Why Pride is for Everyone (Yes, Including You!)

By Elle Cardenas

You may have seen the rainbow flags flying, or watched the confetti-fueled parades flowing through the streets, and you know what that means — June is Pride Month. And not just for those of us who identify as LGBTQ+. Pride Month is a time to celebrate the idea that #LoveWins.

It’s an opportunity to come together to support, encourage, and accept our fellow humans — to declare, “We may not be the same, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s awesome. And I support you being 100% you.” It’s a reminder to stand up for those beside us — especially those who may not always feel accepted — as friends, and as allies.

To really make progress when it comes to equal rights and equal treatment, support from allies is not just something people in underrepresented communities want — it’s something we need. Many of us, from all walks of life, aren’t always comfortable being unabashedly, unapologetically ourselves. Having allies by your side reminds you that you’re not alone, and makes your journey that much easier to navigate.

I’ve been there. As a queer person of color in the tech industry, I’ve encountered homophobia, both personally and professionally. So when I first started at Salesforce three years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

In my first month in a new role, I found myself at a team event where everyone was chatting about their significant others. Eventually the conversation turned to me, and a coworker asked the (dreaded) question: “How about you … do you have a boyfriend?” For a split second I wondered, ““Will they treat me differently?” I just wanted to fit in and feel “normal,” but I also didn’t want to lie about who I was.

So, I took a deep breath and said that I had a girlfriend. And … that was that. My coworker and I talked about it briefly (positively!), and then naturally segued to another topic.

And it’s been like that ever since. What I love most about being “out” at Salesforce is that it doesn’t feel like I am. Being myself doesn’t require thinking about how much I’m willing to risk. And that kind of support from my team has allowed me to focus on doing my best and most creative work instead of worrying about being accepted for who I am as a person.

As Associate Art Director on the Salesforce Employee Marketing & Engagement team and Global Creative Lead for Outforce, Salesforce’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, I design creative for programs that highlight diversity and inclusion and enhance the employee experience. I couldn’t be more honored to be Salesforce’s Woman of the Month for June, and hope you will all celebrate Pride this month with fellow members of our Ohana.

Salesforce is a very special environment — there aren’t many workplaces like it. But no matter where you work, chances are there’s someone around you who seeks support, acceptance, and allies. Everyone should feel supported in being themselves. Pride Month is an opportunity to open your mind, reach out to others, and be an ally.

You might be wondering, “How exactly can I be an ally this month, and every month?” It’s a great question ask, and the first step is to thoughtfully listen to the voices of underrepresented folks. Just be a friend. Be open. Be kind. Talk to people about their experiences. Be generous, and offer your support without necessarily needing to center yourself in a conversation or cause. Get involved in diversity and inclusion groups. Offer guidance to peers when you observe them struggling act respectfully. And just like that–you’re an ally. And not only Salesforce, but our entire community is a little bit better because of you.

Find out more about how #SalesforceWelcomesAll at salesforce.com/equality.

Originally published at www.salesforce.com.

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