Reflecting on PRIDE Month 2024...

By: Pilar Rios (she/her) | IT Category Management | Global Procurement

Dear colleagues,

As Pride Month approaches, I wanted to take a moment to share a piece of my story and experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ Community. This is purely a personal experience that may or may not resonate with other Queer stories. That said, I hope this piece helps to foster year-round visibility, respect, and support for every member of the community within our Company.

*Subtle* - to describe something that is delicately complex and understated. This is a word that describes one aspect of my experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. These are elements of my day to day that occur behind the scenes or are unspoken whether in my personal life, at work, or out in public. A constant dance where I try to assess how much of myself, I can safely share.

Much like a masquerade ball, I am in a room surrounded by individuals, all with their own identities and walks of life; unsure of each person’s feelings or beliefs towards the LGBTQ+ community, so as if they wear a mask. I am interacting with another person, trying to see past this mask to understand their feelings and whether I will be safe around them. A hidden and exhausting process that my mind goes through when deciding how vulnerable I can be. I am not often assumed to be a part of the LGBTQ+ Community, so it is a balancing process between removing my own masquerade, inviting people in, and not necessarily wanting to disclose my personal life with every person I encounter.

It is interesting to compare my Queer identity with the other two identities I hold, being a Woman and Hispanic. I am often more comfortable speaking about these other two identities than about being Queer as I feel that in some cases, being Hispanic or being a Woman is accepted and celebrated more outwardly than being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. This is why I believe it is so important for different communities and organizations to support one another ensuring we have the proper resources to provide a visible safe space. There are many small simple ways in which people can show clear and open allyship, ensuring Queer folks feel safe to be open about their own identity and find social support wherever they are.

There is great joy in celebrating everyone’s journeys and life stories. People are complex and creating a safe space for open dialogue and exchange of experiences is essential for fostering respect, understanding, empathy, and growth. These conversations serve as powerful catalysts for human connection, community collaboration, and personal development. The LGBTQ+ community is filled vibrant people with diverse backgrounds. To my Queer colleagues, I see you. Wherever you are in your journey, I am here always happy to talk, listen and connect with you.

Pilar Rios (she/her)

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