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Mikah Meyer breaks world records and LGBTQ stereotypes 

Queer & There

click to enlarge Meyer flies the LGBTQ flag wherever he goes. (Courtesy Mikah Meyer) - COURTESY MIKAH MEYER
  • Courtesy Mikah Meyer
  • Meyer flies the LGBTQ flag wherever he goes. (Courtesy Mikah Meyer)
Younger generations increasingly seem to accept the idea that gender and sexuality are fluid, that love is love, and that it’s OK, even admirable, to simply be themselves. But even though the number of celebrities and athletes coming out of the closet steadily increases, and stereotypical representations of LGBTQ individuals are slowly beginning to fade away, there are still many misunderstandings about what it means to be LGBTQ. Mikah Meyer, 32, has made it his purpose to shatter those stereotypes.

Born and raised in Nebraska, Meyer didn’t even meet an openly gay person until he was 19 years old. Since he grew up in the early 1980s and 1990s without LGBTQ people in his own life, he now aspires to be an example to others as an openly gay, Christian traveler and world-record holder. His goal: to be the youngest person to visit all 417 areas in the United States national parks system.

Meyer’s great dream of passing through all of the nation’s national parks areas began when he started taking road trips every year at the age of 19 to honor the memory of his late father. This trip is his biggest yet, lasting more than three years, beginning on and circling back to the East Coast. To raise the funds to complete his adventure, Meyer began to publicly reach out and share his story at churches that welcome him and his experiences.

He explains that being raised in an environment without openly LGBTQ individuals or positive LGBTQ role models, he tried to “pray the gay away,” believing that he maybe just hadn’t met the right girl yet. But upon reading the Bible for himself and conducting his own research, Meyer successfully reconciled his religion with his sexual orientation, and came out of the closet when he was 22.

Aside from breaking gay male stereotypes as an avid traveler who braves the elements during his adventures, he also aims to break homophobic Christian stereotypes as an openly gay man by facilitating conversation, especially with Christian denominations that are not publicly accepting of homosexuality. In explaining how traveling has impacted his life he says, “In all my travels, I’ve never met a human who wasn’t motivated by a desire to love and be loved; no matter their race, religion or national affiliation. … Traveling allowed me to realize this universal truth in ways I don’t think I would’ve if I’d never interacted with people who were socialized differently than I.”

He often posts pictures of his travels on social media, proudly displaying the classic LGBTQ rainbow flag in front of scenic views. No matter what state he is in, he holds true to his identity and aspires to be an example to others who might feel conflicted or ashamed, simply because they were socialized to do so. Especially when he visited our Colorado Springs — hometown of Focus on the Family, renowned for condemning homosexuality — he encouraged LGBTQ youth to remember: “They are loved and beautiful as they were made, and there is nothing wrong with them.”

Meyer also thoroughly documents his adventures on his website, including a map of his path so far, which zig-zags around the country. While in Colorado, he explored Mesa Verde, the Florissant Fossil Beds, the Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain National Park and Dinosaur National Park, which he describes as one of his favorite parks in the country. Meyer will loop back around through the Denver and Colorado Springs area in August.

Currently available to attend any church to share his experiences while he is in the area, Meyer will also lead a queer safe-space rafting trip down the Colorado River, which he refers to as “The Wildest Section of the Colorado With the Wildest People You’ll Ever Raft With.”

For more details about the rafting trip or booking Mikah Meyer to come share his story, sing, lead a discussion and Q&A, or to make a contribution to his cause, go to his website: mikahmeyer.com.

Meyer serves as person with a passion to explore both nature and the boundaries of his fears, all in order to live closest to his truth and to help others learn that there is no one way to be LGBTQ.

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