54 minutes | May 21st 2020

Emily Starbuck Gerson - Profiles in Pride

From Emily on ProfilesinPride.com

Hi, I’m Emily Starbuck Gerson, a 34-year-old full-time freelance writer and editor currently in Cambridge, England (formerly San Antonio, Texas). Yes, Starbuck is 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 an increasing curiosity about women. In early 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 few 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 LGBT 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 almost nothing but love and support so far.

Follow Emily on Instagram.