David Watters is currently finalizing his book, Never Blend In.
The book sets out to highlight and challenge social perceptions of the LGBT community; to understand the causes of low self-esteem and suicide ideation felt by many LGBT individuals and, through a unique collection of inspirational interviews with well known and everyday people, to inspire and encourage the younger generation, or anyone questioning their validity, to lead a balanced, fulfilling and dignified life.
Role models from education, entertainment, law enforcement, medical and emergency services, politics, religion and sports have participated in this accessible and much needed discourse to illuminate the reader’s journey of self-discovery and self- efficacy.
Openly LGBT and successful role model figures can play an enormous part in highlighting the wealth of possibilities available to young people. These people, who are successfully modelling admirable qualities and character traits such as determination, diligence, vision and consistent effort, can only serve to inspire and encourage the younger generation, or anyone questioning their validity, to lead a balanced, fulfilling and dignified life.
Notable voices in the book are Harvey’s colleagues, Anne Kronenberg and Danny Nicoletta; actors Stephen Fry and Alan Cumming; musician Darren Hayes (Savage Garden); Sordid Lives writer Del Shores; Michael Musto; filmmaker, Parvez Sharma; Calpernia Addams; NBA star John Amaechi and authors Lesléa Newman and Tom Rob Smith.
We, as a community, are under or misrepresented in the media and this impacts upon how individuals are perceived and treated by society. Positive, inspirational role models from the LGBT community can have an enormous impact on addressing this and can give hope to individuals who feel less valid and disenfranchised from society.
Most inspiring have been the “regular” people (the Scottish fireman, the Canadian concert pianist, the American professor, the South African artist or the student in Cardiff) who live with authenticity and, perhaps without realizing, are role models and inspirational figures to those whose lives they touch.
The “community” if such a thing exists is diverse but too many live in the shadows. My point, with this book, is that self worth determines our potential and that blending in is a direct result of feeling “less than”, feeling ashamed of how God (whatever that means to you) made you”.
Harvey Milk’s legacy, for this author, is the growing number of proud LGBT individuals who refuse to live lives limited by the judgment of others.
We can be part of society without blending in. To me it means living with 100% authenticity (as Dr Phil or Oprah might say!). We shouldn’t compromise our identity to be accepted and everyone regardless of sexuality or gender identity has a right to fully live.
Life need not be a self-fulfilling prophecy and by recognizing that our “truth” has been shaped through our relationships, our environment and our experiences, we can begin to change our perceptions, heighten our self-esteem and move toward our personal and professional goals with clear vision and purpose….