Happy Pride Month from Green Bits

by Jayson Filingeri,

Greenwich Village, NYC is considered the birthplace of Pride. Back in the late 60s, there were laws in place that made it illegal to serve alcohol to “homosexuals”, and one could be arrested for “cross dressing” in public (among a number of other homophobic laws). On June 28, 1969, the NYPD decided to raid a well known gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn. Police raids were not unusual, but on this particular night, the 200 patrons of the bar decided they had enough harassment and discrimination. They rose up and resisted, inciting 3 days of riots and demonstrations. The first Gay Pride Parade was a year later, in 1970, to commemorate the riots.

June 28th was first known as Christopher Street Liberation Day, acknowledging the street where Pride was born. In 1999, June was officially declared Pride Month. Celebrations these days are not only to commemorate the historic events, but also to provide the LGBTQIA+ community a place of unity, acceptance, and celebration without judgement. Pride Month is now celebrated all over the world.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Christopher Street Liberation Day. Here at Green Bits, we are celebrating World Pride the entire month of June and beyond.

How are we celebrating and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community?

  • We have a field on our job applications for candidates to self-select their preferred pronouns.
  • We respect preferred pronouns of our team members, and encourage members of Green Bits to display their own preferred pronouns in their Slack handles (if they are comfortable doing so).
  • We have a very active #inclusivity channel on Slack, where team members can share and discuss their experiences and opinions in a safe space.
  • We are launching our very first ERG (Employee Resource Group), called Rainbow Bits.
  • We are organizing volunteer opportunities for support within the LGBTQIA+ community during our company-wide volunteer initiative for Q3 2019.
  • We are always listening and considering differing perspectives to make sure everyone feels safe, represented, and included.

We encouraged our employees who identify with the LGBTQIA+ to share how they feel Green Bits cares about and supports their community. Read some of their testimonials below.

Brittany Radice, Compliance Officer

What does being part of the LGBTQIA+ community mean to you?

Being a part of the LGBT community means inclusion, respect, and advocacy. It is a human rights movement that speaks out for acceptance and change. It is a community of love and diversity without judgement. It recognizes that we’re still not granted full equality or safety in our surroundings, and supports the effort to educate, speak bravely, and stop nothing short of civil rights for all.

How do you feel Green Bits supports your community?

Green Bits supports my community by considering the details that make diverse people feel welcome. From correct pronoun usage to education and awareness of LGBTQIA+ history and national days of recognition, Green Bits welcomes and celebrates diversity.

Chanel Matlock, Software Engineer

What does being part of the LGBTQIA+ community mean to you?

It means I’m not alone in this sea of 7.5 billion people. It means that for every person that wishes I didn’t exist, or every person who wants to harm me just because they don’t like the way I view myself, there’s even more people who love me for who I am, people who are ok with me not fitting with their expectations.

How do you feel Green Bits supports your community?

I love that it’s not just another “pride logo company”. First place I’ve felt comfortable with my pronouns (and even have encouraged others to display their pronouns as well).

Tom Edmonds, Customer Success Specialist

What does being part of the LGBTQIA+ community mean to you?

It means getting to choose my own family (though I’m fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive “real” family as well). It means I get to define myself on my own terms, and live among a community of others who do the same. It means letting go of all the pressure I once felt to fit into a certain “box”, and live my life authentically without fear of judgment or rejection. It means looking judgment and rejection squarely in the eye and having the strength and support to say “IDGAF!”

How do you feel Green Bits supports your community?

I think the most important ways in which Green Bits supports our community are also the most subtle ways. No one at Green Bits has ever “tokenized” me or made me feel like an “other”, and there are very few places and spaces where I can say that’s always been true. And, at least in my personal experience, my coworkers have always demonstrated an understanding that there is no “default” identity and that you should never make any assumptions about anyone. In short, Green Bits-ers make the effort to create and maintain a culture of openness and inclusivity every day, not just during Pride month. No person or organization is always perfect in this regard, but I feel the intention and awareness is always there, and that means the world to me.

Cassidy Bridges, Senior Software Engineer

What does being part of the LGBTQIA+ community mean to you?

This is a hard question for me to answer with words, but if you could see my big ol’ goofy smile while I typed this, you’d probably know. If I had to sum it up in just two words: “Being human!”

To order to explain what being a part of the community means, I’d like to first define what “LGBTQIA+” means to me. I believe “LGBTQIA+” is a combination of symbols with a deeper meaning: “Love yourself and love others for who they are.”

While the community is composed of many specific groups of people, I think it shares one core value overall: an incredible level of empathy and understanding, where people can be themselves without persecution.

The power and impact this kind of culture has had on my life is immeasurable. Really, the whole of what being a part of this community means transcends what words or emojis can offer. I think you’d have to see my face right now to get it .

How do you feel Green Bits supports your community?

At the start, I think Green Bits supported us by simply allowing us to be weird. Weird in the most fantastic way possible. Have you ever done the Mickey Mouse Hot Dog dance at the beginning of a meeting with your coworkers? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. I feel I’m in a safe place where I won’t be judged at Green Bits, which makes opening up about who I am as a person a lot easier.

Over time, Green Bits has worked towards a supportive and inclusive environment for employees of every demographic. Whether it’s fundraising, raising awareness, or creating a safe place, we’re quick to act – and even quicker to support one another in any way possible. We’re passionate about “Being Human” in any way we can, and we’re always thinking of new ways to do it. This attitude has fostered a workplace with strong awareness of underrepresented groups, where individuals can be encouraged to speak of their ideals freely.

I’m not usually known as the most vocal or visible member of the community (even this question is a bit extraordinary for me), but I also haven’t worked somewhere I felt empowered to embrace my queerness. I feel Green Bits has given me that and more. The feeling of being supported no matter who you are is profoundly comforting, and has had positive changes in my self-expression and self-confidence.

Because I find that Green Bits fosters and facilitates the same values, I wouldn’t say we support the LGBTQIA+ community; I’d call us an active participant.