• Marriage in Maine

Guest Post: AJ Yarn, Communications Intern

John McKenna's picture
Written by John McKenna
July 24, 2014 - 12:45pm

I was the child with no party tricks, no outstanding talents. I danced ballet until I was 15 and as hard as I tried to make my mother proud I was too terrified of the teachers. Everything I did in those years was to hide myself. The less the teacher called my name or even looked in my direction the better. Yet somewhere along the way of hiding behind people taller than me I found a love for the stage. I still dance but my real passion is public speaking. I was given a voice that can find its way into every corner of an auditorium (this might be fuelled by my dislike of microphones). I suffer from terrible stage fright, yet at every opportunity you will find me up on a stage.

I have lived in Maine all my life, although every summer I usually trek across the world to visit family in England and Australia. My most recent trips have been to Italy and Spain, during both trips I missed their Pride parade! I apparently have a talent for arriving a day late. I used to believe that Maine was rather boring, a simple bookmark in my life until I could go traveling all over the world. I have never been so wrong. Maine is so full of opportunity, sometimes all you have to do is wander around in the woods for a week to see that. But as much as I love the state of Maine, my college search has lead my to California. Something about not shoveling driveways in snow storms for six months might be the cause.

At the start of my Communications Internship with EqualityMaine, I was a bit star struck, not only was I working with people I admired but I had also managed to attain the only internship centered around computers. I plan on double majoring in Communications and Social Justice studies when I go to College. The sudden love for communications and computers took my family and I by surprise. I never understood the importance of them until I started my own student-run organization last december called Faces for Equality. Completely centered on photographing LGBTQ people and their allies in a hope to spread pride and acceptance through the community. The organization is my pride and joy, once I go to college I hope to apply to become an official non-profit.

The whole idea of working with EqualityMaine was, for me, an aspiration, a dream, an unattainable goal.  I had worked with GLSEN (gay, straight, transgender alliance) since I was fifteen, after dropping out of my dance studio, joining their Jump-Start team was the real start to my social justice and queer rights career. I think what pulled me in was all the information, I was so in love with the information. Meeting people with different experiences thrilled me, I felt like I could truly find myself and understand myself. I believe that is one of the ideals that will change the world, giving kids information without waiting for them to become ‘adults’ (whatever that means). Without information we stubble around blind. For me Equality Maine was the powerhouse of information and protection. They had people canvassing streets, phone banking and even coming to my school to talk about marriage equality.

As a rising senior, I spend most of my free time planning out my college essay. In between my internship, keeping my organization updated and working as a host and barback at a restaurant in downtown Portland, there is not a whole lot of time for me to sit back and brain storms essay ideas. I am spending my last summer as a high school student exactly as I want to, busy, busy, busy and forever learning.

AJ Yarn

Communications Intern

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