TEKsystems technical recruiter Alex Seniguar shares his personal perspective on LGBTQIA+ Pride month, the workplace and open discussions.
June 22, 2021 | By Alex Seniguar
At TEKsystems, we’re committed to nurturing an inclusive employee culture and welcoming diversity into every part of our business. In this series of personal essays, we’re highlighting the unique perspectives and reflections of our employees. We aim to not only see and recognize the diversity of our teams but also to better understand how we all play a part in fostering an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.
June: known as a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and commemorate the Stonewall riots. A month filled with rainbows, giant flags and exuberant festivals. Four weeks of activism and equality discussions and “love is love” proclamations.
And while all of those things are important, uplifting and help to create visibility, Pride is more than just rainbow-covered promotions or posting a Pride logo. It’s about inclusivity, accessibility, support and respect all the time—not just one month out of the year. At the core, Pride is about understanding and empathy.
I think it’s important to understand that the media’s interpretation and the public’s perception of the gay community doesn’t always accurately represent the range of diverse identities and individuality of the community. I came out as gay in 2017, but growing up, I would see gay characters on TV who aligned themselves with comedic relief rather than the depth of an individual, which did not resonate with me. From a surface level, my mannerisms don’t identify with gay stereotypes, and oftentimes people will assume I’m straight and ask about my girlfriend or wife before I have to correct them and explain I have a boyfriend.
While I feel that where I’m based in central Florida is open-minded about individuality and identities, the reality is that there are still some circumstances where I question if my boyfriend and I should hold hands or show affection in public. I’m fortunate to never have experienced any kind of violence in my upbringing or throughout my own personal journey, but not everyone is so lucky. As I reflect and commemorate Pride month, I think of the Pulse nightclub shooting that happened in Orlando just over five years ago that tragically took the lives of 49 people and shook the gay community to our core.
To me, Pride is very personal, but it’s important to share those personal experiences and conversations to evolve our understanding. From conversations about pronoun preferences, to the importance of having LGBTQIA+ representation in our government, to understanding gender identities and expressions—embracing these types of open conversations is important to deepen our understanding and inclusion of each other. Across identities, backgrounds, cultures and experiences, there is so much complexity to an individual. Nothing is ever black and white.
LGBTQ+ support in the workplace
As far as LGBTQ+ Pride in the workplace, organizations have a responsibility to create supportive, inclusive and safe environments for all. Throughout the different roles in my career, I’ve experienced different approaches to diversity, equity and inclusion programs. While there are many different ways to support LGBTQIA+ employees, not having apprehensions about the tone of the workplace or wondering about how open an individual can be about themselves is a relief and extremely eye opening. In my current role at TEKsystems, I have felt that the organization is very accepting and goes deeper than just surface-level diversity and inclusion. My team has encouraged any and every opportunity to express myself—whether that’s catching up about the latest episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” or bringing personal insights into a conversation with a consultant.
One of the best things about social movements like LGBTQ+ Pride, or organizational diversity initiatives like TEKsystems’ Conversations That Matter, is the value they provide employees. Work is such a significant component of our day-to-day life and, whether we realize it or not, everyone feels better working at a place that aligns with our passions, experiences and authentic selves. Ultimately, I believe that fostering inclusivity and respect for diversity of thought and behaviors only helps companies and the people within them.