At Ogury, we are fiercely proud of our employees and community. This month, we sat down with some of our Pride-proud Ogurians to discuss what Pride means to them, how they celebrate (or don’t) and what companies can do to support the LGBTQIA+ community all year round.
Eduardo – Publisher Success Manager
For me, celebrating pride is a reminder that we are allowed to be ourselves without having a constant feeling of being hurt or threatened by being who we truly are.
Growing up in Mexico made me feel the need to develop an instinct to protect myself and follow the rules of what I thought was required to fit in society, even if this meant going against my own interests. I’ve had the opportunity to live abroad and experience life being truly who I am, and this has allowed me to accept myself and others in so many ways beyond just their gender preferences.
Working in a safe environment has made a huge difference in my personal development and wellbeing, and companies that promote and encourage an overall safety for all its employees are a clear example of how to show care and commitment within an organisation.
I truly appreciate Ogury for taking the lead in so many ways with no exception of this initiative, which helps to build and maintain a healthy and strong company inside and out.
Marie – Office & Happiness Manager
I don’t celebrate Pride personally as I don’t think we need a special month to be more open-minded – everyone has rights and this shouldn’t be dependent on gender or sexual orientation. It’s not normal that we still have to fight for being treated equally in the 21st century. Of course, I recognize that acceptance towards the LGBTQIA+ community is better than a few years/decades ago (at least in France where I live).
My story is complicated but one I’d like to share.
In my 20s, I met and started dating someone. He had a different look in terms of his haircut etc. Gradually, he started to change, becoming more and more feminine but I didn’t even think about it. I did notice that he seemed less happy and confident and he finally admitted after 8 months of being together, that he wanted to be a woman. It took me a few days to process but then I decided to stay because I loved this person, no matter what.
I started to research gender reassignment and even “bought” a star with the new name my partner wanted to have. It was complicated to handle sometimes because I had to choose my words carefully at every moment. I knew nothing about gender reassignment and how she was feeling but tried my best to be a patient listener and more open-minded than ever.
A year later, we broke up for other reasons unrelated to her gender reassignment. I was lost and didn’t really know if I was lesbian, bisexual or something else. I decided that it’s not necessary to choose and that loving someone shouldn’t be based on his/her gender or based on any other difference.
Salvatore – AdOps Manager
I do celebrate Pride! I am very fortunate that I live in Los Angeles, CA, which goes all out for Pride month, but is also really good at celebrating all year long! For the month itself, I love trying to get to local drag shows, especially ones that benefit a local LGBTQIA+ charity. I also love spending time with the community I have built – this is what Pride is all about!
Representation is at an all-time high, but there’s also a record number of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation popping up across the country (and globe). That’s why I think it’s so important to be visible and claim community where we can – the only way to persevere is together as our authentic selves.
I have been very fortunate that I have never been rejected by anyone close to me, friend or family, because of my identity as a gay man. Still, coming out was the hardest part and I am forever grateful to my friend who held my hand through the process and loved me all along the way.
From my point of view, there are many ways that companies can advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community the rest of the year too. For example, taking what we’ve learned during this month and applying it all year – respecting pronouns, rejecting bigotry (which can be difficult in business, but not impossible) and not assuming someone’s identity. It’s for them to decide and share.
Employees can help in building an atmosphere of inclusion, regardless of their personal views by having respect for each other. You don’t need to understand someone’s experience, just have the courtesy to let them live as they are.
David – Sales Director
For me, Pride is a month of ME: The unapologetic, unequivocal, unmistaken, proud, Me.
I’ve never related to anything more than when Alexander Leon said, “Queer people don’t grow up as ourselves, we grow up playing a version of ourselves that sacrifices authenticity to minimize humiliation & prejudice. The massive task of our adult lives is to unpick which parts of ourselves are truly us & which parts we’ve created to protect us. It’s massive and existential and difficult.
I’m convinced that being confronted with the need for profound self-discovery so explicitly (and often early in life) is a gift in disguise. We come out the other end wiser & truer to ourselves. Often Cis/hetero people never get there. All of this is to say – be kind to yourself. Be proud of yourself and be you. Take this month, and every other month in the year to celebrate that fact alone. Discovering who you really are is an enormous task, and it doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen without some hiccups along the way. Be patient, be compassionate, be vulnerable and exist loudly. And most of all – be proud!”
Being queer in the corporate world is not always the easiest because often these residual feelings of hiding start to show their faces again. What I have felt and seen is when the queer community is given space and visibility, they are allowed to be their truest self, yielding their best work. While flags and parades, glitter and rainbows are amazing, true equality and acceptance is all I want. I want the same pay, the same access, the same respect, the same appreciation as ever human under the umbrella.
At the end of the day, space and visibility is the strongest weapon to combat ignorance and hatred. It helps provide a work environment where we are not merely tolerated but celebrated, and celebrated the same way we should celebrate everyone. My motto has and will always be to be visible – I can only excel in my career if I am comfortable in my own skin – so just allow to me to be!