I knew that I wanted to be part of GO Magazine from the moment I stepped out of my interview for the Associate Editor position. I had gotten the chance to meet the team—Amy, Zara, and Dayna—who talked with me about everything from the Manhattan versus Brooklyn debate to my straight friends who own seven cats. I was nervous at first, as one should be for a job interview, but I was quickly soothed. It had been a long time since I had been in a space full of openly queer women whose mission was to uplift one another, and I suddenly found myself in my element. As an identity writer, I was excited at the premise of crafting content that represents and expresses our community. Exiting the elevator into the lobby after the fact, I could feel how my face was beaming.
Growing up in Virginia, I like to say that I was a part of the queer community, but that I watched it for a while from the outside. It’s not that I was closeted for a long time—in fact, I came out to everyone in the seventh grade and was out to my closest friends since elementary school. What separated me from fully embracing my identity was the culture of where I grew up. Although I lived in a coastal city that many from rural Virginia would consider liberal, most of the people that I knew were conservative and straight.
When I was choosing a college to attend, I knew two things: I wanted to get as far as I could from the exclusive atmosphere of my hometown, and I wanted to study journalism. My love of writing sprang from the poetry I’ve crafted since childhood, but my love of journalism was sparked by my high school journalism teacher. He told me that I had a knack for storytelling and urged me to consider it seriously as a career. Thankfully, I did. In December of 2018, I graduated from Emerson College with a degree in journalism and a few extra minors (three!) to round out my education.
I truly began to embrace my queer identity during my time at college (said every gay woman ever), and I learned a lot about myself and the way that queer women are treated. As someone who presents outwardly as femme, I often felt isolated in not being able to express to other women that I was into them. Countless parties were stuck in conversations with girls that rode the line between flirty and friendly because I didn’t know if they were into that. When I told people how I identified, I tended to get the same reaction: “Oh, I had no idea! You don’t look gay.” I’ve heard this phrase from friends, family, and even other people in the queer community. I’ve heard it in Virginia, in Boston, and in New York. Because of experiences like this, my goal in my career is to shed light on the different experiences that exist within communities and how they affect our perceptions and perspectives. I’m excited to join a team that is writing about the queer woman’s experience in a way that isn’t limited to one idea of what she looks, acts, or thinks like.
I was able to explore these themes a bit in college, but being thrust into the NYC queer scene has already given me space to grow. At school, I was lectured to about how to be a good writer and asked to regurgitate that information for a passing grade. I worried about whether my professors would like the content and if they would appreciate my voice. No longer am I trapped in too-small desk seats; instead, I’m afforded opportunities I could have only dreamed of, like discovering my new favorite comedians at an all-queer comedy show or attending press screenings of movies that feature queer women in starring roles. I’ve gotten the chance to interview queer women making strides in their respective fields, binge-watched over 10 lesbian movies in the name of in-depth research, and waxed poetic about undoubtedly one of the best TV shows all time: “Killing Eve.” As I continue to get my footing, I hope that I can bring a fresh point of view to the magazine, along with my geeky love of grammar and my slightly worrisome passion for the em dash.
Living in New York has always been my dream. Now that it’s a reality, I am overjoyed at the opportunity to revel in my new home. In Virginia, my sexuality was public, but I only truly got to be myself around my closest friends. In Boston, my college had a strong community that allowed me not only to embrace myself but to grow and explore as well. Now, as I turn my sights toward the big city, I can only hope for new friendships and new adventures. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.