Meet 5 queer trailblazers making visibility matter in small-town America
When Sylvia Ximi was in middle school, she recalls looking around her hometown of Prescott, Arizona, for any sign there were other queer people around. One low-slung building at a four-way stop caught her eye, with “LGBTQ” in its name. “Even as a 13-year-old, I remember thinking, ‘I have to go visit that place,’” Ximi, 29, told LGBTQ Nation. The organization shuttered from a lack of resources before she had the chance.“That was the one place I could find in this town that that was queer and I could have turned to, and I never even got to go inside,” Ximi said. A former frontier town for gold and silver mining in central Arizona’s Yavapai County, Prescott touts the motto, “Welcome to Everybody’s Hometown.” But for Ximi, whose family relocated from Los Angeles when she was 4, that sentiment often seemed disingenuous. “I definitely felt very alone,” Ximi said of her experience coming out, first as bisexual and later as a lesbian, to a few friends at her small high school and eventually to her parents.