Get to know Lavender‘s 2019 Pride Cover and a Cruise contest winner: Beth Mejia!
The world can be a scary place. In a time when marginalized communities are facing unprecedented strife in America and abroad, every little bit of love and support goes a long way. Twin Cities Gay For Good co-founder Beth Mejia is one such ray of sunshine.
“I was one of the chairs and board of governors for Human Rights Campaign, and then I took a break, and my friend knows me well enough that he’s like, ‘What are you going to do next?’” said Mejia. “And I’m like, ‘Well, you know, I think I want to be a little more authentic about who I am and making sure that I get out and I am doing something that I really truly love, and that’s caring for people in different ways.’”
Mejia’s capacity for nurturing is well-documented. She currently serves as a board member for the North Memorial Health Foundation, working as a Community Leader and Specialty Imaging Tech.
“I think I’ve always known that I’ve been a caregiver from the time that I was a kid,” said Mejia. “I have worked at Allina, but now I’ve worked at North Memorial for the last six years.”
She also regularly consults with local nonprofits and GLBT advocacy groups. But it was her discovery of the national Gay For Good (G4G) organization.
“Gay For Good is an LGBTQ volunteer-based organization that goes out in the community and does service projects with environmental and social nonprofits,” said Mejia. “We have 15 chapters throughout the nation right now, and we’re growing everywhere from the Twin Cities—which I founded—to San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Dallas. We’re basically getting out there and doing good for our communities and really kind of trying to bridge that gap between the LGBT community and the greater community, and making sure that we’re out there and we’re present.”
Mejia also serves as the National Vice Chair for G4G, and was instrumental in getting the Twin Cities chapter on its feet five years ago.
“I went out to Los Angeles to go learn about it, and then I brought it back and got a core group of people together and said, ‘Let’s do this here,'” said Mejia.
Mejia grew up on the north side of Minneapolis before moving to the northern suburbs with her family, eventually attending high school in Anoka. Discovering her sexuality as teen in that area at that particular time in history wasn’t exactly a breeze.
“I think I still was in that process of, ‘Is this really who I am?’” said Mejia. “By senior high, I was having a relationship with somebody in high school, but somewhat closeted at the time because I was up at Anoka. So I really came out when I probably about 18 years old.”
Now living in Southwest Minneapolis, Mejia has been loud and proud about being true to herself.
“I’m just me,” said Mejia. “I just live my life authentically and try to be open and vulnerable about who I am as a human being. Yes, we have a long ways to go. I think we all know that. But I think that the way that I live my life is just being authentic about who I am and being out there in the community. It is important that we see the need for (facilitating) diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Mejia says that she’s illustrative of said progress, being that she’s a Mexican-American GLBT individual serving on the North Memorial Health Foundation.
“It’s important so that our kids today can see that, and to empower them, and let them know that you can be anything that you want to be in your life,” she says.
So as she proudly graces Lavender‘s Pride Edition cover this year, what does having pride mean to Beth Mejia?
“In our culture still today, we’re fighting for our rights,” said Mejia. “Pride to me is making sure that they understand that we’re not going anywhere. We’re not stopping who we are. And I think we need a little more good in the world right now. I think we need it more than ever before. And that for me is why it’s so important to let people know that. You can’t bring down people who are just doing good things in the world.”