June is Pride month, which marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 that sparked the modern movement for equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Half a century later, tremendous strides toward equality have been made, but there is still a long way to go. At Vynyl, we’re proud to support all of our families, friends, employees, co-workers, and community members. It’s important to us to mark this historic occasion and be inspired by all the work that has been done, and commit to doing the work ahead. We’re proud to support Pride celebrations in our community, and we’re proud to foster a culture that values and celebrates each of our individual experiences.
We recently asked Vynyl employees to share what Pride means to them. Here are some of their responses. Happy Pride everyone!
Director of Finance and Human Resources Janelle Lauzon:
Pride means that my daughter Claire has the freedom to be herself and pursue a life of love that truly expresses who she is. With my motherly passion, I am so grateful for that freedom as well as the hope of more love and more acceptance. I am forever grateful to past heroes that have paved the way for Claire and others to fully be themselves.
When Claire was about 8 years old we would sing loudly in the car to Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” I often reminded her that I always wanted her true colors to shine through, for her to be her true self.
When Claire was 11 years old, she explained to me that she was bisexual. I hugged her and told her that I loved her “true colors.” She cried and told me she worried if other people in her life would accept her. At times over the years I have seen how some people have not always been fully accepting of her. It breaks a mother’s heart.
During Idaho’s Add the Four Words campaign, Claire and I demonstrated at the capitol steps regularly. At 13 years old, Claire spoke to a large crowd, sharing her orientation with the crowd and encouraging our Idaho legislature to add the four words to the Idaho constitution to provide LGBTQ+ people equal protection under state law. Sadly, after 10 years of the campaign, the four words have never been added. Idaho is one of 28 states that does not protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment and housing. At 20 years old now, Claire continues to express her passion for human rights, but now she lives in Seattle, a place she feels more acceptance.
Pride means that Claire and others in the community have the freedom and hope of living a life in full expression of who they are so that their “true colors can shine through like a rainbow.”
Director of Product Marketing Nicole Harris Roberts:
This year my husband and I are putting up a Progress Pride flag on our house in solidarity with our next door neighbor's teenager, who is gender-neutral / questioning. I have been an LGBTQ+ ally for as long as I can remember—and probably even before I can remember.
My mother told me a story about when her gay roommate held me as an infant and how relaxed I was, and how sad he was at the thought that he would never be socially accepted as a parent himself.
I'm glad to see more acceptance of gay parenthood in my community and throughout the country now as compared to how it was in the 1980s. Pride to me means knowing the history and the struggle of LGBTQ+ communities and celebrating the bright spots wherever we can.
Software Engineer Blair Gemmer:
Perfect for Pride month... we had a giant rainbow road out in the sky tonight!
VP Community & Partner Nick Crabbs:
Pride month is about expressing pride in something that is stigmatized and oppressed. Pride is about commemorating the acts of resistance against that oppression. The legacy of Stonewall strengthens LGBTQ+ people around the world, in the face of continued oppression.
I started attending pride events by sneaking away when I was 16. At my first pride event in 2004 there were just as many protesters as there were Pride-goers. In 2005 the Mormon tabernacle choir showed up to sing over the LGBT speakers on the Idaho capitol steps. I remember seeing older LGBT people crying as that scene played out. I was just angry. How dare they?
In 2006 Idaho passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Clearly I was unwelcome here. I packed my bags and left Idaho for Portland.
I have told many of my own stories at the equal protection ordinance hearings in Idaho. All of which, in Idaho, have been passed by narrow margins since 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case that ensured marriage equality in the United States.
These are my personal reminders that—while the celebrations that many think of as “Pride'' have morphed into some weird corporate celebration of rainbows—it wasn’t that long ago that it was a protest against oppression and a movement for our basic dignity and acknowledgement in our communities.
We’ve come a long way. We still have a long way to go. Happy Pride month!