June 13, 2023 | TruckerTools

Celebrating Pride: Say Hello to Owner Operator Christopher Showman, Local Driver Tig Bear

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Celebrating Pride

All throughout the month of June, we’re shining a spotlight on LGBTQIA+ folks working in the trucking industry. In this blog, we’re introducing you to Christopher Showman, an owner operator based out of Western Tennessee who’s been working in trucking for the last 20 years. Christopher specializes in reefer freight and is originally from Toledo, Ohio. Before he became a trucker, he worked in medical billing and welding. You’ll also be getting to know Tig Bear, a former OTR trucker turned local driver based out of Macon, Ga., who drives for a regional fuel company. Before he got his CDL in 2014, Tig was a personal assistant to a corporate executive for 14 years. 

Christopher Showman, Owner Operator

Christopher Showman

In 2003, Christopher Showman lost his job in medical billing in Toledo, Ohio, and was looking for a fresh start. He’d always considered trucking as a career possibility and when he got laid off made the decision to move to Western Tennessee to be near family and get trained as a trucker. After working as a company driver for Prime for several years, he became an owner operator a few years ago via Prime’s lease purchase program. What keeps Christopher in trucking is the freedom he feels when he’s on the road. In addition to driving, Christopher also is a trainer with Prime. With two decades of experience in the trucking industry, Christopher has seen the trucking industry become more welcoming to LGBTQIA+ folks.

“In my time in trucking, I have seen the industry become more accepting of LGBTQIA+ people, but there are still changes that need to be made,” Christopher shared. “Our company here is pretty accepting. We have a company publication that features gay and transgender people. We also have Facebook groups for the LGBTQIA+ community. I’m part of the driver advisory board here at Prime as well so we have connections with the management through which we can get any issues addressed.”

According to Christopher, the industry still has work to do, especially when it comes to making everyone feel welcome at truck stops no matter their sexuality or gender identity. Overall, though, he sees the trucking industry as more accepting than many other industries. 

“I have quite a few friends who are gay, transgender or transitioning and I tell them that this is one of the better industries because you’re often working on your own and you can identify however you want to identify,” Christopher said. “A lot of people use this job as part of their transition to a new life as they start planting roots and developing a family. It’s a good industry to get out there and try to find who you are.”

Christopher has been married to his husband, Gary, for five years and they’ve been together since 2011. They split their time between Tennessee and St. Louis, where Gary works as a veterinarian technician.

Tig Bear, Local Fuel Delivery Driver

Tig Bear

Before getting his CDL and becoming a trucker, Tig Bear had a 14-year career in the corporate world as a personal assistant. In 2014 when he was at a crossroads in his professional life, Tig earned his CDL and became an over-the-road trucker based on his friends’ positive experiences in trucking. 

“I had plenty of friends who were truckers and my old roommate, Laurie, she was a trucker for many years,” Tig said. “One of the things that attracted me to trucking is that it’s an interesting job through which you can get out and see different places. When my mother went to Vegas, I knew that I could get a load out to California somewhere and then hit Vegas on the way back and plan it so that I had a couple days to spend with her in Vegas.”

Tig was an OTR trucker for seven years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and it was difficult to find healthy food on the road, Tig experienced a significant weight gain. Concerned about his health, he came home to Macon, Ga., to drive locally and work on getting healthy. Today, Tig is a regional fuel delivery driver in the greater Atlanta area. He reports that he has felt accepted in trucking as a gay man. 

“Some of the hardest men you’ll ever meet are accepting of almost anybody and everybody in trucking,” Tig said. “I’ve got a purple streak in my hair and I’m 50 something years old. I’ve also got diamonds that go up the side of my ear but I have never, ever experienced an issue with any truckers. You’ve got conservative people who are just everyday people. You’ve also got people who are very outgoing and flamboyant. They’re just being who they want to be. I have never seen anybody object to that. Most truckers are very accepting because we’re all out there to do one job.”

Last week, Tig’s partner of two years proposed and Tig said yes. Tig’s fiancé is a disabled military veteran and Tig will become a stepfather and step-grandfather when he and his partner marry, which he is excited about. Tig’s father passed away some time ago so when his partner was getting ready to propose, he went to Tig’s mother to ask for her blessing.

“He called and asked my mom if he could ask me to marry him,” Tig shared. “That kind of surprised my mom but she gave her blessing. She told him that whatever makes the two of us happy will make her happy, which is what you want to hear.”

Don’t miss “Celebrating Pride: Meet Flatbed Driver Tim Sanchez, Owner Operator Rob Chatlos.”

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