2010 Equality Rider: Kimmy Devries


Name: Kimmy Devries
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Age: 24


When I was young, a very dear friend of mine came out to me.  I knew that I still loved him, and that the only thing that had changed was that he was attracted to men instead of women.  I was young but I knew that the world was not going to see him the same way I did.  I knew I had to be a good friend to him and an ally to all gay people but I was unsure of what to do.  For many years I continued to struggle to figure out the best ways for me to help.  Then in 2007, the Equality Ride came to Calvin College, where I was a student.  I could not sit by silently any longer, I had to act.  I also learned that gay people were not the only ones discriminated against. I began to learn about people who are transgender, and found that they too wanted allies.  I was inspired and encouraged by the Riders.  I felt empowered to do something. 

As the bus pulled away from Calvin I stood there with a handful of other students who also wanted to do more.  We met and continued the conversation that had been started by the Equality Riders.  This group of students, along with a few others, formed a GSA on our campus.  This was the start of my education and journey in supporting all queer people.  The 2007 riders changed my life and ever since I have been passionate about working for queer rights.  I began dreaming of the day that I would be done with school so I could go on the Equality Ride.  I worked everyday for justice while dreaming of going on the Ride.  I hope that by going on this Ride I will be able to give students across the country a sense of empowerment, and give hope to religious LGBT students that they can reconcile their queer identities with their faiths.  I also hope that the conversations that are started at these schools will continue after we leave, as they did at my school.  Finally, I hope that some of the people I meet will find their new best friends, as I did mine. 

The past Equality Rides have brought about great change already and I am so excited to be a part of this movement. I am reminded of what Nelson Mandela once said: "As we are liberated from our fear our presence automatically liberates others."  I am so excited that I will be able to help liberate others from fear through this Equality Ride. 

Kimmy has been sponsored a total amount of $.

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