🐈 Community

Spotlight: Upworkers Share What Pride Means to Them

michaelajornlin
Community Manager

Each June we celebrate LGBTQIA2S Pride Month in honor of the Stonewall uprising that began on June 28, 1969. We asked members of Upwork’s internal Up and Out Belonging Community to share who inspires them, what pride means to them, and how being a member of the LGBTQIA2S community has influenced them.


Who from the LGBTQ+ community inspires you and why?

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Fernando, Project Success Manager: Jonathan Van Ness is so inspiring, he has proven that confidence is sexy, to be able to see people's humanity in all around us since someone who fundamentally disagrees with you politically or socially are not bad people. I can't expect that other side to have compassion for me if I can't put myself in their shoes too.

 

Also love this quote: "You should focus on your self, after you are happy with your own identity, personality, and your own place in life, then others will also be more likely to see you in the same light."

 

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Sofia, Sr. Product Design Manager: There's SO many! Alok is definitely my top inspiration for their efforts in launching the #degenderfashion campaign and for surfacing issues about being queer in the South Asian community. Gina Yashere is also my top inspiration for pushing through so many boundaries with her intersectional identity in the world of comedy and TV, she's not afraid of using her platform to advocate for issues impacting the Black community and she's hella funny, like HELLA FUNNY! 



 

What does Pride mean to you?

Fernando: Pride means an opportunity to recognize and appreciate all of the folx who wrote/lead the path to where we are now, where we can live more freely and truly also want to make it easier for future generations.

 

Sofia: Pride is a celebration of our collective power and unapologetic fierceness to live our truths.



How has being LGBTQIA2S+ influenced you?

Fernando: I have being influenced into being more emphatic, I have been adopting a new way to accept myself, accept others and to respect the one world that we live in... in all perspectives.

 

Sofia: Being queer has influenced me to take risks and continue being my authentic self every day.



How do you celebrate Pride Month?

Fernando: I usually have a podcast episode dedicated to Mental Health within pride month, we like to celebrate all members of our community and want to hear stories (failure or success), yet listening to these stories make us stronger together.

 

Sofia: I celebrate by making more time to reconnect with friends and family in the queer community. Increase awareness of the various identities on the spectrum. But my favorite is connecting with queer youth on an ongoing basis, not just during Pride month. Especially queer youth that have been kicked out of their homes and trying to survive. I enjoy mentoring and helping to provide access to financial opportunities. This pride month is a very special one for me because I'm celebrating by getting married to my boo-thang of 10+ years, LeNiece Vaccaro!



How has Upwork enabled you to bring your authentic self to work?

Fernando: Upwork has helped with being the same person at home and at work, there's no difference now, I am my true self all around it, I feel safe, secure and comfortable among my peers and leaders, I feel blessed, happy and overall with a very positive feeling on my 9to5.

 

Sofia: All of Upwork's various layers of support have made a difference in enabling me to bring my authentic self to work. From our CEO to our Upwork Belonging Communities to my director and immediate nucleus of teammates. Every person plays a role and responsibility in enabling each other to bring their authentic selves to work. It's a domino effect, the more folks get to be their authentic selves, the more comfortable they feel in taking risks and trying new ways of doing things that circle back to benefit the self, the team, the company, and society overall.