WACO, Texas — Jillian Ohriner has bounced around to different cities, and says she was always particularly worried about moving to Waco.
Being bisexual and Jewish, she wasn't sure if she would be accepted in Central Texas for living her truth. Her experience in her three years thus far, has been one of love rather than hate, she said.
"Of all the cities I've lived in, Waco has been one of the loudest and proudest, most supportive places," Ohriner, founder of We Grow the Co, said. "Which really surprised me because I was really worried when I moved here."
Ohriner says she is outspoken for the LGBTQ+ community for a number of reasons. Over the weekend, she was given another.
A group of 30 white nationalists were arrested in Idaho for planning to disrupt a Pride event. Ohriner says these scare tactics are meant to send a message to stay in hiding.
"Definitely an intimidation tactic. It's to remind people to stay in their place to stay in the closet to stay you know, quiet, whatever it is," Ohriner said. "And that's historically how it's always been."
Before that, just a few days prior, Ohriner took to Instagram on her company's page to voice their support for LGBTQ+ businesses in the area, "as a company, we kind of take the stance of being very loud and proud about all of our values, being LGBTQ friendly, embracing diversity."
That support was met with hate comments from a group on Instagram called Waco Conservatives. The group claims Waco rejects gays and Pride month is a sin.
Ohriner said that won't deter her or her colleagues from voicing their support. If anything, their support will only get louder, she said.
"I don't mind pissing people off of my existence, because like, there's some people that don't want to see a bisexual Jewish woman who is loud and proud about the things that she believes in," she said.
Because for her, spreading love, is much more important than giving in to hate.
"I saw a really great quote that said be the type of adult that you needed as a kid. And that's something that I take really seriously like, I, you know, try really hard to be loving and accepting and embrace diversity and embrace different lifestyles," she said.