By Anonymous Employee
Our BioDiversity & Inclusion team is proud to accept the following contribution and share it anonymously as requested by the author. This act represents the core of what a diversity, equity and inclusion initiative is all about: sharing compassion and mutual respect for all. We are grateful to all contributors, including those who are motivated to tell their story but not quite ready to reveal their identity in the workplace. Thank you!
Why do we celebrate Pride Month?
In my eyes, we celebrate Pride month to recognize how far we’ve come as a country in accepting sexual preferences and orientation that don’t fall within the “standard” categories. Together, we stand and fight for equality and respect for the LGBTQ+ community. We have a month dedicated to this celebration because it has not been the easiest fight and it’s a way for those who support these efforts to express themselves, their feelings for themselves or others and to rejoice.
What does Pride Month mean to you?
To me, pride month is a reminder that there are so many people and places that welcome me for who I am and for who I choose to be with. The overwhelming support I see from the people around me and the companies I involve myself with brings me joy knowing that I am not alone in this.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, how do you feel about our corporate culture at BioReference?
BioReference has been a great place to work with its warm and inclusive environment. The company culture is very understanding because they are people oriented. Unfortunately, I have experienced a company culture that was discriminatory against my lifestyle in a previous organization. This caused me to be hesitant about sharing the details of my personal life. After joining our organization, I soon realized that BioReference was different. They are patient, supportive, and accepting. I am comfortable sharing my story with those I interact with at BioReference. I even invited fellow colleagues and managers to my wedding to come celebrate our commitment because I felt that their support was genuine. While I do cherish the inclusivity of BioReference and how supportive my team is, I remain reserved in how open I am with individuals I do not regularly connect with due to my unfortunate past. I appreciate BioReference for helping me break out of my shell and for showing me that there are organizations out there where I can be myself and be accepted for who I am.
Why is it important to have these discussions in the workplace?
It’s important to have these types of conversations within the workplace because one’s inner battles and feelings can reflect in your work. Having a supportive team that understands your decisions [even if they don’t agree] can open the room for better communication and potentially even new ideas! Working in an environment where you feel safe is welcoming and personally allows me to relax and focus on what my priorities are for the day. I am a better contributor when I know I am appreciated, understood, and part of a real community that I can lean on when in need. Spending a third of your day at work, that environment can seem like family. I love my BioReference family!
What would you like colleagues to understand about the need to remain anonymous at this time?
I appreciate the availability of being anonymous in not only this interview for myPerspective but in other areas when it comes to my sexual orientation and preference because this is my story… no one else’s to tell. As understanding as BioReference may be, I know that there will be others who may have different views and to me, at the end of the day- they don’t deserve to know and attempt to bring me down. I want to be in control of who knows me as a person, first, because that’s what really matters- not who I decided to spend the rest of my life with. Not all that have preferences “out of the regular” are loud, proud, and flamboyant about it – and that is okay! Having the option to be anonymous is just one of the many ways BioReference shows they are understanding of many different lifestyles.
Do you have any other advice or anecdote to share that would help others understand and gain compassion toward the concerns or challenges you face in the workplace?
I would like others to understand that I am who I am- and to take it for what it is. It shouldn’t make a difference who I decide to spend my life with or how I feel is most appropriate FOR ME especially within the workplace. If someone does not support my preferences- their arguments nor any poor behavior is going to sway my life decisions. There is already so much unnecessary tension and distress going on in the world, there is no reason to attack an individual because of sexual preference or orientation especially if that makes someone happy. If you see someone having a hard time, support them even if it’s just smiling at them when they seem down- smiles are contagious!
I hope there comes a day when we don’t have to be careful of who we share our story with, in fear of being judged, harassed, or mistreated… until then, continue to be yourself and remember, this is YOUR story to tell. These are YOUR feelings and YOUR life- be respectful to those around you and hope they return the favor.