With everything going on in the world, we’re reminded how important it is to celebrate Pride. This month some of our SmartBear family members have bravely opened up to give us their insights, which we’re releasing as a series of blogs throughout June. It centers around what this month signifies, what has and hasn’t changed, and what being out at work means for them.
Name, preferred pronouns, role at SB
I identify as genderqueer/non-binary and am fine with any pronouns.
I’m on the marketing team.
What does Pride mean to you?
Wow. A lot. I love looking at how Pride is celebrated around the world, and how those celebrations have evolved and grown over the years. The massive parades often get the lion’s share of media attention, but I love all of the other under the radar, smaller-scale events and meetups that help make sure everyone can find their own diverse niches and interests if massive, grandiose parades aren’t their thing.
What does it mean to you to be out at work?
SmartBear is the first place I’ve ever been out at work, so, it means a lot. When I came out to my team here, a couple of friendly colleagues wrote me immediately after doing so, saying, “Thanks so much for sharing that with us!” and I remember thinking, “Uhh, you’re the ones that gave me the environment I needed to feel comfortable enough to do that, so, thank you.”
We all work long, but rewarding hours here, and I knew quickly after joining this company that it was going to be a lot more rewarding to go ahead and get it out there. Thankfully, that proved to be very true.
This year’s a bit different, but are there particular Pride-related events you’ll be attending?
“This year’s a bit different” is the understatement of the year. Honestly, with everything that’s come to light in the last week, and all the hearts that have been broken with the murder of George Floyd, I haven’t had much time to think about what Pride events I’ll be attending, but that’s okay. Right now, I’m celebrating it by admiring how proud my Black friends, coworkers, and neighbors are, no matter how many horrible ways this country has tried to make them feel otherwise.
Pride month grows in scope and inclusion every year, and right now, there’s a wonderful opportunity to help promote the deserving pride of others, whether they’re LGBTQIA+ or not—which should give all of us so much to be proud of.
What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues? Any history LGBTQIA+ lessons you’d like to share?
Tell stories! Read history lessons, watch documentaries, reach out to those who lived through a different era than you, listen to what their experiences were on this bizarre planet, and then tell those stories to others, and encourage them to do the same. The Stonewall uprising was 50+ years ago, and countless other important events that have shaped every one of our LGBTQIA+ lives have happened in the years that followed. Keep yourself familiar with as many of these stories as possible and make sure they have a chance to become as well-known as they deserve to be.
Lastly, what’s your favorite Pride song or queer anthem?
This will probably date me a bit, but it’s definitely “Freedom! ‘90” by George Michael. I was 13 at the time that song came out, and I can remember tearing up when I first heard George sing, “I just hope you understand, sometimes the clothes do not make the man.” It was such a bold statement to me at the time, and it’s always served as a heartwarming reminder to me that my uniqueness isn’t a “difference” to everyone. There are others out there just like me, and, guess what…there are others out there just like you, too.