In many parts of the world, LGBTQ+ individuals are able to live their lives without persecution. But there are still 69 countries in the world today with laws criminalizing homosexuality, and 9 countries with laws criminalizing gender expression.
I feel lucky to live in the United States where LGBTQ+ rights have evolved significantly. While I’ve faced challenges, I’ve also found it a lot easier to “rock my rainbow.”
No matter where you’re located, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t always easy. Pride Month is a time to recognize the impact that members of the LGBTQ+ community have made on the world, learn about injustices they face daily, and gain a better understanding of how to become an ally and help alleviate some of the issues LGBTQ+ people face.
I’m happy to share that Extreme’s employee resource group (ERG) for the LGBTQ+ community and allies, Pride Alliance, is hosting the company’s first true Pride Month celebration! We are bringing in exceptional guest speakers to share their personal experiences with our employees, in addition to other fun activities and even a virtual pride parade.
Additionally, a few of our ERG members took a moment to share their thoughts on how we can further diversity and inclusion as a society, and I’m pleased to share them with you.
Over the last few years, Extreme has been building a strong diversity and inclusion program, and I am so proud of everything we have accomplished. It makes me emotional to see all of these amazing ERGs and other programs we have put in place. I love that future generations have these opportunities and will have a little bit easier of a road ahead of them than older generations did.
I am honored to be a part of Extreme’s amazing D&I programs. When Kimberly Basnight first asked me if I would lead the Pride Alliance, I said yes with no hesitation at all! I had no hesitation because nothing about me really changed. I still deliver the same value to my job and still perform at a high level. The only thing that has changed is the people know something about me that they may not have known before. The fact that I am gay is just a part of who I am; it is not something I hide, and it is not something I am afraid to share with anyone.
My favorite thing about this ERG is that we are able to welcome so many wonderful people. I love hearing other people’s stories, showing people how to be allies, and getting the chance to mentor people who are going through similar experiences that I’ve gone through. At the end of the day, I want people to be able to be their authentic selves at work and feel comfortable doing so.
If your company is looking to create a diverse and inclusive environment similar to what we have cultivated at Extreme, I suggest being authentic with your intentions and starting from the top. We are so lucky at Extreme to have a supportive and genuine executive leadership team. They have been instrumental in the establishment, adoption, and success of our diversity and inclusion initiatives. They understand that employees who feel supported and valued are more productive and efficient, benefitting our organization as a whole.