Blake’s LGBT Community Member Highlight Featuring TJ Richards

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Check out TJ Richards. She is the creator of Dottedllama Productions where she narrates and produces audio books. The link to her website is http://www.dottedllamaproductions.com .

Name:  TJ Richards

Nickname: Teej

Where do you live?  I live in the UK with my gorgeous wife, but I am a Mississippi native at heart!

How do you identify?  Lesbian

What has been your biggest struggle?  My biggest struggle has been convincing my inner voice that I’m actually doing pretty alright.  I have a great wife, a great career and a fulfilling role chairing a national LGBT employee network.  But sometimes that little voice can be very loud!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?  Finding the strength to be myself – to say “no” to society’s expectation that I would marry a guy, have 2.5 children that I would stay home and raise.  That works for some people, but I knew from an early age that it was not the life for me, and finally being able to stand up and say that was the hardest thing I’d ever done.  But it worked out in the end!

What would you say to someone considering coming out of the closet?  Be strong.  Have a support system in place – Google support groups in your area and reach out to some out people that you know – or find some and ask for support.  The internet is a great resource for finding and building support to help you through your low days.  Some people will always take issue with how anyone else lives their lives if it doesn’t agree with what they think – don’t focus on them.  It can be a rocky road at times, but the feeling of not having to pretend every waking moment is priceless.

What are your hobbies?  When I’m not at work I can usually be found narrating audiobooks, reviewing audiobooks, playing on my Xbox, advocating for all identities within LGBT+ community, planning or attending LGBT+ Diversity & Inclusion events, or generally having adventures with my wife.  I’m a busy woman!

What color of the rainbow are you?  Blue is my favorite color. Does that count?

What is your favorite TV show or movie?  Oh wow – only one?  I love all sorts of shows but I always find time for those that have strong female leads, especially if they are embracing an LGBTQ+ identity!  Orphan Black, Sense8, Super Girl, Wynona Earp to name a few.  And of course, the likes of L Word and Lip Service!

Who is your favorite superhero?  Wonder Woman, hands down.  But Super Girl is a close second.

What do you do for work?  I work in corporate security management for an international bank – it’s very interesting work!

Do you own a business?  I’m about to set up my audiobook production side line as a standalone company which is very scary and exciting at the same time!

What is your relationship status?  Happily married to my best friend and partner in crime.

What have you learned about yourself since you came out?  That I am so much stronger than I ever give myself credit for, and that generally people are so much kinder than we give them credit for!

What are your pet peeves?  Being late, and when my wife swaps the toilet paper around so that it hangs from the back – it should hang from the front people!!

What is your favorite thing about you?  I think I’m a pretty loyal and funny person.

Who has been the most influential person in your life?  My Wife – she always makes me want to be a better person and drags me back up when I’m feeling low.

What advice would you give to your LGBT family?  Boost each other’s voices and keep an open mind.  Remember that being LGBTQ+ is only a part of our identities, our community includes parents, disabled people, people of color, people of faith, men, women and children.  Don’t let hatred or bigotry into our community, and call it out when you see it.

What is your biggest strength?  I’m always looking for silver linings in every situation and rarely without a smile for long.

What is your biggest weakness?  Procrastination!

Do you have pets?  I would have an animal farm if I could and in the past I’ve had dogs, cats, chickens and quails.  Currently we have one dog and 3 very spoiled cats.

What is your favorite book?  There are too many to count, that’s like asking a Mom to pick her favorite kid!  I love anything with strong women overcoming obstacles – from Anne of Green Gables to Santa Olivia to Sister Safety Pin.

Do you have any phobias?  Cockroaches – they skitter and move faster than I think nature intended.  It’s horrible.

Who was your first crush?  Xena – strong, bad ass and generally didn’t give a crap what anyone else thought about her.  She was amazing.

What is your happiest memory?  Saying “I Do” in front our friends and family.  And recently marching in my first Pride parade in London.  The crowds were 20 deep, everyone was cheering and waving rainbows and showing so much love as my wife and I held hands and walked down the street, waving and smiling and giving people high fives.  I never thought that either of these things would ever happen to me when I first came out.  It still makes me a little emotional, and I use the memories as a constant reminder that things can get better!

If you had 24 hrs to live, what would you do?  Go on one last adventure with my wife – maybe skydiving and a hot air balloon ride (maybe even together!) and then a lovely picnic in the sun where we would chat and giggle and smile before falling asleep in each other’s arms.

Dottedllama Productions

Email: dottedllama@gmail.com

Website: dottedllamaproductions.com

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