Ernesto, President and Founder, Washington D.C.

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Ernesto, in his own words: “Being gay has been an organic process. I share similar experiences to other men insofar that in my youth being gay might as well been a curse. Today,”equal” resonates more and more, which is just a validation of what I’ve fundamentally known all my life.

The coming out process happened in a slow and segregated manner for me, on a personal and professional level. Today, I am a married man, and while I often have to correct the assumption I am married to a woman, It’s exciting to be part of the paradigm shift from marriage being between a man and a woman to marriage is the union of two individuals. Professionally, from the days when everyone “knew” and waited for me come out, I am the owner of a gay owned and operated business. It doesn’t make me a better design professional, it speaks to integrity: I do not hide this part of who I am, so by association my clients have more to trust.

The LGBT community in DC is savvy, powerful and influential. I have the honor of serving as President of the Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; The Chamber. It’s been a life affirming experience through the relationships with the individuals I’ve met in the organization, other LGBT community leaders and our Allies. The time I’ve invested in this organization pales in comparison to the bounty of what I’ve received in return.

My coming out story is painful. I fell in love with a wonderful person who didn’t love me in return, but circumstances kept us together for a long time. In many ways it pushed me further back in the closet and when the relationship ended I barely recognized myself. It took many years, but the lesson I learned has empowered me greatly; I have the option to say “no,” and walk away in any circumstance. Perseverance is a virtue, but it can also be a disguise for denial and avoidance.”

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