I Am the Captain of My Soul
“Things started changing when I realized I am the captain of my soul. It’s all on me. It’s actually me who gets to decide how beautiful I want to live in this life.”
Dallas Graham truly loves people. He visited Encircle on March 20th to share his story, and brought a serene, sincere energy with him. He began his talk with a hug for every single person in the room.
Dallas lights up when he talks about his work as an artist and co-author giving a voice to young creatives across the country who are living in extraordinary circumstances. In 2013, he started the Red Fred Project, which publishes stories written by ordinary children who happen to have rare or life-threatening illnesses. Through these books, the project brings to light the ideas of 50 kids with 50 different diagnoses from each of the 50 states. He says that the fact he gets to give children a platform for their creativity in his everyday work is a dream, but he knows that “The art I get to do now wouldn’t be happening if I hadn’t been honest with myself” and come out as gay.
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Dallas grew up a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He dated wonderful women while majoring in art at Brigham Young University, loved going to church, even worked for Especially for Youth. Yet, around age 25 he realized he was getting butterflies for men. He was so scared when he decided to come out, but a friend encouraged him, telling him he would remember it as one of the best days of his life.
When Dallas came out to a couple of his siblings soon before his graduation from BYU, he had no idea what would happen and was “afraid [he] would destroy everything.” But they immediately held him and supported him. He received an incredible outpouring of love from his friends and family, more love than he thought was even possible.
Dallas believes that going through the difficult process of coming out sharpens and refines minds and hearts, and helps LGBTQ human beings become better equipped to take on the world’s big problems.
“We have an amazing responsibility and opportunity to reach out to so many people because we know what it feels like to be the one of twenty that isn’t the same. We have a big awesome responsibility to love others.”