Youth Voices: Meet DVLF’s Youngest 2015 HEROES Honoree

G Philly partnered with The Attic Youth Center to spotlight the creative magic and cultural contributions of Philly’s LGBTQ youth of color. Today, an insightful chit-chat with Micah Rodriguez, who will be honored with the Youth Hero award at this weekend’s HEROES luncheon

What makes you a good friend?
I open-heartedly accept people for who they are and how they see the world. In society, there are few people who genuinely love people whole-heartedly. I see myself motivating my friends to be just as successful as I could be. I want to see all my friends, family and my partner do well in life. The biggest gift I can give all of them—and the LGBTQIAA community—is my dedication, compassion and hope.

How do you define community and what does your community mean to you?
Community is a group of people who are your village. Community and having support system are very similar in some aspects. For me, community means coming together as one. If you have support in your community, you will feel loved, as I do today. I feel loved by my Attic Youth Center community.

What advice would you give someone who is questioning or considering coming out as LGBTQ?
If I can give some helpful advice to someone who is questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity I would say this: You know yourself better than anyone else on Earth. You know exactly who you love or whom you see yourself as. All you need is to figure out what you feel comfortable calling that. The best thing to do is find your support system or your community. Those will be the people who help you when you’re not feeling strong.

Who inspires you?
Bayard Rustin, the activist from Pennsylvania, inspires me as a path-maker. I believe he paved the way for people like me to see that being out as LGBTQIAA is a brave thing to do. In being out, you can motivate others to be themselves as individuals. I look up to Bayard Rustin because he was an out gay man of color and he was working behind the scenes of the March on Washington. If he can organize something so large and outstanding, I, as a Hispanic genderqueer person, can do the same. I would like to motivate people to stand up for themselves and be proud of who they are. It’s okay to be you.

What do you imagine for your future?
I hope that in my future I am helping more in the LGBTQIAA community. I aspire to be a more positive influence for the community. I see myself writing and publishing my poetry and short stories on the different experiences being LGBTQIAA in school and at work. I also see myself painting more and going off to college.

See Micah accept her award along with a handful of other Philly Gayborhood movers and shakers at this weekend’s HEROES luncheon. More information here