Pride Month | Dani Trimmer's Story
In honor of Pride Month, The GIANT Company employee Dani Trimmer shares his story of growth, family, and pride.
Q: Describe your own coming out journey and the path to living as your authentic self.
A: That’s always an interesting question for me. I happened to have a very different situation from most folks that I’ve encountered during our conversations. I knew from an early age I was attracted to both males and females. I was and am fortunate enough to have never had to actually come out. It was never a discussion in my family because, in reality, no one really worried about that nor did anyone care about what my preference was. I also have an older brother, Justin and an uncle, Richard, who is gay and this has been a huge resource of support for me. Their journey, and everyone else’s, was vastly different from my own. Talking with them and actively listening helped me realize that I was not alone and there was nothing “wrong” with me. My sister, Kelly, is also an advocate in the community and has been a massive support system for me. When I introduced my first boyfriend to my family, they engaged with him exactly like they did my first girlfriend. Having this confidence in my life has really helped me realize that there are extremely accepting and caring people that really don’t see people any different because of their sexual orientation.
Q: How do you personally advocate for the LGBTQ community and how do you leverage your role with The GIANT Company to create impact?
A: I actively engage with people consistently who discuss with me how hard it was for me to come out and live in a world that is not always as accepting to people in the LGBTQ+ community. I try and share my own experiences and elaborate how most people don’t treat me any different than anyone else. People have become more accepting of folks in the community and this is a huge step from when people simply tolerated it. As a team member with GIANT, I’m extremely fortunate and proud to help lead some of the events that the company has sponsored and participated in. From the Harrisburg area to the Philadelphia area, GIANT has helped team members with crucial resources that the company offers to help people struggling with their own identity and/or just looking for someone to talk to.
Q: Do you see a change in acceptance now vs. when you were growing up and/or first came out? Is there any moment where you felt that things had changed significantly?
A: I can see a huge difference from where acceptance in society has changed from when I was growing up. However, to be completely frank, I did not really see or hear near anything relating to LGBTQ+ while I was growing up. I was born and raised in lower rural Delaware during the time when the internet was still not common to have in everyone’s home. Media was much slower and progressive mentalities weren’t really a consistent or common occurrence. Fast track to today, and I can see a world of difference from when I was in High School to the present. Is there shaming and bullying over people being different? Absolutely. However, I do see that the mentality is extremely different, and the awareness is much greater to an inclusive environment for those in the community, whether they are younger or a more mature audience. I think the key moment to the shift in direction, in my opinion, is the awareness that has become more widespread. We have a long way to go but it is absolutely heading in a better direction from when I was being raised.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self or youth who may be in the closet and experiencing their own coming out?
A: Things have significantly changed from when I was trying to discover who I was and what I really wanted for myself. There absolutely were times prior to my 20’s where I feared rejection, wanting to fit in with everyone else, my peer and friends, family even. However, I knew that in the end, this would not make me happy. It wouldn’t allow me to reach my full potential, personally or professionally. I needed to find what made me happy and not others. I wish I had been more willing to share how I felt and be open more with my friends. I never hid who or what I am, but mostly because it wasn’t ever brought up. Anyone that is waiting for someone to “pull them out of the closet or come out” it won’t always happen. You have to be comfortable with yourself and realize that it’s okay to feel different. You should be comfortable in your own body and make the choices that make you happy. It shouldn’t always be about making everyone else happy, because in the end, if you’re not happy then you’ll always be asking, what if?
Q: What does PRIDE mean to you and why is it important to celebrate PRIDE month?
A: For me, PRIDE means to celebrate who you are. Coming together as a community and be amongst people that share common interests and even making new friends. There are so many wonderful people that are within the community and allies that support their own friends, family and colleagues. I firmly believe that PRIDE month also has the potential and capabilities to help people that are struggling with their own identity or simply trying to figure out who they are and what they want. It is truly inspiring to me when I see more and more companies each year help celebrate PRIDE and engage their own teams to show their support. I love how PRIDE continues to evolve and to offer resources and support to anyone. I am proud of The GIANT Company in the way they continue to show their engagement in PRIDE. As a company, we show how our differences make us stronger, everyday.