MILWAUKEE — When you first meet Michelle Alfaro, you’re sure to notice her infectious smile, warm personality, and of course her love for plants. But what you may not notice is the inner strength she’s built up inside in order to live her most authentic life.
"I have nothing to hide anymore and I want that for everyone," said Alfaro, the co-owner of Maranta Plant Shop.
That’s because seven years ago, Alfaro came out as pansexual. Meaning she is attracted to a person, regardless of their gender. An identity that she hid for a long time.
"I think it’s something that I’ve kept built inside me for a very long time, especially growing up in a very religious household," said Alfaro.
Since coming out, just like the plants that she takes care of, she’s blossomed into a successful business owner, running the Maranta Plant Shop on North MLK Drive.
"Being able to own a plant shop and represent a community that is hardly supported feels so immense to me and important to me," said Alfaro.
But she says there’s still a need for more LGBTQ+ businesses in the city, and wants more people to follow their dreams despite what others may think.
"I think we still live in a world where homophobia is still really prevalent," said Alfaro. "With that being said, I think that it shouldn’t put your spirit down or stop your passion or what you want to do in life."
That's why during this Pride Month, Alfaro wants to serve as an inspiration to the queer community to remind them that anything is possible.
"Your voice and your representation matter more than anything else. It’s important to just silence out the noise of the world and stay true to yourself," said Alfaro.
To visit the Maranta Plant Shop online, click here.