EVERYONE HAS STORIES, everyone has hopes and dreams. In this photo essay, our friends at Q Center and SMYRC (Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center) introduced us to some people—juniors and seniors from the LGBTQ community—who possess very interesting life stories, and dreams aplenty.

  • Anna Jaye Goellner

Ricky Coleman

(preferred pronoun: she/her, age 65)

"I'm a transgender woman, assigned male at birth, but was never comfortable in my own skin. I'm a "late bloomer," having finally found out who I was in 2009 at the age of 60. Feeling I could not jeopardize my job (being two years from retirement), I waited to transition to female until I moved from Idaho. I owed it to myself to find out what these feelings were all about, and why I felt I was somehow flawed as a male. I had been hiding these feelings, dressing as female in secret, but being "caught" a few times from childhood (age 12) through two marriages and ultimately two divorces. My feelings have run the gamut from thinking I might be a gay man, to believing I needed to be deprogrammed. I have a friend who's transgender and says she was 'born with a birth defect'—I like that description. That is me. I hope to have that birth defect repaired very soon. I am pre-operative, meaning I haven't had gender-confirming surgery, but have been on hormone replacement therapy since 2011.

"I retired in June 2011, loaded up the U-Haul in Moscow, Idaho, and headed west to Portland to discover if I could live 24/7 as Ms. Ricky Coleman. I've never looked back or doubted my decision. I've had incredible support from family—including two daughters—friends here and some I left behind, and my exes. I consider myself very lucky. Others' journeys have been very difficult and some have not survived—that breaks my heart. I want to be a role model; a little fish in a big pond that maybe makes a small difference to someone who's scared to death to show their true selves."

  • Anna Jaye Goellner

Luke

(preferred pronouns: he/she/they, age 21)

"In 10 years, I plan to have my degree in community development. I believe that once you help communities help themselves, you change the world for the better."

  • Anna Jaye Goellner

Martin Wolfe

(gay male, age 62)

"I moved to Portland six years ago from... where else? Los Angeles. I love the lifestyle up here; forward thinking coupled with healthy living. I met a slightly older man online shortly after I arrived, and we've been dating for 5.5 years. We're now on the verge of buying a home and spending the rest of our lives together. Marriage is in the picture if we can stand being a full-time couple! Yes, you can find happiness in your 60s. I'm active as an artist, and do volunteer work at the art museum, opera, and Friendly House. I'm also a friendly visitor to an elderly gay man with Parkinson's. My life is satisfying and somehow I managed to do it comfortably. It's great when a lifetime of living comes together in a pleasing way when you're older—just don't call me old!"

  • Anna Jaye Goellner

Tyler Rouse-Kaminski

(preferred pronouns: he/him/his, age 20)

"Being in foster care for 14 out of 20 years challenges you to think in a positive way—or it can feel like you're just not going to make it. That life experience really helped build my confidence, independence, and has given me strong willpower. I feel lucky because I haven't had that much bullying happen to me for being gay.

"I'm a big believer in comforting others when they seem down, because I want to give others around me a better experience than I had growing up. In the future, I want to be close with my partner and married, with a place of our own somewhere in Portland. I love this city. It feels like my creative home. I really hope Portland doesn't push the creative types out because that's what makes it so unique. I hope my body will eventually conform to how I identify. And lastly, I hope the queer community will have changed for the better and there is more outreach specifically for LGBTQ youth who are homeless. I want to see more resources in this city."

  • Anna Jaye Goellner

Jeanne Powrie

(lesbian, age 74)

"At 74, I guess I now qualify as being a senior—though I still don't quite know how I suddenly arrived here. I was raised in a small logging town in Southern Oregon. Very lucky to be able to enter the University of Oregon on my 18th birthday, fell in love with another woman when I was 19, but was later 'found out' by the dean of women. She insisted I work as a maid and go to counseling to convert me to 'normal.' That didn't work, because my first lover and I lived together for seven years. My very successful family threatened to force me into the Oregon State Hospital—so it's been a long, long difficult journey to self-acceptance. Diagnosed by Dr. Ira Pauly as transsexual, I was the first to have this type of surgery (at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland). I lived as a man for nearly 10 years, and after five difficult years alone came to realize I was 'okay' just as I was—as a woman. I returned to graduate school, became a physical therapist, and bought a house in Irvington. I have been very fortunate in realizing that therapy/social work intervention was the door that led me out of self-hatred. I am not partnered, but I drive my 1950 MG TD with a rainbow flag and smile (read: gloat) that I have lived an extraordinary life."

  • Anna Jaye Goellner

Mantas

(preferred pronouns: he/she/they, age 23)

"I tend to have a positive outlook on life. I continuously try to find ways to love and accept myself as a person. Since I am bilingual in English and Lithuanian, I would like to partake in educating people on various LGBTQ issues in the US and Lithuania. I'm hopeful that people will learn to understand and accept LGBTQ people—not just in the US, but also in other countries."


More Pride Issue Articles:

All Hail the Outsiders!

Parade of Champions

Junior/Senior

It's Hard Out Here for a "B"

Queers in Comedy

Support The Portland Mercury

Even Churches Can Evolve

Our Top 10 Pride Picks

Your Pride 2015 Event Guide

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