Vulnerability as Confidence — Our Q+A with Pride Luminary Tommy Dorfman
This year's PRIDE Luminary for the Extra Vert candle is Tommy Dorfman (they/them). Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Tommy is an American actor known best for their role as Ryan Shaver on Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. They describe themselves as an activist, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and fighting against racism.
ON EXTRA VERT — "It smells like a Virginia Slim inside of Ample Hills' mint ice cream. EXTRA VERT smells like the first day of spring in New York City or pavement after it rains. It really does. It reminds me of Lake Martin, Alabama." —Tommy
Tommy, what does being queer in 2021 mean to you?
Being queer in 2021, personally, means just being authentic to myself and not making sacrifices for other people's comfort. You know, I used to feel guilty and sort of shameful for taking up too much space or being too loud or being too outspoken or asking for things that I need to feel safe and to feel confident and beautiful. And, I think in the last few years, honestly, maybe just with age and maybe this is just a thing after your frontal lobe develops and you grow up a little bit, I've realized that, at the end of the day, if I'm not asking for the things that I need to feel safe and to feel supported, then I'm doing everyone around me a disservice. I think now, sticking up for myself and just being really, really honest across the board.
When do you feel your most radiant?
I feel the most radiant after a bath.
What do you smell like?
I think naturally, I smell kinda floral, like a daisy. I probably smell like my dogs too because they are all over me when I'm home and we sleep together, duh.
What’s your favorite sinful activity?
My favorite sinful activity is smoking in bed after sex. My other favorite sinful activity is eating a whole pint of ice cream. I don't know why that feels sinful to me. It shouldn't.
What does community mean to you?
Community, to me, is surrounding myself with people who are able to see me authentically for who I am, as the person that I am. I don't have to, and none of us have to, sacrifice our authentic selves to be around one another. Community is unconditional love and support and also accountability.
Why is sharing important?
Sharing is important because it's an act of service and if you're not in service, you're in self. And for me, when I'm in self, I'm living selfishly and only thinking about what I want and what I need. I've found that through sharing — through sharing opportunities, sharing my platform, sharing wealth and food and abundance and clothing and shelter, sharing laughter and sex and joy and friendship and sorrow and grief, all of those things make you less selfish and they make you more connected and foster a deeper relationship with the people in your community, with the people that you love, with your chosen family. And sharing is caring, period.
What do you fight for — what’s your agenda?
I fight for many different things. I think, first and foremost, oxygen mask on yourself first. I fight for the youngest, most fragile version of myself as a kid. I fight for members of my community, under the large umbrella of alphabet people who are significantly more endangered and marginalized than myself. And I fight for love, period. Above all else, I fight for not judging other people. I fight against those of us who are suffering from homelessness and joblessness because of our identity. I've spent many years advocating for and inserting myself probably into conversations I don't really belong to ensure safety above all else for queer youth.
What does PRIDE feel like?
Pride feels like jumping in the ocean on a really hot day. Pride feels like the most delicious popsicle in your mouth. I'm most proud of my friends when they accomplish things that they have been striving towards and dreaming about and hoping for and working tirelessly for years and I get to see them have that moment and I feel so proud of them. I'm proud to be in their lives and proud to share in this weird world we're living in. If Pride were a scent, Pride would smell like grapefruit spritz. Or it would smell like sweat, but like, the good kind of sweat.
What do you love to indulge in?
I love to indulge in sleeping. I think sleeping rights for all. I think we don't talk about sleeping enough. I love to have, like, fake sick days and indulge in just literally laying in bed 'cause I've become quite a lazy girl. And I think that's okay. I feel incredible indulgent now. I feel soft and luscious and like I'm ready for a nap.
What outrages you?
I'm outraged by people who lack chivalry, who cut you off. Even though I feel like a person who wants to force my values of human rights and equality on people, I'm outraged by the other side who wants force their values of inequality, in my mind. I'm outraged by people who feel the need to control other people's bodies and what they do with them, to control what sports people play, to control where you're allowed to go to school. I'm outraged by a system I've benefited from for my entire life that has so sorely and outrageously robbed lives from so many people in this country.
What’s your message to today's queer youth?
You are loved. You are divinely held. You are sacred beings and everything in this life is temporary. So, just keep holding on. Reach out to friends. Make new friends, if your friends are shitty. Try not to take every minute so fucking seriously. We're here for you, every step of the way.
Boy Smells' Pride 2021 Collection benefits The Trevor Project, the the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. Boy Smells is committed to a minimum donation of $100,000, with 10% of Boy Smells' proceeds from each sale going directly back to support the essential services they provide.
We're incredibly thankful to the diverse group of creators that came together to make this campaign possible including —