Our Founder

Cecily enjoying their handiwork of putting up their Christmas tree.

Our Founder, Cecily Thomas

Cecily (they/them) identifies as a QTPOC; and uses the labels queer, nonbinary trans, and pansexual. Living with Bipolar II, Anxiety, and PTSD, Cecily prides themself in the joy of research and activism, combining them to be an academic activist.

However, they did not always hold these views. They grew up in an environment surrounded in internalized sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, bred from a centrist-conservative area. Through exposure to education at James Madison University (JMU), and the help of their professors, they began their passion of education and speaking from year one.

In their free time, they avidly crochet and watch Netflix among their research and activism. Their nostalgia lies in the thickness of autumn, with sweaters, cocoa, and blankets, and watching the fall of the patriarchy with a slice of apple pie.

How did they become a speaker?

The first week at JMU, attending an LGBTQ+ organization; they uncovered their queer identity and discovered their internalized homophobia that led to much of their mental health demise. Their passion through a club sprouted onto peer advisory and educating local non-profits through training and research. Building on their exposure, they began speaking at national conventions and schools as a speaker today. Coming out of college with 4 years of non-profit experience, a degree in culturally concentrated communication studies and women, gender and sexuality studies, a pre-law background, 3 conferences, dozens of classroom lectures and awards from the president’s office and the LGBTQ+ center on campus, Cecily began their life post-grad looking to expand their activism and contribute to systemic change in this country.

So, what exactly have they done?

In college, they worked at two non-profits at two years each; their second job at Our Community Place cementing their passion to aid the at risk and homeless population, specifically youth QTPOC. During their time at college, they spoke at the Mid-Atlantic LGBTQIA+ Conference twice in 2017 and 2018 and the 2019 Trans Wellness Conference. From 2017-2019, they were a speaker at JMU’s pride week, “Dukes Pride” and spoke on LGBTQ+ Communication twice and QTPOC in Academia. In 2018, the Continuum of Care; an organization that seeks to eradicate homelessness in the Shenandoah Valley, invited them to speak on LGBTQ+ issues pertaining to homeless folks. Through that, Cecily also completed LGBTQ+ competency training to various classrooms and organizations in the Harrisonburg Area, including Our Community Place. Through the years, Cecily has been published on national activist journal platforms such as Wear Your Voice MagShoutOut!, and Efniks.com, and continues to write to spread their perspective and truth.

Through all of this, Cecily does research in their efforts to continue to be educated and active in the fight for liberation and justice. Their research is the backbone of their trainings, workshops, and presentations, and flows with the development of new information. Research that has not been developed into a lecture is their research on Safe Spaces, and how they affect identity formation. If you’d like more information on this research, please contact them at thectempire@gmail.com

And in a side hustle, they’ve done extensive graphic design for local organizations and their brands. All of their logos, websites, and such are self designed.

Over the years, and especially in Trump’s America; they’ve realized the stem of most hatred is ignorance and internalized intolerance, built up by years in a system that stand to oppress certain populations. In an attempt to mitigate that; they designed and founded Unapologetic, a website that is dedicated to resources and education for all. On there you will find resources, books, research, and more; all free and accessible.