We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Edward Schell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Eric Edward, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk has played a huge role in my life and career. I came out at a very young age. I chose a career in musical theatre, I Founded my own non profit. I started my own photography business. I came out as non binary. Almost everything I do now, in my personal and professional life is LGBTQIA+ related. Unfortunately this is risky since we live in a cisgender, heterosexual dominated world. Everything that I have achieved, took humongous risk. That being said, I wouldn’t have it any other way. To change the world by creating a better place for ourselves and those who will come after us, requires risk. Risk isn’t a scary word to me, it’s empowering.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
If someone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be speaking on international platforms as the Founder of a LGBTQIA+ non profit, I would not have believed them. I have been empowered by some of the largest companies in the world to tell my story and share the work that I do, which in turn has allowed others to share their stories with people all over the world. Social media is the greatest tool we have seen in our lifetime to tell our narratives our way and have the ability to reach people around the globe. I am unapologetic about creating a world around me that is all about equality and equity for the most marginalized within our community. I am not afraid to create waves if it means the most marginalized will benefit from it. If it takes you not liking me to respect and validate the Black trans woman sitting next to me, that’s fine. If I make you uncomfortable by calling out your problematic behavior, that’s ok. People like me and those even more marginalized have never had the privilege of being comfortable. It’s a hard line to walk, an activist who’s outspoken and the Founder of a non profit. Sometimes I have to choose what’s right over a possible donation to my organization. I would rather someone be made uncomfortable which will lead them to grow and learn as a person, than like me or my non profit. I am not a perfect person, I make mistakes and I fail. That’s ok, because I am open to learning from my faults and failures.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If someone was visiting Houston I think I have a pretty good list of things to do with them. Food: Jenni’s Noodle House, Corellis, Common Bond, Ramen Tatsu-ya, 369, Barnaby’s, La Fendee, Chapultepec, Sweet Green and homemade meals with ingredients from Whole Foods. Drink: Eagle Houston (best gay bar in the city) Visit: All antique and thrift stores in Montrose, Space Montrose, Emerson Rose, Hugo Perez Art Gallery, The Montrose Center, Harris County Democratic Party Headquarters, The Funeral Museum I would want them to meet the following people: Stephen Miranda (author, activist), Monica Roberts (GLAAD Media Award Winning Blogger, of TransGriot), JD Doyle (https://www.houstonlgbthistory.org), Hugo Perez (www.lovehue.shop)

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to thank the 6K+ humans that have trusted me and my non profit to be a platform to tell their narratives, their way. I would like to thank all the amazing employees at Facebook who have seen the social movement I created and uplifted the visibility of the non profit, on their platform, Facebook and Instagram. They have also been instrumental in helping me share my own personal story which is the reason I do the work that I do.

Website: www.ericedwardschell.com and www.prideportraits.org
Instagram: @ericedwardschell and @prideportraits
Twitter: @erictheythem and @pride_portraits
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ericedward.schell

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