Name: Denise ‘Seven’ Bailey
Where did you grow up? Winona, MN
Where do you live? Minneapolis, MN
Who do you live with? My wife, roommate, two bunnies, cat, dog, and our turtle.
What is your occupation? Senior welding instructor, certified welding inspector, and welder/fabricator.
When did you come out? When I was 16.
How’d that go? I realized I was really gay after seeing a preview for the Best Kiss on the MTV Movie Awards. It was for the movie Bound. I immediately ran out to rent it and watched it on a constant loop for the next few months. Soon after, Ellen came out and I thought it was about time I do the same. Coming out to my friends was easy because they, too, had watched the magic that was Bound. My mom, on the other hand, wasn’t overcome with joy, she told me to hold off on telling my stepdad. The beautiful thing is, my stepdad had the best reaction ever after I told him that I just love people for people. He said, “I think that’s a great way to go about life.” Growing up as one of the only black kids in town, I was often stared at, harassed, and talked about. By the time I was a teenager, I knew exactly who I was and being gay is something I couldn’t and wouldn’t hide.
When do you wake up? 6 a.m.
Phone alarm or old school alarm? Phone; I check it twice before I go to bed every night. My wife lovingly makes fun of this routine.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning? After I turn off the alarm? Immediately brush my teeth.
Breakfast? ALWAYS! Oatmeal with flax, hemp hearts, chia, and two scoops of my protein powder.
Coffee? Two cups, one while I make breakfast and one for the road.
Cream or no? Soy or coconut milk.
How do you spend your commute? My commute is about five minutes; paying attention to the road as people aren’t always that sharp first thing in the morning.
If your job were like a yearbook, what would you be voted? Most Resilient.
What inspires you? #Blackgirlmagic
Do you eat your lunch while working or take a break? Depends on the day. I retract that, I’m constantly working through the day.
Is your work space tidy or a hot mess? TIDY! I feel like a cluttered space clutters the mind.
What’s been your favorite job? Welding instructor. Every day I get to help people achieve their goals, manifest dreams, and share skills that will allow for them to provide for themselves for the rest of their lives.
Who are your heroes? It’s 2018, my current SHEroes are: Janelle Monáe, Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Andrea Jenkins, Marley Dias.
Favorite weeknight meal: Go out, take out, or cook in? So I love to cook, but on days that I need a break I go to my current obsession, Agriculture. The Agra Harvest Bowl with tofu is my jam.
Most embarrassing moment: Being called a racist word in a lunchroom full of a hundred kids and not knowing what it meant. I was only about seven years old at the time, instead of crying I yelled it back while all the other kids laughed at me. Later that week I was asked to write about a time that I was embarrassed and it was fresh in my mind. I kept the letter and hid it in my drawer at home where my mom found it and of course she read it. It must have broken her heart to know that I had gone through that. My mom’s approach to explaining the meaning of the word was very direct, she had me look that word up in the dictionary and read it out loud. Even to this day, the impact of that experience still has so much weight to it.
On a usual weeknight, you are doing what? Cooking dinner, meal prepping, and hanging with my family.
Bedtime: 9:30 p.m.
Favorite weekend activity: Producing shows and throwing events with my wife, Sweetpea.
What are you most proud of and why? Finding equanimity within myself. Almost my whole life I had struggled to find calm in a world that is often chaotic. This past year, something shifted in my life. I found a beautiful balance within my mind that has allowed me to navigate the world with a new light and direction.
Words of wisdom to share: Falling down and scraping your knees teaches you to look where you are going.