Crossroads residents celebrate LGBTQ identities with pride, BBQ

A day after National Coming Out Day, about 50 Crossroads residents gathered at Ted B. Reed Park to show their true colors – with pride.

Growing up in a small town as a gay youth was a challenge for Timmy Windoskey.

“I didn’t have anything like this when I was growing up, I didn’t have a community to help me come out,” Windoskey said.

And that’s what this annual BBQ is all about, helping people feel not only comfortable but proud of who they are.

For Donna Fisher, who has attended the BBQ since it started 14 years ago, the pride she feels about this event has grown alongside the number of people involved.

“It has grown, we’ve seen a lot more younger people this time coming in, so, maybe they get their friends together, and we can have a lot more people here,” Fisher said.

Genoveva Alvidres, media spokeswoman for LGBT Victoria, said she was married four different times before coming out and meeting her now partner Of 14 years.

“She has been the light of my life and has made the 14 years here tolerable, not just tolerable but just in life in general, you know, if you’re going to go through hell with anybody in your life, I’d rather have her with me,” Alvidres said.

For Autumn McClure, a transgender woman, of Victoria – it took several years for her to be comfortable with who she is – and it’s events like these that helped her come to terms with her true identity.

“It’s about trans visibility, we just want to inform people of who we are – we’re not bad people, we’re just a little bit different, yes we are. I was born a male yes, later during my years, I figured out I had more feelings of being a female, and I wanted to be a female,” McClure said. “And now at 45 years old I am taking my transition and going from male to female. And I love every minute of who I am, I am embracing myself. It took many years to accept myself as who I am, if there something wrong with me, no, there’s nothing wrong with me.”

And for those afraid of coming out because of how others may react, Windoskey said it’s always best to be true to yourself.

“When you’re growing up, you think it’s the end of the world, or someone is going to hate you or disown you, and if that’s the case, you may not need those people in your life, always be true to yourself and who you are, someone will love you, as long as you love yourself,” Windoskey said.

For more information about LGBT Victoria, follow them on Facebook.