Trending / June 29, 2021

Reflecting on Pride Month at Gigamon

As Pride Month comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the need for visibility and the duality of its purpose for the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s important for all of us to celebrate and honor being our true selves and keep a spotlight on the unrelenting fight for safety, normalization, and equal rights.

The need for visibility doesn’t stop in June. Raising LGBTQIA+ voices up to be heard, truly listening, supporting LGBTQIA+ organizations, and embracing the community year-round is essential. If allies like myself don’t continue standing against bigotry and intolerance, the rights of this community will be fleeting. Though it can be daunting and sometimes uncomfortable to put ourselves out there, we must not waver — we must recognize that this fight belongs to all of us.

At Gigamon, I speak for the entire company when I say that we will not tolerate anything less than acceptance, respect, and a safe environment that embraces people for who they are.

On a personal level, I will be the first to admit that I didn’t always know what Pride Month meant. I grew up in Australia, where the queer community was a celebrated and accepted group, with many of its associated celebrations centered around Mardi Gras in February. I fondly remember the annual parade in Sydney’s Oxford Street that was represented with colorful floats, lots of glitter, and tons of color. It was always a fun event — you could feel the love in the air and see that people truly accepted each other. However, even though Australia is considered an incredibly LGBTQIA+-accepting country, Australian same-sex couples did not have the same legal right to marry until December 9, 2017 — almost two years after their American counterparts.

I moved to the U.S. in 2012 and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, including over a year spent in San Francisco. Similar to Sydney, my new home fully embraced inclusivity and the ability to be authentic. San Francisco has a culture of openness and understanding among its community members that is steeped in the city’s history. This is where I really experienced Pride Month and started to understand its importance — outside of the flag, parades, and color.

It’s also where I experienced the joy, first-hand, of the United States Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling being passed down. Finally, a hard-fought battle had been won — my LGBTQIA+ peers finally had the same right to marry as me. It takes my breath away now, just as it did then. It’s also why I will continue using my voice to defend the rights of this community and, hopefully, will help make the voices of my LGBTQIA+ peers even louder. Love is love, and equal rights are important for everyone. No one should be made to feel less important or given fewer freedoms because of who they are.

To all my queer colleagues, friends, and broader community — happy Pride! The fight doesn’t stop at the end of June — rather, the momentum gained from this special month will continue onwards. We will continue supporting you to be your authentic selves, pushing to close the gap on equal rights, and working to sustain the progress that has been made.

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