For many, Pride Month is seen as a time of parties, rainbows, parades, and other celebrations—but its origins are far from festive. In 1969, police raided a gay club in New York City, the Stonewall Inn, setting off a series of protests and violent conflict that would become a major spark for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Pride Month is a recognition of the resilience and impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and other LGBTQIA+ individuals have had on progressing acceptance, visibility, and rights for their communities. Uplifting and recognizing LGBTQIA+ coworkers, friends, and family is not just a symbol of progress, but also an acknowledgment of all the work that’s been done on behalf of our community leaders and members alike. Not only that, but it’s a symbol of the continuity of our work, and acknowledgement of the work that still needs to be done. While we have come far in the fight for equal rights and acceptance, there will always be work to do as society shifts.
While coming out is often portrayed as a singular experience, in reality, that isn’t exactly how it always goes, or was for me. Being queer has meant for me that I am constantly coming out, at various points, throughout my life—when growing up, chatting with new coworkers or friends, and sometimes even to total strangers. It can be uncomfortable at times, depending on where you are or who you’re speaking to, and there is always the risk of hostile reaction or uncomfortable silence, or the relief and genuine joy in acceptance and support. In past situations, communities, organizations, and workplaces, I’ve been met with acceptance, indifference, surprise and/or discomfort, and don’t often know which one to expect walking in. In workplaces, this could mean I feel supported and welcome, or feel unsupported or unwelcome, even in supposedly open-minded environments. Being gay is not a political statement, it is part of who I am. And that means that in my daily lived experience, there are always moments of pride and moments where I realize there is still work to be done.
I also recognize that I operate in a position of great privilege compared to some members of the LGBTQIA+ community, being a cis-gender, white man who grew up and lives in the Bay Area, a historically queer-friendly place. I was lucky to grow up with an accepting family and community, something not all queer people have the privilege of. It is wonderful to have allies for the LGBTQIA+ community, but Pride is also a time to ensure space is held not just for the more privileged members, but the most underprivileged above all—it is still a form of protest to be queer, and there is work to be done to make sure all members of our community feel represented in society and under the law. Even in our joyful moments at Pride celebrations and supporting LGBTQIA+ artists, leaders, musicians, and celebrities, we must remember the hardships and discrimination many members of the LGBTQIA+ community still face. It is also an opportunity for employees to consider and advance their workplaces to create space for their LGBTQIA+ coworkers.
Here at Kinesso, they understand that space needs to be made. Nobody bats an eye when I mention my partner, and I don’t even need to state it to be understood. The inclusion efforts goes beyond just verbal affirmations, and many LGBTQ+ employees hold prominent and visible roles. As the Social Media Producer, I’m able to have a real say in the Kinesso voice in public forums, which allows me to offer more sensitivity and awareness around certain topics. By working directly with Kinesso’s IMPACT DEI group, I’m able to have a hands-on approach with DEI content, and amplify voices across the company. It also means I have an understanding of the need to amplify other voices too, not just LGBTQIA+ individuals like myself, but the wide plethora of diverse, intersectional voices that make me proud to work at Kinesso and amplify our community.
Kinesso doesn’t just talk the talk, either—earlier this year, our parent company, IPG, was ranked as one of the Human Right’s Campaign’s (HRC) Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality 2022, and remains in the top category of the HRC corporate equality index. Additionally, as part of the 2021 Great Place to Work® Trust Index© Survey, over 98% of employee respondents agreed that employees here are treated fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation. Here, I’m able to be part of fostering an environment of care, compassion, and confidence for all employees, at all levels, regardless of their backgrounds.
I’ve never worked at a company so welcoming of all differences. Kinesso strives to make everyone feel welcome and embraces all backgrounds to the fullest.
If you’re looking to join a company that puts its people first, visit our careers page at https://kinesso.com/careers/.