This June, we are honoring Pride and highlighting our LGBTQ+ members! Meet Marshall.
“I was born and raised in Lancaster County just south of Lancaster City. I’m one of eight siblings and was raised in a tight-knit conservative, religious community that emphasized homeschooling and traditional gender roles. I left Lancaster in 2014 to study Political Science and English at Bridgewater College in Virginia before moving to DC to start my career in the communications department at Republican National Committee Headquarters in 2018.
While conservative politics and values were core parts of my identity, I was confronted with the ugly reality of the modern conservative movement while working in Donald Trump’s Republican Party. In 2019, I changed parties and entered the private sector, taking a job in corporate communications and advocacy.
With my job going full-time remote during the pandemic, I moved back to Lancaster City at the beginning of 2021. I came back in search of community and to pursue political organizing where I felt I could have the greatest impact.
In my free time, I love to organize my friends and neighbors to elect people who fight for working people! I serve as the chair of the Lancaster City Democratic Party and on the Lancaster Pride Advisory Board.
If I’m not knocking on someone’s door with a clipboard, you can find me with friends, cooking food with them, working with them on our community garden, or forcing them to watch another bad horror movie. I love indie/alternative music, cinema, biking, and (as everyone at TCF knows) a good game of pickleball.”
Q: What are some of your most cherished moments or memories from past Pride celebrations? Is there a particular Pride event or experience that stands out to you?
A: “My first Pride in DC in 2018. At the time, I was embroiled in a really tough battle to gain basic acceptance from my family in Lancaster. I remember not feeling super into the idea of Pride, but I went to check it out with my boyfriend anyways. I have a vivid memory of approaching the parade route and hearing the roar of the crowd as we entered. Something about the noise and physical presence of thousands of people cheering and celebrating one another for their identities really shook me to my core.”
Q: In your opinion, what is the most significant progress or positive change that the LGBTQ+ community has achieved in recent years? How does it inspire you personally?
A:“Electing so many openly queer legislators. Lancaster sent our very own queer representative, Izzy Smith-Wade-El, to the PA State House in 2022!”
Q: Can you share a heartwarming or funny anecdote related to your LGBTQ+ journey or experiences? Something that brings a smile to your face when you think about it during Pride Month.
A:“I had a professor in college who pushed me to work hard in my classes and helped me get a small grant to do some research. I respected him so much because of how brilliant and passionate he was about his work.
I remember taking my first boyfriend on a walk in a park near my college one day and running into this professor and his family. Watching his face light up when I introduced my boyfriend and having him later tell me he was proud of me still sticks with me. It was such a small act, but it provided validation and support for my identity during a really difficult time.”
Q: How has the Lancaster and/or TCF community impacted your LGBTQ+ journey? Any tips for connecting with others locally?
A: “The TCF community has helped me be myself more fully. It’s such a welcoming community here, and I’m so glad I found it.”