Pride 2022: Being your whole self at work
- Posted on June 14, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
As a gay man within a consulting and technology services firm, I have questioned whether I can be my authentic self at work and with my clients. In some situations, I have held back my true identity or not shared details of my personal life to fit in, get invited to participate in a new business pitch or get that next promotion.
But working for Avanade, this is no longer the case, as we see change across our workplace and within society.
I am glad to be working for a company where I have found my allies and where being true to yourself and expressing your identity is expected and valued. I have worked at different organizations, where I have had to fit in – dress a certain way, speak in a certain manner, and adhere to values set by others. If you didn’t fit in, your career stalled no matter how well you performed at your job. As a senior leader at Avanade, it is my responsibility to ensure those around me have allies who can stand up for each other and ensure we work in an equitable culture.
We live in a culture where socioeconomic status, race, gender, citizenship and many other parts of people’s identity are often marginalized. I believe we will have true equality when inclusion means equity for all—when people are treated the same, regardless of their identity.
We are making progress. Our LGBTQ+ Employee Network (called Prism) has a multiplier effect, opening doors that may have previously been closed. We are also seeing better representation of gay and trans people in shows like HBO’s “Pose” or “Legendary,” but more progress needs to happen there as well so that their stories are written and represented by their community at large. Corporate culture is also changing to let people identify who they are with neo-pronouns and changes to family leave programs for people to transition. It is not enough that gay white, cisgender men like me are succeeding — our entire community needs to succeed, and I am committed to making that happen. Internally across a few of our countries in Avanade, we are rolling out a pronoun campaign where people can choose how they would like to be identified.
Everyone can help. Allies can support the LGBTQ+ community by listening to our stories, learning more about our lives and speaking out against discrimination in all forms — both in and outside of work.