I have long considered myself “out” with friends and family, yet for many years I considered it safer to hide my identity at work. Each choice to hide something or lie was small, but the sum of those many small choices impeded my ability to make real connections. Now, thanks in part to a workplace where diversity is celebrated, I am fortunate to feel safe bringing my whole self to work.
Rather than compartmentalize my identity to only be shared when prudent, I have gained a greater satisfaction in being authentic to myself at all times. I also know that not everyone has the privilege to do this in their careers, which has made me aware of a political urgency: Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but the right to exist without persecution.
My experience of working with pride has made me understand how precious and how rare that right is, and inspired me to be a vocal advocate for diversity in all aspects of my personal and professional life. Diversity brings results in the workplace: I know my own self-awareness and psychological safety have afforded me greater productivity and confidence. I want acceptance in the workplace to become standard, not an exceptional privilege.