Soul Sessions Podcast: Fabian Nelson
On today’s show, Fabian Nelson is a real estate broker, a dad and a board member of Capital City Pride, advocating for the LGBTQ+ community in Jackson.
Fabian’s work as a champion for change brings to the forefront efforts to create a more equitable community.
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Paul: This is Soul Sessions, conversations on culture from Jackson, Mississippi. I'm your host, Paul Wolf, bringing you a look at the people, the places, and the events that make us the City With Soul.
On today's show, Fabian Nelson is a real estate broker, a dad, and a board member of Capital City Pride: advocating for the LGBTQ+ community in Jackson. Fabian's work as a champion for change brings to the forefront efforts to create a more equitable community.
Paul: Hey Fabian, thanks so much for being here today.
Fabian: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me today.
Paul: Yeah, Fabian, you are an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community here in Jackson and across the state. And I want to know: to you, what does that work encompass? What does it mean?
Fabian: Well, being an advocate fighting for equal rights for our community, that is vital. Because there's still so many things that are happening within our community, such as discrimination in healthcare, in getting jobs, housing. I'm a real estate broker by trade. And so I see all of the discriminatory things that are happening to our people. So just advocating so that we can have an equal and fair shot as everyone else.
Paul: Advocating for equality for your people. What does that look like? It seems obvious, but maybe our listeners may think, "What's to fight for? What are we fighting for?"
Fabian: We are fighting so that we can live our lives just as everyone else, and not have to worry about being fired because of our sexual orientation. Not being denied service in restaurants and other establishments because of our sexual orientation and who we choose to love.
Fabian: We want to be treated just like everyone else, because ultimately we're just like everyone else.
Paul: Fabian, we mentioned that you're a part of the Capital City Pride organization here in Jackson, a nonprofit who is fighting for equal access for people in the LGBTQ+ community.
Paul: You specifically are on their advocacy committee as a board member. Tell me about some of the initiatives that you all are working through at this time.
Fabian: There's so much work to be done. There's so many things that we're currently advocating for. Just to mention a few, we're really advocating for transgender rights to make sure our transgender community are protected, given equal protections.
Fabian: We're advocating for our transgender youth to make sure that they have a safe space, and that they know that they're valued and that they're loved. We're also doing some things around HIV advocacy to increase testing, to promote PrEP, which is a prevention for HIV. Because as we know, it's wreaking havoc on the African American LGBTQ community. So we're trying to get the word out that there are things that can actually help prevent HIV.
Also for those living with HIV, we're trying to make sure that they have resources readily available to assist them with the treatment that they need, so they can live a normal and healthy life.
Paul: Yeah. I love an organization like Capital City Pride, who is giving resources and opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community to learn and to gather, and in this case, to celebrate.
It's Pride Month: we're coming toward the end of it here. But the organization has been a part of so many fun activities this month. Have you been participating in those?
Fabian: Yes. We have had so many things going on in the month of June for Pride Month, and I'm very proud. I will say that this is probably the most events that we've ever had during Pride Month in Mississippi. And the thing I do want to tell you about Pride is, Pride is a celebration of yourself.
You know, a lot of people box it into the corner of, "Oh, it's just gay pride." One of my sons asked me last week, he said, "Dad, can you tell me what is Pride?"
And I said, "Well, Pride is a celebration where people come and they celebrate who they are. It's not limited to gay, transgender, black, white ... It's not in a box. It's just you're celebrating who you are, and you're living in your authenticity."
We have people, allies that come out. It's just a big celebration, and people absolutely love it.
Paul: A Pride event is always a fun event. I can promise you that the ones that I've been to here in Jackson, everyone is welcome. Everyone is comfortable and safe and just having a fantastic time. And I know that'll be the case for this weekend's Pride Block Party and Gayrage Sale this weekend in Fondren. Can you tell me more about those events?
Fabian: Most definitely. It is going to be absolutely amazing. Make sure if you come out that you dress appropriately, because it's going to be 101 degrees. So dress appropriately, and you may want to bring some water.
But we're going to have a Gayrage Sale. We have so many items to choose from coming to our sale, as you know, with Capital City Pride.
What we do, we have a big Pride Festival in October. We donate the proceeds from the Pride Festival to a local nonprofit. And we're doing this to actually help our community.
All proceeds that we're going to be getting from the Block Party and the Gayrage Sale are going to go directly to fund our Pride event, which is where we're taking money, giving it back to our community, to nonprofit organizations.
So we encourage you to come out and support this great cause, and have a great time with us, while we bring Pride Month to a close.
Paul: And there's a Drag Show and a Drag Brunch both also this weekend, right?
Fabian: That is correct. And as you know, our Drag Brunches are always a big hit. So for Pride Month, we're doing it big and better, and we're going to have two.
We're going to have a Drag Show on Saturday featuring one of the girls from RuPaul's Drag Race. I can't tell you who it is ... You guys have to come and see.
And then we're going to have our normal brunch on the Sunday as well. The Drag Show on Saturday, it's going to be at Dooley Hall at six o'clock, but it's at the Summit on Sunday for our Drag Brunch.
Paul: We'll put links to those tickets, if there are any left, in our show notes.
All right, switching gears just a little bit here, Fabian. You bring friends and family in to Jackson, and you want to show off your city and the things that you love. Where would you take them? What would you do?
Fabian: Oh my God, there are so many places. Well, the first thing they're going to have to do, they're going to have to get some good old Southern foods. I'm going to take them to some of the nicest restaurants that we have to offer.
Another thing I'm going to do is make sure we take them to the Civil Rights Museum downtown, the Two Museums down there. That is absolutely an amazing place; it's something great that has come to the State of Mississippi.
I'm going to just make sure they can see some of this good old Southern culture that we have down here, and why it's so homey here in Mississippi.
Paul: Fabian, before I let you go, I always ask this question at the end. And that is: what makes Jackson such a special place? Why do you want to make Mississippi's capital city the place to be?
Fabian: Okay. I think what makes Jackson so unique and so wonderful is our sense of family, our sense of community. Regardless of what people say about Jackson and what people say about Mississippi, we're still one big family. We don't always agree on everything, unfortunately. But that's only in a perfect world will that happen.
But at the end of the day, there's so much love here. There's so much support here. There's no better place to raise a family. I'm a single dad. I have four boys. And just the sense of community: my friends step up, my friends and family step up whenever I'm working, traveling for work, doing whatever I need to do.
I always have a strong support system to help me, because like they say, "It takes a village." And I have a village when it comes to raising my boys. I couldn't imagine raising them anywhere else. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
Do we have a lot of work to do here? Yes, we do. But we are going to get it done. We're going to pull our bootstraps up and get the necessary work done that's in front of us.
Paul: He is a real estate broker, a father, and an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community here in Jackson and across the state. Fabian Nelson, thanks so much for being here today.
Fabian: Thank you so much. And thank you for all the work that you do, letting people know how great our city is.
Paul: Soul Sessions is the production of Visit Jackson. Our executive producers are Jonathan Pettus and Rickey Thigpen. To learn more about our organization and mission, head to visitjackson.com.
I'm Paul Wolf, and you've been listening to Soul Sessions.