#PeopleofNEI: Travis and Thad Gerardot, celebrating Pride in Northeast Indiana

Northeast Indiana is evolving. These are the people and places shaping its future. #PeopleofNEI #PlacesofNEI

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On the last day of pride month, we are featuring Thad and Travis Gerardot who were married in Fort Wayne in 2018 and have been together for nearly six years. Thad, 34, ran for a seat in the Indiana House of Representatives District 81 in 2014 and met his now-husband Travis, 28, that same year. They both work in downtown Fort Wayne with a house nearby that they purchased over two years ago. Thad says, “Pride month is important because it feels like I’m making up for lost time. I get a whole month to celebrate after all of those lost years.” Travis adds, “For me it’s about remembering and reflecting on the riots, the protests, and how we got here.” Thad says, “These conversations are hard. It’s hard to sit at a table when people said we shouldn’t be allowed to get married. It’s not just about the law; it’s about how we treat other people. I was the first openly gay person in Indiana to run in 2014. What pushed me over the edge was knowing how important it was for a gay Indiana teenager to see someone openly gay in the Statehouse. I felt shut out when I saw 100 straight people in a room debating the value of my life. I currently work at a company that values inclusion, I have a strong friend group, and my family has evolved. My mom now calls Travis her son.” Travis says, “My father is a 73 year old Vietnam Veteran. When I came out he wasn’t very accepting but now to see him love Thad as another son makes me realize how far he has come. There’s been a ton of progress in northeast Indiana. Most of our friends are straight and we don’t feel any different from anyone else when we hang out. Fort Wayne is affordable and has everything we need. If we moved to another city, we probably would be living in an apartment instead of owning a home. We love downtown, the parks, lakes, kayaking, and all the resources within a half hour drive of the city.” Thad adds, “We both want to adopt. We’ve started the research part. We’re saving for it and reached out to others that have been through it. We are an example that the American dream comes in a lot of varieties. You can be gay and live in northeast Indiana and live the American dream just like us.” #PeopleofNEI

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Read more articles by Stephen J. Bailey.

Stephen J. Bailey is a Fort Wayne native and the owner of PH Digital that was founded in 2006. Based out of the Anthony Wayne Building in downtown Fort Wayne, he specializes in web development, SEO development, social media management, and digital marketing campaigns with numerous companies in northeast Indiana. Stephen loves road trips, sushi, his pups, and spending time on our three rivers.
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