Welcome to Profiles in Pride, a blog dedicated solely to interviews and profiles of LGBTQIA+ people. We showcase real people and their experiences, struggles, triumphs, and impacts. Not just those of well-known figures. Not news. Not politics. Just people.
Here’s why: Human-centered stories draw us in, introduce us to new ideas and paradigms, give us compassion for others, and often result in new understandings. There’s immense power in putting a face to a label, issue, or headline and realizing “the other” isn’t so scary after all. Being reminded we’re all just humans doing our best can change hearts and minds. There’s also tremendous importance — especially for LGBTQIA+ people — in reading others’ stories you can relate to and realizing you are not weird or alone. In knowing that you too have a place in the world.
This site is for everybody. We hope those outside the community find us to be a resource for education and understanding. We hope those within the community use these stories to feel empowered and inspired, and even more enlightened about the other types of people within the diverse LGBTQIA+ world they may not often be exposed to.
Note that we use LGBTQ and LGBTQIA+ interchangeably since there currently isn’t one standard. Regardless of the acronym we use, we are inclusive and welcoming of everyone.
About the author:
Hi, I’m Emily Starbuck Gerson, a 33-year-old full-time freelance writer/editor currently in San Antonio, Texas. Yes, that’s my real middle name.
I’ve been a journalist for over a decade, and in the past few years, I’ve written quite a lot about the LGBTQ community for various publications. Being naturally curious and inquisitive, I find it easy to ask people questions about their lives. But my journey to figuring out and owning my own sexuality has been a puzzle.
I knew from a young age that I was drawn to certain women, but I didn’t really know why or what it meant, especially since I was into boys. As I grew older, I felt a growing curiosity about women. By college, this became more than a curiosity, and I determined I was bisexual. But I told almost no one, and it never occurred to me that I could publicly date a girl.
Despite coming from a very liberal home, I was an over-responsible first-born with high internal and external expectations. I felt some shame and confusion, and I didn’t want to disappoint my family or create drama. I didn’t want to risk judgment or rejection from friends. I just wanted to be “normal” and do what I thought I was supposed to do. So I didn’t date women often, and when I did, I kept it casual and kept that side of myself hidden from the rest of the world. I was a vocal LGBTQ “ally,” but almost never let on that I was actually in the community since I was usually partnered with a man.
I thought I could be happy being primarily with men, so I didn’t think my sexuality would ever have to come to light. But in my late twenties, I began noticing a shift, feeling less interested in men and increasingly interested in women. I did some reading and learned about the concept of sexual fluidity and how our sexuality can change over time.
Eventually, this shift became powerful enough that it got harder and harder to hide this part of me. Several life-altering events also took place, such as the sudden death of my father, which led me to realize that life was too short to be lived out in the closet. So a little less than two years ago, I began the process of shedding my old skin and figuring out what living authentically looked like for me. I began attending Pride celebrations, volunteering with HRC, writing for my local LGBTQ magazine, and getting involved in the community as a member, not just an ally, which gave me an incredible sense of belonging. I started slowly but surely coming out to friends and family, and while I braced for impact, I’m fortunate to have received nothing but love and support so far.
Recently, I have been public about dating a woman for the first time in my life. I’ve gone through a major change in identity, and while I don’t know what label best describes me these days, I don’t really care, because it feels good to just be the authentic version of myself rather than the one I thought the world wanted me to be.
As I’ve gotten more involved in the LGBTQIA+ community, I’ve been so moved and amazed by all of the stories I’ve heard about the coming out journey and the path to living authentically. Everyone’s experience is unique, some much more challenging than others. But we have all had to find the courage to admit to ourselves that we are somehow “different” and come to terms with our identity. We have all had to find the strength to let go of others’ expectations for us, to come out to the world, and begin living our truth, despite the possible repercussions. And once we get to the other side, some of us are eventually able to feel empowered and cultivate a sense of pride in who we are and how we got here.
I hope that Profiles in Pride can serve as a celebration of this journey that so many of us go through. I know our stories can change the world.