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Lion Pride: How Emerson Helped You Embrace Your LGBTQ+ Identity

College is a time when we learn about ourselves both in and out of the classroom. For many, it’s the first time not living under a parent’s roof. We gain the independence to be ourselves, and for many people, that means realizing one’s LGBTQ+ identity.

A drawing of a rainbow heart with renderings of people as part of the heart

In honor of Pride Month, we asked alumni on Facebook : Did Emerson help you realize your LGBTQ+ identity, and if so, how? Here are several of the responses, which have been shared with the authors’ permission:

I was confused. I thought you were either gay or straight. My friend at Emerson said, ‘Why do you have to choose?’ Until then, it never occurred to me I was bisexual.

Myra Martino ’94

I didn’t come out bi/pansexual at Emerson, but I did discoverer it was a thing, as were all sorts of levels of queerness I had never known about. I knew my whole life I was attracted to women and men, but assumed that was just how everyone was, and I dated men exclusively because of that.

Learning that was not the case opened my eyes to experimenting with my sexuality and coming to the conclusion that when I am choosing a romantic partner, I care most about the chemistry and connection, and the gender could really be anywhere on the spectrum. Thanks Emerson, and the queer friends I made there, for setting the foundation of discovering my true sexuality.

Ashley Blom ’10

I had come out the summer before I started at Emerson, after having made a promise to myself to stay in the closet throughout high school. Being at Emerson, which was so open, supportive, and inclusive, was the first time where I didn’t have to dodge questions or lie. I could let my guard down a little bit and just be myself.

Michael Lupacchino ’10

I met my first girlfriend and came out at Emerson. It wasn’t an easy road with my family at the beginning, but I had amazing support from my friends and then-girlfriend’s family.

I’m not sure how much longer it would have taken me to come out if I hadn’t gone to Emerson, to be honest. It was a right place, right time, right people situation for me.

Talia Ralph ’11

The unofficial motto at the time was “Gay in four years, or your money back,” so I guess Emerson worked for me? I knew I was gay long before coming to Emerson, but pride was a bit of a foreign concept until I saw so many people truly being themselves.

Peter McKay ’01

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