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Debbie LGBTQ Personal History

EP + DO

How Erica and Debbie met.

Before I go off running and tell you all about the Reno LGBTQ scene, I need to help you understand where I fit into the LGBTQ community. I am a cisgender female with a loving cisgender female partner named Debbie who I’d like to introduce you to today.

My last post talked about my coming out experience with my parents in the summer of 2010. This was right before I moved out to rural Wyoming (is there any other kind of Wyoming?) for 1.5 years.

While in Wyoming, a friend suggested we take a trip to Las Vegas for a youth sobriety conference. I had never been to Las Vegas, and it seemed like a good reason to go.

While at the conference, I went to a workshop for the LGBTQ community, which I had been craving desperately during my 15 months in Wyoming. This is where I met Debbie.

Debbie was on the panel of speakers. She was in her late 40s at the time, so she didn’t quite fit the young person demographic. She knew it and used this opportunity to try out her stand-up comedy routine. She had me hooked.

I grabbed her number after the workshop and asked her to meet me at the dance party that night. That was the last time I would talk to her until…

…I found out that I had obtained a job in Las Vegas. Since I knew no one else in Las Vegas, I called her. She told me that she would “show me around town.” She’s so confident.

After I arrived in Las Vegas in late May of 2012, we would meet up for coffee and she introduced me to her friends. Over time, we became good friends. She was always available to make me laugh or make me think.

We started dating after getting to know each other, and she has continued to make me laugh ever since. From Las Vegas, we moved to Arlington, Virginia, and then here to Reno in April of 2020. We’ve been together going on 10 years, through a total of five surgeries and one COVID-19 pandemic.

We are very different people. I like to run, hike, ski, and paddleboard. Debbie likes to people watch and chill in her kayak when I can get her on the water. I’m an introvert and Debbie needs people. We come from different backgrounds and even age groups. Thankfully, Debbie has this ability to connect with anyone, no matter their background or age group.

She’s constantly introducing me to her new friends, even with people whom she has just chatted up on a park bench while I was off running around. She’s kind with an authenticity and spark that make people immediately trust her. And she’s funny. Oh goodness. She can break tension in any room.

Did I mention that she’s a fantastic cook? Her street tacos are requested all over. Expect delicious enchiladas when you’re in the hospital or your family is having a difficult time.

She is the most generous person I have ever known.

I could go on and on and on about Debbie. Really. Mostly, I just want you, my reader, to know that I do not show up to this party alone.

And Debbie wants you to know that I’m taken. She also wants you to follow me on Twitter.

By Erica Pionke

Erica Pionke moved to Reno/Sparks, Nevada in March 2020 and is finally now getting out into the world and exploring all of its queer offerings with her hilarious and loving partner of 10 years, Debbie.

Erica is an avid outdoorsperson and a self-inflicted seeker of education. She works for the government, in realty, and has a history going back to her earlier years in law school, in real estate, zoning, and land management.

2 replies on “EP + DO”

Hi Erica,
I went and I followed you on Twitter! I think this is a wonderful piece & I loved reading it. Really opens up yourself to your audience and provides credibility to your brand! Looking forward to reading more.

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