As a lesbian whose clients are a majority gay or bisexual, Shanna Ratliff can still draw amongst her own experiences to help serve them.

“It really allows me to be empathetic to what they’re going through and just really kind of understand their experience, walk in their shoes,” said Ratliff, the prevention with positives manager at The Pride Center in Wilton Manors. She overseas HIV and other STD prevention programs.

“These men really teach me. I guess I look at it in that regard. They teach me by sharing their experiences with me.”

Starting as an intern at The Pride Center seven years ago, Ratliff has worked her way into administration and was hired in her current position in September of last year. “

“I’m definitely an out lesbian [out since she was 19 and with her current partner for 10 years] but I’m part of the community. I’ve been here at The Pride Center for so long and I’ve just built a rapport with the community.”

“Definitely the best part of my job is the relationships I get to build with people. It’s really important that when people come to visit us they feel like this is a second home to them.”