Community organizer, fundraiser, volunteer, writer, and social media personality Shaley Howard has overcome homophobia, bullying, and addiction. After hitting rock bottom in 2006, she came out of rehab with a new worldview. Instead of prioritizing money, success, and partying, she dedicated herself to helping her community. “It’s our relationships in life that give us meaning and purpose,” she says. She has since lived that purpose through her work with non-profit organizations like Human Rights Campaign, Oregon Recovers, and Oregon Tradeswoman, Inc. She also founded Portland Women’s 3×3 Basketball Tournament, which in its 10-year run raised over $55,000 for the Human Rights Campaign. But one of her most rewarding moments was a meeting with an out gay 8-year-old girl whose mother reached out to Howard after seeing her on a Portland Timbers FC billboard. “Having grown up in an era when literally no one in my life looked like me and [I had] no one I could turn to for support, meeting with her was one of the most rewarding aspects of my life and work,” Howard recalls. Howard hopes to soon publish her memoir, Excuse Me Sir! Memoir of a Butch, and go on a book tour. Given the political climate for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years, Howard believes finding and sharing experiences and commonalities is more important than ever. She hopes that her story will resonate with other LGBTQ+ individuals and, at the very least, let them know they’re not alone.