At first glance, Provincetown, Massachusetts — affectionately known as “Ptown”—is just your average sleepy, coastal town. Its status as one of the most inclusive places in the country — the 2010 census revealed that Provincetown has the highest rate of same-sex couples in America — has made it an easy magnet for LGBTQ vacationers, and a natural location for HRC’s shop.

But for many, Ptown is more than just a vacation spot. It is a radical community that promises to transform and empower those who visit. At least, that’s how it felt for Teddy Lowery, a young, gay native of Bossier City, Louisiana who first came to Ptown in May, 2017 to work at the HRC store for the summer.

“I remember stepping off the bus and breathing in,” said Lowery, recalling his first moments in Ptown. “Honestly it was the first time I felt I was able to breathe in years.” Coming from a conservative, small town in the South, Ptown was a revelation for Lowery. It was the first place he felt he could not only be himself but be loved for that identity.

Read the full article by The Human Rights Campaign here.