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Ruthie Berber
Senior Marketing Program Manager
June 29th, 2020

Q&A: What Does Pride Mean to You?

We spoke to our community about what Pride means to them and how they’re using their role to increase visibility and create space for the LGBTQIA+ community. Read what they had to say below.

Alexandra Tanner

2020 Amazing Women in eCommerce Honoree
Assistant VP, Digital Marketing & eCommerce at L’Oreal
Pronouns: she/her

In light of 2020 developments, how are you planning to celebrate Pride this year? 

Pride will be a mostly digital experience for me this year, in terms of how I am showing up and connecting with the community. Earlier this month, I helped organize a Queer Womxn Entrepreneur panel on behalf of StartOut, which was fun. StartOut is a national nonprofit aimed at increasing the number, diversity, and impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. Gathering online does not always have the same energy as IRL events, but the plus side is that the reach of how many people can participate in events is exponential.

2020 Pride is also about listening and ceding space to the larger dialogue of the moment, specifically the Black Lives Matter and #TransLivesMatter movements. I am listening, learning, and examining the role I can play in dismantling antiquated societal systems of oppression. I am putting these new learnings into action as much as possible, aiming to be a good ally and accomplice, whether it’s opening my calendar to BIPOC individuals who are looking for advice on careers in eCommerce or networking, or donating to organizations that are doing the activism work on the front line. One organization that I’d like to highlight is Ali Forney Center (https://www.aliforneycenter.org/) that does phenomenal work for LGBTQ+ homeless youth in New York and needs support now more than ever.

Can you tell us about the first time you were aware of and celebrated Pride — and what inspired you to do so? 

I remember my first New York Pride March in 2013 pretty vividly as I had driven down from my hometown of Montreal to attend. Edie Windsor was the Grand Marshall that year and seeing her in person and cheering her on was pretty profound. Edie Windsor was a LGBTQ+ trailblazer and the lead plaintiff in the  Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor. The Windsor decision in 2013 overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and became the cornerstone of marriage equality in the U.S. 

On a personal note, I didn’t know then how significantly the marriage equality act would affect my life, but fast forward to 2017 when I married my wife Michelle and was able to become a U.S permanent resident through marriage — something you could not do as an LGBTQ+ couple until 2014.

Can you share more about what Pride means to you and your connection to it? 

Pride is about showing up as a community and creating a celebrated space to be unapologetically yourself. In a lot of ways, I think the concept of Pride is taken for granted, as something that is earned and can never be taken away, informed by the idea that we as a society keep progressing forward. The past few years have shown me that rights can be stripped away (look to the most recent legislation to weaken safeguards for Transgender people across multiple sectors). We need to continually fight to ensure that we are achieving equality and rights for ALL members of the community and not just some.

Can you share more about the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in the workplace and how you use your role to build awareness and create space for the LGBTQIA+ community? 

I try to be visible in terms of my LGBTQ+ identity at work, whether that means participating in our LGBTQ+ think-tank Out at L’Oreal, or acting as a mentor for the L’Oreal USA Diverse Future Leaders program, which aims to foster a more inclusive and diverse pipeline for talent. 

Tiana Coles

From the Yotpo Team
People Experience Specialist, Yotpo
Pronouns: she/her majesty 

In light of 2020 developments, how are you planning to celebrate Pride this year? 

This year I’m leaning heavily on my social media to celebrate Pride in lieu of a parade. I’ve decided to learn makeup looks inspired by drag in every color of the rainbow, and I’m sharing pieces of my journey as a bisexual woman with each post. 

Can you tell us about the first time you were aware of and celebrated Pride — and what inspired you to do so? 

I realized that I was bisexual in 2010, and although I hadn’t come out to family yet, I had a very supportive boyfriend who mentioned the parade to me. We initially went “just to see” and ended up marching until the end. It ended up being a big day for me. 

Can you share more about what Pride means to you and your connection to it? 

For me, Pride is not just a time for celebration, but also for education and awareness. It took me until age 22 to figure out my (bi)sexuality due to having been raised in a heteronormative family. For more than half my life I was deeply confused. Pride celebrates individuality, authenticity and living one’s truth, and the bigger it gets each year, the more I hope folks will take the time to educate themselves so that future generations can start living their truths sooner, with fewer obstacles in life. 

Can you share more about the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in the workplace and how you use your role to build awareness and create space for the LGBTQIA+ community? 

I think it’s important to have LGBTQIA+ representation in the workplace for visibility and inclusion. Heteronormativity in the workplace can feel alienating. I use my role as People Experience Specialist to provide a window into the LGBTQIA+ community through fun and interactive activities, and raise awareness around the issues the community faces through educational and fundraising events. 

Meghan Stabler

2020 Amazing Women in eCommerce Honoree
VP Global Marketing and Communications, BigCommerce
Pronouns: she/her

In light of 2020 developments, how are you planning to celebrate Pride this year? 

Virtually, I’m leveraging many of the online LGBTQ+ social and community events that are now using Zoom and other platforms — although our rainbow flag flies at the front of our house 24/7.

Can you tell us about the first time you were aware of and celebrated Pride — and what inspired you to do so? 

It was in the early 90’s. I’d lost several friends to the effects of HIV/AIDS and wished to show my support for a community that was in crisis and needed help. 

Can you share more about what Pride means to you and your connection to it? 

It’s about showing the world that we are [still] here. We are happy, authentic, and prideful, and our many differences, even within the community, unite us as a wonderful tapestry of fabulousness. Visibility is also helping to show others, who are closeted or struggling to come out, to be authentic because there are others just like them. Essentially, PRIDE offers hope via visibility and authenticity to others.

Can you share more about the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in the workplace and how you use your role to build awareness and create space for the LGBTQIA+ community? 

Being LGBTQ+ is to be in a minority. As a leader in both my company and in the wider LGBTQ+ community, I believe that my visibility shows everyone, including our “cis” colleagues, that we are as human as them and as capable as them. We can use our positions of leadership to amplify and raise up others, we can be their voice as needed, and when we see any form of discrimination — we can stand up and address it.

Kate Bould

From the Yotpo and Amazing Women in eCommerce Teams
Communications Manager, Yotpo
Pronouns: she/her

In light of 2020 developments, how are you planning to celebrate Pride this year? 

We very recently moved from Brooklyn to Hudson, NY and around the corner from us, there’s Lil’ Debs Oasis, a queer-friendly restaurant, hosting a Goddess Ball via Zoom with all funds going straight back to the performers — so we’re doing that as our sort of ‘dedicated celebration.’ 

Can you tell us about the first time you were aware of and celebrated Pride — and what inspired you to do so? 

I’m from Texas, and with that, a very homogenous part of Texas, so my exposure to pride and queer communities was pretty nonexistent. It wasn’t until I was in college, studying abroad, that I realized I was queer and started to educate myself on the queer community and its history. Right after studying abroad, I went to the Pride march in New York, but in a kind of closeted way — I kept telling people I was going to visit a friend and had ‘no idea’ it was Pride weekend — but at that point, Pride for me was a lifeline. It was the first time that I felt like I could be open about who I am. I just remember being basically alone in this crowd of people, feeling so overwhelmed by their joy, resilience, and power. 

Can you share more about what Pride means to you and your connection to it? 

For me, Pride is about community; it’s about acknowledging and celebrating my own experiences, while also taking that time to learn about and celebrate the experiences of others. There was a time when so much of my identity was wrapped in shame and Pride is a time where I can recognize that complexity and still find joy in it. Pride started as a protest and in my opinion, will always be a protest. Black Trans women really propelled the Pride movement at the end of the 1960s and it’s 2020 and we’re still here fighting for many of those same rights. 

Can you share more about the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in the workplace and how you use your role to build awareness and create space for the LGBTQIA+ community? 

It’s absolutely crucial. You can’t be a progressive or relevant company without a representative perspective and voice. At my first company, during my first week working there, our director outed me to our entire team. From that moment on, I realized how important it was to talk about my identity and build awareness of the varied experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community, so that people would be more equipped to sympathize, listen, and educate themselves, to avoid situations exactly like that. When it comes to brand communications and AWIE, it’s obviously super important to have inclusive imagery, communications, and voices represented — that said, I’m lucky to work alongside many people that feel the same way, so our responsibility is really to hold ourselves and one another accountable. 

 

To find out more about the Amazing Women in eCommerce program and meet our inspiring, 2020 Honorees, check out womeninecomm.com.

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