At Autodesk, we strive to create an environment where all employees can feel a sense of belonging. And we believe that diversity of experience, background and identity will help us to reach our goal of becoming a customer company.
As part of that understanding and commitment, the Autodesk Pride Network sponsors Pride celebrations in many of our global offices. The Autodesk Pride Network is our employee resource group focused on ensuring LGBTQ+ employees feel comfortable and valued and can contribute to their full potential.Now, we want you to meet a few members of the community from around the world.
Growing up, I didn’t really know what gay was. I’m sure there were gay people I’d met without knowing, but I didn’t have that in my vocabulary. I was eight years old when I first understood what it meant, I already had this thought in my head that being gay was something really, really terrible. And I tried to hide it, promising myself I’d keep it a secret and bury it away along with the feelings of shame and fear.
Fast forward to today. I still meet people who hate me simply because I’m gay, but I’d like to believe that there are many more people in the world who genuinely care about and support the LGBTQ+ community.
I’m constantly reminded of just how lucky I am to have the love and support that everyone deserves, especially when I spend time with my niece and nephews, who are so incredibly supportive. I look at them and can’t imagine growing up feeling so comfortable with what gay is or knowing that there were other gay people in the world. But they’re living through that and I know they will continue to be a part of that change and progress because of their unconditional love for their uncle. This is why PRIDE is so important to me. Because I dream of a day where nobody is shunned, fired, hurt, or even killed for being LGBTQ+. Until that dream becomes a reality, we continue marching and fighting for equality. Fighting to disprove every kid who has to grow up with a false belief that they are not worthy of love, dignity, and respect. Fighting against anyone having to bear the shame and guilt for simply being themselves. Fighting to show that we all matter, and we all should have PRIDE in our hearts.
I once worked at a place where diversity wasn’t discussed and where one of my colleagues took great measures to keep his same-sex partner a secret. The work environment itself wasn’t necessarily homophobic, but because no one talked about ‘being gay’, he felt it was a subject best avoided. Our Pride activities at Autodesk do more than just demonstrate that we accept any sexual orientation: they allow LGBTQ+ members to be feel comfortable enough to be themselves.
It’s 2019, and we find ourselves at a very curious point in history—we’ve made huge strides in advancing LGBTQ+ rights but also have a long way to go. Some countries are leading the way while others lag behind. However, no single nation is perfect – take the US, for example, where same-sex couples can get married can also be legally denied service in three states.
Pride has two important parts: celebration and education. It’s important because we get to celebrate the rights we have today but also remember the work we have left to do. I’m proud to have married my husband of two years, of the love we share and the life we are building. I’m proud of my mom, who had a hard time accepting I would be marrying a man but who today, loves my husband as her own son. In the same breath, I still worry about the negative rhetoric we’ve seen from a rising movement against progressive laws. Will I still be able to enjoy the rights I have today 20 years down the road? That’s why Pride is also about educating others, and ensuring future generations enjoy even more rights than we do today.
There’s an amazing quote about why “Pride” was chosen as a rallying cry for the parade that took place in New York a year after Stonewall–“shame is the poison, pride is the antidote.” Being able to not only be open about your sexuality, but to say that you love yourself because of it and not in spite of it is the most powerful form of acceptance and love you can give yourself or anyone else.