Hickey: An ode to Lexi StaplesWritten by Emily Hickey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, oftentimes friends come and go, whether due to a person’s sexual orientation or the natural progression of friendship. More and more, I have come to realize that true friends show themselves in the most difficult of times. These past few months have been extremely difficult for me and I have realized just how lucky I am. I have many beautiful and supportive people surrounding me who only lift me higher. However, there is one friend in particular who has helped me reach the sky throughout these past few months.
Lexi Staples, owner of OUTSKiRTS Toledo, is not your typical best friend. She is often so busy that movie nights are a rarity and scheduling “meetings” to just have a drink and talk is a frequent occurrence. Her heart is made of pure gold and her passion is to help everyone around her understand and accept the differences in the world.
She will sit and hold your hand through any tough time and she will go above and beyond to heal your hurt, asking for nothing in return.
I am lucky enough to call her a best friend.
While we don’t text 24/7 or spend holidays with each other’s families as best friends might do, Lexi is my rock. She’s helped me heal through my breakup, she’s helped me get back into the dating world and she has helped me to discover my strong desire to change the world. And let me tell you, absolutely none of the above is easy.
Healing from a breakup can pause one’s entire world; dating can make you feel as if you’ve had to rewind to a point when you can’t remember how to move forward; and changing the world feels as if you’re moving in slow motion. In time, and with such great friends, I knew it could all be possible. Lexi has taught me that anything is possible.
I first met Lexi through a great friend named Brent. Brent worked on the first Toledo Pride and when I volunteered to pick up trash the first year, he suggested that I join the planning committee. As I walked into the first Toledo Pride committee meeting, I was slightly terrified to meet the woman in charge of it all. I even remember my palms getting sweaty and my voice cracking when I spoke up.
It was in that same moment that I met a person who would be a catalyst for my passion to change the world.
It has been an amazing three years being involved in Toledo Pride. I’ve seen the event grow from 2,500 to 5,000 to just fewer than 10,000 attendees this past year, and absolutely none of this could have happened without the leadership of Lexi. Not only is she a great friend to me, but she is also a great friend to the Toledo LGBT community. Her ideas are often far-reaching but she never ceases to amaze me when she successfully pulls them off.
Lexi is a huge part of why I am so proud to be a part of the Toledo LGBT community. It is her neverending faith, as both a friend and an advocate, that everything will be OK that has gotten me through everything these past few months.
While I am surrounded by some of the most amazing friends I could ask for, I am forever grateful that I have had the good fortune of meeting Lexi.
Having friends in the LGBT community means having someone who understands the struggle, someone who gets the complications and the amount of strength it takes to just try and be like everyone else.
Emily Hickey is an advocate for the LGBT community through her work with Toledo Pride and OUTSKiRTS.