Before they saw Clif Bar’s or Garneau’s post, they never knew I was gay. Before this, they also didn’t know that their was a space for LGBTQ people in the cycling world. It truly is scary to walk into the unknown. Whether it be coming out to your family and friends or navigating life. I didn’t know if being gay would affect my ability to be on a team or hold onto sponsors. I seriously asked myself the question, will being gay put a road block up to my dreams? Will I be able to pursue my passion if I am in love with a woman? I decided that I couldn’t live a lie, and love has to be more powerful than fear. Luckily, since coming out, for the most part, I’ve had no challenges being gay in the cycling world and in the world at large. I’m lucky to live in Vermont which is a very progressive state (one of the first to legalize civil unions), and I work in an industry that is generally open. I am also completely lucky to have a family that supported me from the minute I came out to them. But, up until now, I’ve never screamed it from the rooftops. When I married Frazier, there was an excitement and love that could not be contained. There was not other option than to celebrate a love like that, and these companies agreed. They are willing to stand with me, celebrate me for who I am, and support me in pursuit of my goals despite who I love. This is a truly powerful and humbling action especially in these divisive times and, for this, I will forever be grateful. Also, because of this, now other women who were asking themselves these very same questions I once was and fearing the worst know. They realize it’s okay to be exactly who they are. Clif Bar and Garneau’s actions have given me and countless others permission to be themselves. Love is love and their recognition of this is truly making the world a better place. These women that have reached out to me were riding with fear into the unknown. Now that unknown is a bit more known. They are comforted to know that there is a space for them in the cycling world.