Inside this year’s Pride Month theme: Unapologetically Us
Each year, our Pridebox ERG brainstorms a relevant, powerful theme for Pride Month activities, and this year’s theme felt especially poignant. Read on for Software Engineer Jamie Riedesel and Software Engineer Manager Jaime Wheeler’s perspective on how it was chosen and what it means to them personally.
‘Unapologetically Us’ is the theme for this year’s Pride Month. Why was this chosen?
JR: Our community is under a much higher level of attack than in previous years, with bills across the United States aiming to eliminate mention of our existence in schools and legitimize hate. Unapologetically Us says we are here, and we’re not going to apologize for taking up space. This is an homage to old standby chants during AIDS crisis protests and pride marches over the last several decades.
JW: The onslaught of attacks, both physical and legislative, on every part of the LGBTQ+ community has been an endless struggle that prompted Stonewall over 50 years ago and birthed Pride. In the first half of 2022 alone, hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced — and passed — that are designed to intimidate, discriminate, and limit freedoms that are basic human rights. Regardless of who we are or love, the LGBTQ+ community is part of the fabric of every local and global community. Standing up, raising our voices, and showing up as Unapologetically Us is a continuation of being seen as our authentic selves.
What does the theme mean to you as an individual and why is it important for the larger community?
JR: I came of age during the AIDS crisis, and had friends participate in Act UP actions to try and get more attention around the HIV epidemic. We’ve come a long, long way towards social acceptance of much of the Pridebox community, and there is a loud political movement trying to shove us back into the closet. We’re not going back, and we’re going to have a party to celebrate not going back!
Also, Dropbox is a global company, and Pridebox is everywhere that Dropbox is. The movement to push us back into the closet is a global one, and our members need to know that all of us have their back no matter what country they call home.
JW: Division is often the weapon of choice for those in perceived power. Looking broader at the intersectionality we have with other marginalized groups based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, we can witness struggles, attacks, and legislation that mirrors our own. We have to look beyond it being someone else’s problem and lend support to one another, because when their battles are all but lost, someone else will be the next target.
What can allies learn from this theme and how can they support it?
JR: Celebrate with us, make it clear you do not disdain our presence, and push back against those who think kids are ‘too young’ to know that we exist. Don’t apologize on our behalf; push back against people trying to make you do that.
JW: Only by being more inclusive and accepting of not only what makes us different, but what also makes us the same, can we progress towards a local-to-global community that holds equal value for one another. The LGBTQ+ communities around the world are made up of our chosen families and Pridebox will always make room for allies to be part of our community, be it to celebrate, fight, laugh, cry, or just love and care for one another for who we are.
Want to learn more about how we support Dropboxers of all backgrounds and identities through our ERGs? You can meet them here.