“…Pride Month has changed for me over the past 15-plus years that I have been out. At first, it represented the rare occasion that I could hold the hand of my boyfriend without fear of judgment or attacks. It then became the month where my friends and I could come together and celebrate our identities and love.”
What does Pride Month mean to you, personally, or as an LGBTQ+ lawyer in the legal profession?
Pride Month is an important time to reflect and (cliché warning) to be proud of how far I have come in my journey as a gay man. I always remain vigilant in helping others who face challenges related to their sexuality, in both my personal and professional life. This includes helping LGBTQ+ asylum seekers who have come to the United States to avoid persecution or death because of whom they love; drafting amicus briefs in support of equal protection of LGBTQ+ individuals; and assisting non-profits and state legislatures in considering modernization of certain laws and policies that often have a disproportionate effect on LGBTQ+ communities.
However, I sometimes fail to recall my own journey and to celebrate it with friends, family and my community. In fact, Pride Month has changed for me over the past 15-plus years that I have been out. At first, it represented the rare occasion that I could hold the hand of my boyfriend without fear of judgment or attacks. It then became the month where my friends and I could come together and celebrate our identities and love. And since then, it has become a month where I can stand as a voice for those who may not have one in my profession and my community around me, without any fear.
What’s the biggest opportunity you see for creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace environment for the LGBTQ+ community?
LGBTQ+ individuals come from all backgrounds. We are black, brown, Asian, Hispanic, white, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, etc., and we may come from any country, region or culture. We are truly intersectional. Thus, at our best moments, we have the opportunity to come together and discover how we can help each other transcend our differences and any boundaries they may artificially present by using our common anchor of being LGBTQ+, a common tie that differentiates us from others. We can then apply what we learn from each other to help others also learn, both LGBTQ+ and not. And through this intersectionality, we not only have the opportunity to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment for the LGBTQ+ community, but we also have the opportunity to do so for all communities who find themselves at the margin, often without a voice or representation.