'tis the season

This holiday season, Brogan is refusing to “hide part of myself and be inauthentic” with family

As the holiday season nears, we asked a series of influencers what about their deepest, darkest year-end hopes and secrets–in addition to what they hope to see under the tree December 25.

Logan Fletcher aka Brogan moved to New York a few years ago from Minnesota to create his chosen family–and spend time asking strangers on the street if he can pet their dogs.

The pup lover (“the gay category kind AND our four-legged friends”) is an active supporter of New York’s local drag queens and nightlife. The Instagram model and equality advocate is also speaking out on issues like HIV/AIDS and antigay conversion therapy.

Hey Brogan, what are you working on right now?

Right now I’m preparing to start my fundraising for AIDS/LifeCycle 2020. Starting in January I’ll be launching my page and partnering with a few brands and artists to raise money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and LA LGBT Center.

This is a divided time in America: How will you use the holiday season to bring loved ones together?

It’s really important to me during this time of year that my loved ones know what they mean to me and how important they are to me. I want the people I spend the holidays with to know I’m thankful for the time with them, and it’s not just because of the obligation that I’m there with them. I do my best to be inclusive of friends and loved ones to make sure everyone has somewhere to go on Christmas and people to spend it with.

I think we would all pretty much agree that the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year, especially for LGBTQ people. I’ve been there – feeling like if I go home for the holidays, I won’t be fully embraced by my relatives. Or that I would have to hide part of myself and be inauthentic if I go see them. It can be a really lonely time.

Related: Sexy pride guru Brogan wants to pet your pup

Lately, I’ve been sharing a lot on my Instagram about mental health and some of my own mental health challenges I deal with, so with the holidays being such a stressful time for everyone, especially young LGBTQ people, my greatest hope right now is that people are taking care of themselves and surrounding themselves with people who love, support, and encourage them through the holidays.

When I moved to New York I met a group of people I consider to be my chosen family now. I’ve spent the holidays with them for the last few years instead of going back to Minnesota. My chosen family is a group that I probably wouldn’t have expected to find myself spending holidays with before I met them. We’re different ages, races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations, but we come together throughout the year and especially at the holidays because we’re able to unite around the ways we relate to each other, and we all appreciate each other for the ways we’re different. It means a lot to be in a group that is always there because we choose to be and makes everyone feel welcomed.

What’s your favorite childhood holiday memory?

My favorite memories from holidays as a kid were with my cousin Jessica. We used to spend hours putting together these ridiculous song-and-dance routines to perform for everyone. We made our own costumes, tried our best to choreograph a dance routine and inevitably would break something in my grandma’s living room.

What are you hoping or underneath the tree this year?

A puppy!