One moment you’re having a surface-level conversation with Brian Belcher and the next, he is helping you discover a solution to one of your most complex challenges. He has a remarkable ability to establish comfort and get people to open up — a gift cultivated over many years.
Whether as a bartender, a dance coach or a case manager, Brian has become a master at helping himself and others make sense of the world and their place within it.
“It’s fulfilling for me, and it gives me a sense of purpose if I know that your interaction with me has left you feeling elevated.”
As a kid, Brian was interested in dancing, acting and modeling — not typical for someone born and raised in Alaska. He served in the Alaska National Guard, then became a peer support specialist inspired by his own journey through recovery. The through line is that it’s all driven by a desire to be seen and help others feel seen.
“As much as we may feel that we are the only ones who are going through or dealing with whatever it is that is happening in our day-to-day, there is someone out there dealing with the same thing,” Brian, now 36, said. “And if I don’t take the opportunity that I have to share the tools that I used to work through that experience, I am depriving someone else of the opportunity for success.”
While Brian spent some of his formative years outside of Alaska, he calls the 49th state home. Growing up Brian said he didn’t always realize when he encountered racism, whether by being profiled or experiencing microaggressions. He recognizes there is still work to do but as he ages it has become clear that, as a queer Black man, he feels more acceptance of all his identities in Alaska over anywhere else.
“I’ve always felt safe here,” Brian said. “I’ve always felt I can be 100% myself. I’ve been accepted with open arms by multiple communities here, and I’ve been able to interact with them in a healthy way that I don’t feel I would be able to do outside of Alaska.”
Brian continues to dance while working as a case manager and being an advocate for the queer community and people working through recovery. For Brian, honoring the life experiences that make him unique, and the authenticity that it brings, is the key to his freedom and joy.