Taylor Dillon: Celebrating 2022 LGBTQ+ Pride Month Part 1

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month! Project Sleep is proud to highlight insights from LGBTQ+ members of our community throughout the month of June.

Meet Taylor Dillon (she/her):

Taylor is 24 years old, bisexual, and obsessed with Hello Kitty. She calls Los Angeles home.

Hi Taylor! Please tell us about yourself.

I’m Taylor. For as long as I can remember, science has been my passion. Growing up near the coast, I always wanted to study the ocean, and I pursued that dream at the University of Miami. After my freshman year, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy, and that changed my course as a scientist — it got me interested in neuroscience and sleep.

Since the beginning of 2021, I’ve been working with Project Sleep on the Narcolepsy Nerd Alert series curating toolkits – downloadable info packets that go along with the live broadcasts. I’m so incredibly grateful to be creating these resources along with Project Sleep and all of the guests & community members who have been part of the Nerd Alert Series. By writing about the scientific updates and real, lived experiences from around the world, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of narcolepsy. And it brings me so much joy to be able to share these toolkits (for free) with anyone who wants to “nerd out” about narcolepsy.

In your experience, are there similarities and/or differences between living with a sleep disorder and identifying as LGBTQ+?

Black-and-white thinking is so limiting when we talk about gender, sexuality, and sleep disorders. Sure, people exist at the extreme ends of any spectrum, but there are a lot of people in the middle and their experiences are totally valid too.

Gender expression, sexual & romantic attraction, and the severity of certain narcolepsy symptoms can all fluctuate over time. As an example, recently sleep paralysis hasn’t been an issue for me, but a few years ago that was the symptom that bothered me most. And similarly, to me, being bisexual has meant that attraction can shift over time.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

To me, Pride Month is another reminder that my story is one small, but important part of a bigger picture. And it reminds me that I can be a better advocate year-round.

What advice would you give someone who is earlier in their journey in the sleep and/or LGBTQ+ community?

Don’t wait to look for social support! Find the people who actually understand what you’re going through – it makes a huge difference. I’ve been part of Wake Up Narcolepsy’s LGBTQIA+ support group led by Tatiana Corbitt for over a year, and I always look forward to chatting with my sleepy friends. If you’re on the fence, come check it out!

Taylor proudly showing off her binder of Narcolepsy Nerd Alert toolkits.

Thank you, Taylor, for sharing your voice! One resource Taylor would like to share is Genderbread Person, a teaching tool for breaking the big concept of gender down into bite-sized, digestible pieces. Find Taylor on Instagram: @nollid.rolyat.

To join the Wake Up Narcolepsy LGBTQIA+ online support group, make an account on HeyPeers.com and follow Wake Up Narcolepsy. From there, you’ll be able to see all of the groups and register.  Living with Narcolepsy – LGBTQIA+ meets on Fridays at 1pm (PT).

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