dentsu Pride BRG

By Ashley Evangelista (she/her) Associate Director, Integrated Strategy at 360i

I never really had a huge coming out moment. When I had my first girlfriend in college, I simply brought her home and told my mother she and I were dating. And throughout my 20s, I continued dating in a similar matter-of-fact way, regardless of my partner’s gender. I attended every New York City pride parade and joined in community with my LGBTQ+ peers, finding comfort in queer spaces. Even at work, I would often advocate for LGBTQ+ representation in creative and assist with internal Pride Month celebrations. I championed campaigns that tackled important queer conversations and supported my colleagues when they spoke out against antiquated gender norms and stereotypes.

But gradually, something became clear – because I was never particularly vocal about my own sexuality, I was viewed as an ally, not a member of the community. As a femme, cis gender, woman, I can see why. Some identities are significantly more visible than others. Within the intersection of my identities - Black, Latina, a woman, and queer - the queer is often silent. And I suppose this is in part my own doing. In a time where transgender rights and gender identity are at the forefront of cultural conversation, I’ve consciously and subconsciously taken a back seat to matters I’ve deemed more pressing. I have had the privilege to fly “under the radar” even though that was never my intention.

As an industry, we’re constantly pushing the needle forward by advocating and providing representation for marginalized communities. Oreo’s recent proud parent work is a glowing example of what we can do when allies and community members join forces in support of a more inclusive world. To be truly inclusive, we must ensure that the (B) in LGBTQ+ is represented and supported as well. For a long time, I’ve allowed myself to remain silent. Not out of fear, but because I was cautious about being too loud or speaking over those who I know to have experienced more oppression than I - I want their stories to be told in meaningful and beautiful ways like they have never been told before.

However, I have realized that this silence does a disservice to myself and others who identify as bisexual. If we continue to yield and shrink ourselves, we see the consequences appear in the forms of bisexual erasure and invisibility. It becomes a vicious cycle of not being seen and then remaining silent because bisexuality doesn’t feel like it deserves to take up space. Even in a creative and open industry like advertising, well-intended assumptions can lead to a lack of representation for those who identify as bisexual – especially when that identity isn’t as visible as others or at the forefront of conversation. I believe we’re on the right track to full inclusivity, yet there’s always room for improvement. Along with stories centered on queer identities, how can we represent the other identities that often intersect with queerness? How do we show up for the Black transman, the older Asian lesbian, and the bisexual AfroLatina?

Today, on Bisexuality Day, I would like to take up space. There isn’t anything overwhelmingly poignant I would like to say in this space, but this: I see you; I feel you; you are real. And that so long as we keep an open mind, gut check our assumptions, and seek representation for every LGBTQ+ identity, we’ll be alright.

I’m grateful to be able to share this piece of my identity with my colleagues and if it helps someone else feel seen, even better.

In a way, I guess this is coming out.

For more information on LGBTQ+ terms and identifications: