pride month >>

shifting the conversation

Pride month: Shifting the conversation with Amanda Brunson

Amanda shares her journey of gradually embracing her LGBTQ+ identity, navigating moments of self-reflection and societal assumptions to find courage and openly express her true self.

At Sabre, we are committed to embracing and celebrating our diversity. In this inclusion & engagement series, Shifting the Conversation, our people share their stories to engage in open dialog and shed light on their broad, rich and unique perspectives. In celebration of Pride Month, Amanda Brunson, an active member of the Sabre Pride inclusion group, her journey of gradually embracing her LGBTQ+ identity, navigating moments of self-reflection and societal assumptions to find courage and openly express her true self. Pride is dedicated to establishing Sabre as an organization that meaningfully stands for equality, by visibly engaging in business practices, social issues and outreach programs that are inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.

As I sat down to write my story, I said to myself, “what about my story would I even talk about?” I haven’t personally experienced what many of my friends, colleagues or storytellers before me in the LGBTQ+ community have experienced. I haven’t ever felt unloved, unwanted or unaccepted because of my sexuality, but I also haven’t been completely out in the open about who I really am. Have I kept my true self a secret from others? No, but I also haven’t broadly announced my sexuality to the entire world.

When I share that I’m a member of the Sabre Pride inclusion group with others, no one asks questions, instead they make assumptions. We often talk about being brave and being our authentic selves, so I decided it was time to let people in.

In 2020, I celebrated my 31st birthday at Hamburger Mary’s in Orlando, Florida during a Dining with the Divas event. If you’ve ever been to a drag show at Hamburger Mary’s, you know that the Divas like to put a spotlight on any celebration. I was asked which team I “played for,” to which I replied, “it depends on the day.” I had invited a mixture of friends to this dinner, some that knew me and others that really knew me. My answer took a few by surprise, while the others couldn’t control their laughter.

I realized that night, I never “officially came out” to new friends I met after I moved to Florida. Growing up in West Virginia, all my friends that knew me throughout middle and high school knew I was bisexual. When I moved to Florida for graduate school, I never really felt the need to tell everyone I met, “Hi, I’m Amanda and I date both boys and girls.” I hate labels and have never liked the fact that those of us in the LGBTQ+ community have to “come out.” If we don’t, most people automatically assume things about you. Until the Dining with the Divas event, I never felt comfortable enough to correct them.

In the last few years, I have started to be a bit braver and allow my true self to be out into the open. I am no longer shy to share LGBTQ+-related posts on social media or highlight when I’m celebrating Gay Days at Walt Disney World. I attempt to represent subtly with Sabre Pride Teams backgrounds at work or Pride pins, keychains and stickers on my purses, backpacks, laptop, etc.

I even wrote a blog where I “came out” to my HR community and anyone else who may have stumbled upon it online. I had been inspired by a TV show called “Love Victor.” Victor, the main character of the show, gave an incredible speech in the season finale about being brave, vulnerable and authentic. He said, “Being brave means that you aren’t afraid to be scared. It means you embrace the scary because a lot of the times the scariest things are also the most important; like admitting who you are or who you love.” When I think about that speech today, the words still resonate with me and I’ve realized how important it is for me to not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

I know how challenging it is to be a member of the community and not feel comfortable sharing vulnerable details with someone who may not be able to relate. If I can be of any support to anyone in the community, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out. As a member of Sabre Pride inclusion group and the People Team, I am committed to helping others feel a true sense of belonging.

Sabre is shifting the conversation with stories from passionate and bold inclusion group members. At the heart of our inclusion & engagement efforts, our eight inclusion groups, and counting, aim to amplify the voices of our team members and create a sense of belonging for all. Together, we celebrate diversity, applaud individuality and embrace unique perspectives to empower our global team members to bring their true selves to work every day. Learn more about our inclusion & engagement mission.

about the author

Amanda Brunson is a proud member of the Pride LGBTQ+ inclusion group at Sabre. She continues to support others globally, both personally and professionally, as a People Business Partner.

share this story

see our inclusion & engagement efforts in action.