In recognition of Pride month, Brivo welcomed the Stonewall Speakers to present for this year’s annual Brivo Pride presentation. Originally founded in 1988 as Speak Out, the Stonewall Speakers is a diverse group that primarily helps to educate students about the LGBTQIA+ community, continuing to speak in many high schools and colleges in the Northeast. They have extended their reach to include companies and other institutions to further educate audiences about their community.
Today’s presentation focused on being transgendered in the workplace and experiences of revealing this with colleagues. The goal was to share lessons learned in order to help others better understand these experiences and their impact.
Their stories talked about the difficulties of being LGBTQIA+ while growing up, especially during the latter part of the 20th century, when societal and cultural views on these matters were not nearly as progressive as they are today. It was not until much later in life that these speakers were allowed to express their true selves. They shared the sheer joy and completeness that their lifelong struggles were finally recognized and accepted when they were allowed to express themselves freely and openly.
“Seeing so many people who have undoubtedly faced challenges be so vulnerable was truly inspiring. It takes courage to live as your full self, and it’s a reminder that everyone should be afforded that right.” – Brivo Employee
“There were three speakers who spoke about their experience as LGBTQIA+, how they figured out themselves amidst the world and its chaos. They each shared such honest and heartfelt stories. It was really beautiful to hear their stories and at the end, it was very interactive as the audience asked questions. I really enjoyed attending this event and I am happy that Brivo as a company is so thoughtful to welcome such events. It was such a genuine event and I was happy to be part of it.” – Brivo Employee
Some key takeaways from the presentation to note were, allowing employees to transition openly, and providing support has shown improvement in workplace performance due to not having to devote mental resources to hiding one’s true self.
Even though the employee presents differently, there won’t be any loss of institutional knowledge or professionalism. They are the same employee as they were yesterday, but have the courage to show their true selves.
The ultimate goal of an employer is to ensure that employees feel accepted and welcomed. Additionally, if the employer has questions or is confused during this process, the speakers all recommended not being afraid to speak up and say “I don’t understand” and earnestly ask for help.
“Being a young, LGBTQIA+, black professional comes with a lot of questions – for yourself and from others. This opportunity to hear the personal experiences from the Stonewall Speakers organization helped me realize that I am worthy of being in this professional space but even more obligated to pave the way for so many who did not have the luxury before – and many who do not have the support right now. In hindsight, it’s no longer, ‘I’m Queer and I’m here’…it is now ‘I’m Queer and I DESERVE to be HERE’.” – Brivo Employee
The best takeaway in recognizing an employee both during and after their transition or coming out is to simply share their joy in allowing them to be their true selves.