Oh my goodness, you guys. I met an amazing human a couple weeks ago and I want you to meet him too. For those of you who follow me on my pageant Instagram, you may already know that a couple of weeks ago, I had the fabulous honor of being on the judges’ panel for the Worcester Pride Pageant. Side note: it was one of the most incredible, inspiring, positive, and empowering events that I have ever been to. Also on the judges’ panel, dashingly stepping out in suit and tie was 23 year old Joe Di Mauro. World changer at birth, Joe has already blown my mind with his passion for service and his heart for the LGBTQ+ community. It came to me pretty quickly that the best way for you to get to know Joe (because everyone should- he’s so cool) is to hear part of his story straight from the source. Check out my interview with Joe below and prepare to be astounded by how much he has accomplished!
Who or what inspired Project Fearless?
As I started to share my story publicly, I quickly realized that the more I was speaking about mental health struggles- people all around me had a connection to it. The word fearless to me isn’t the absence of fear, it’s acknowledging what scares you and still living your life despite your fears. See more about Project Fearless here.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the LGBTQ+ community today?
Donald Trump, this administration, is detrimental to the LGBTQ community. Our movement often forgets who led the way, who started it… Trans Women of Color; Marsha P Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Storme. We are all not free until Trans women of color are free/safe to be themselves.
What will your life look like 10 years from now?
I hope I’m in a backyard of my own, sipping lemonade with my little family. Husband, kids, a dog. I work full time in politics, but I would like to become a therapist someday. But most importantly I hope 10 years from now I’m happy and healthy
What is one thing that someone who doesn’t support the LGBTQ+ community needs to hear?
I guess it depends on their reasoning behind not supporting the community. I’ve grown up in a very religious home, I had an aunt read the Bible to me when she found out I was gay… many people will never have a change of heart, and that’s okay. I believe now that it’s no longer my place to convince people that I’m just as human as them. I plan to live my life so beautifully and authentically- maybe that will change hearts.
One place in RI that everyone should visit at least once?
JAMESTOWN. I love Warwick (hometown), Providence, Narragansett, and Newport. But Jamestown is a hidden gem. It’s my favorite place in the world: the cliffs, the beaches, the sunsets.
Why is it important to “stay fearless”?
Stay fearless has been my life mantra since I was 16 and in therapy for the first time. Fearlessness isn’t always a roar, sometimes it’s a young boy with depression telling themselves that it’s okay to not have it all together.
As a titleholder (Mr. Gay Rhode Island 2016), what is one thing that you’ve taken away or learned from pageant life?
I truly admire people who can do more than one reign!! It was an amazing year, something I’ll hold with me for a very long time. My reign opened up so many doors for me, I was able to give a platform to an issue I care deeply about and I’ve met the most incredible people this community could offer.
What can readers expect to find in your new book, Spectrum?
It took me 3 years to write but will take you less than 3 hours to read. It’s a collection of poems, ensights, and memories of my life in what was the hardest year of my life. I was going through a major break up, I was a victim of sexual assault, I lost a cousin to violence, it was a traumatic year that I was able to fight my way out of. The chapters are called: Sleepwalking, The Nightmares, Daydreaming, Awakening and Conscious. You can check out Spectrum on Amazon here.
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