GLAAD and Social Connection App Chappy provide sweepstakes winner a “phenomenal experience” at WorldPride

This year, New York City hosted WorldPride, which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. GLAAD participated in the historic NYC Pride March along with more than 150 individuals, including LaReco Dixon, who joined the GLAAD team this year as the Grand Prize winner of the “Chappy x GLAAD” sweepstakes. LaReco was selected as the winner last December during GLAAD Tidings in Los Angeles.  The Grand Prize included travel and accommodations for LaReco and his friend Justin Olson to fly to NYC to attend and experience WorldPride.

Launched in 2017, Chappy is a social connection app on a mission to end the stereotyping of gay men in dating and friendship, one connection at a time. Chappy is driven to create a kinder world both on and offline, and that starts from within the constellation of the gay community. The “Chappy x GLAAD” sweepstakes is just one of the ways Chappy is supporting GLAAD as part of its “Chats for Charity” initiative that launched last November. Every chat initiated by users on Chappy raises money for GLAAD’s work to accelerate acceptance for the LGBTQ community.  This is mirrored in Chappy’s efforts to bring a sense of respect to online dating, with a no-tolerance policy for discrimination in the app.

Read below LaReco’s once in a lifetime experience celebrating WorldPride in the Big Apple, and click here to learn more about Chats for Charity.

One day, I was scrolling through Chappy and saw this opportunity with GLAAD. I didn’t know all the details, but your boy still applied. Then I found out that I won a trip to NYC to attend WorldPride. Even better, I could invite someone to join me! The process of picking someone was very strenuous, but I thought why not bring someone that I love and that I believe would appreciate coming to NYC with me.  I decided to invite my podcast co-host and friend, Justin Olson. I couldn’t believe that I was going to bring one of my favorite people to NYC for the first time to help me celebrate a huge milestone for the LGBTQ community.

Moving on, let’s skip weeks ahead. We started to talk about the trip on our podcast and counted down the days before the big weekend arrived. In the words of Miley Cyrus, we “hopped on the plane at LAX,” and we were so anxious, exhausted, and EXCITED all at the same time. After some delays and a cancelled flight, we finally landed in New York City!

We could see the grungy sewage, hear sirens, and smell pizza grease. Getting on the subway for the first time, it still hadn’t hit us that we were actually in New York City. During our trip, Justin and I visited Time Square, the Financial District -- where we got to go and remember the people that passed on 9/11 -- and Ellis Island where we went to see Ms. Liberty herself (The Statue of Liberty). We also enjoyed staying at one of the most amazing hotels in Manhattan, CitizenM. The accommodations were awesome, but we barely spent time there because we were always out, bursting through the streets with excitement.

My favorite part of the trip was getting to the Pride March. It was quite the teachable moment for us both. We were on our way to the march, but we got held up because of a beautiful demonstration that was happening in remembrance of the riot for Stonewall, given that it was the 50th Anniversary.

We looked fantastic during the march thanks to Express who dressed the whole GLAAD team for this wondrous occasion. Also, I appreciate the two amazing ladies who made me into a glitter monster while we waited to start marching. Justin and I even got the honor of holding the GLAAD banner, which was something we did not expect to receive.

Directly after the march, we met one of the amazing queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11, Ms. Shuga Cain, which was awesome. Justin and I then had dinner together at a restaurant called BJs. Then randomly late in the evening, we ran into my 6th grade teacher, Ms. Bailey Murdock from Darlington Middle School in South Carolina. Now that was a crazy surprise, but I guess that’s what happens when you follow the pull of the universe.

All in all, the trip was a fun ride, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I have more gratitude than I can express for what happened in those 48 hours.

Thank you once again to GLAAD & Chappy for allowing us to experience WorldPride. I have to say my heart is overwhelmed, and I'm so happy to have been a part of this phenomenal experience.

I'm an Official LReco, and I'm outta here.

A big thank you to LaReco and Justin for joining us for WorldPride. You can hear more of LaReco and Justin’s inspiring experience in NYC by listening to their Proud to Be You podcast. Stay tuned for upcoming giveaways and download Chappy, the gay relationship app for men, by clicking the link here.