Kaitlin Mittasch first moved to Forsyth County about three years ago from Houston, Texas, and she said the move was a little bit of a culture shock for her, mainly because she felt like she suddenly did not have a community of people like her anymore.
Most notably, Mittasch could not find a safe space anywhere in the county where she felt she could share her voice as a bisexual woman without judgement or criticism.
“I didn’t know anybody else in the LGBT community,” Mittasch said.
After seeing the outpouring of support in the county for the Black community last month at a protest in downtown Cumming started by a local Facebook group, however, Mittasch and many others in the area felt empowered and ready to try to create further social change in the area.
That led Mittasch and her friend Heather Nicole to team up and create Forsyth County Pride, a local Facebook group aimed at giving those in the LGBT community in the county an online platform to come together, ask questions and share resources — “a place here that is accepting of everybody,” Mittasch said.
Nicole said that she and Mittasch created the group after hearing others that they met at the protest and online vocalize their need for a separate space for LGBT individuals, friends and family. After hearing so many comments and suggestions from others, Nicole eventually decided to just take the lead.
“I saw people keep saying to start a group — that someone should,” Nicole said. “And I decided why not let that someone be me and why not today? As a person searching for her own truth and identity and being fearful of what others may think, I understood the importance of having somewhere safe to go and somewhere to belong without judgement. It’s time for a change and if can’t be tomorrow it has to be today.”
Nicole has not lived in Forsyth County for very long. Her husband grew up in the county, and they decided to move back to Cumming after he got out of the Marine Corps. After hearing about the area’s difficult history with race, however, Nicole took to local online groups to ask for advice before moving, which is where she met Mittasch. As a Black, bisexual woman, she was worried about not being accepted into her new community.
Fortunately, Nicole said that she now loves living in county. She first moved to the area while her husband was still deployed in Iraq, and she said that she is proud to see how much the county seems to have grown and of the “melting pot it has started to become.”
Although Nicole and Mittasch both love the community in Forsyth County, they both said that there is always room to grow.
Mittasch has lived in Cumming for three years, but she said she did not know another person in the LGBT community in the county until she met Heather. She had to travel to Alpharetta or Roswell to be a part of LGBT communities.
“I honestly never thought to make [a group online] because I really just did not feel like there were that many people in the LGBT community that lived here, and so I guess I just never even thought to try until recently,” Mittasch said.
After putting the group up online on July 12, however, Mittasch said that more than 100 Forsyth County residents joined in less than a day.
“It’s surreal that many people at least — they may not all be in the LGBT community, but they’re at least allies,” Mittasch said. “They’re accepting of others, and so it’s just really nice to see.”
More than 20 others have joined since then, and both Nicole and Mittasch said that they are excited to see how the group continues to grow in the future. Nicole explained that this is the first group in the county for LGBT individuals that has had so many members.
Mittasch mostly hopes that the group can accomplish its goal of being a safe space for LGBT community members to come together.
“I feel really proud that we made this because there could be somebody that their entire life living in Forsyth County, they never felt like they belonged,” Mittasch said. “For us to give them a place of acceptance and love, that’s all I could ever want to do for somebody.”