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At Trakstar, we’re committed to creating an inclusive environment for all and get excited every year to share that intentionally during PRIDE month. This year, we asked our teammates and families to respond to a few key questions contemplating what PRIDE means to an individual. The following are a few of the responses we received and are excited to share.

 

JULIE RIEKEN  (she/her)

What does Pride mean to you?

This year, I’ve been thinking about present day LGBTQ leaders as Pride approaches. For as far as we’ve come, (and for as much work as still needs to be done) here are three people I thought about today that are actively doing great things!

  1. I am inspired by Rachel Levine, a transgender doctor that serves as a top health official confirmed by the Senate, bringing her expertise to a leadership role. 
  2. I love the work of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) and the teams of people there whose work is advocating for equality for all during times when we’re seeing a resurgence in culture wars.
  3. I’m a huge fan of Kate McKinnon, who brings her whole self to comedy and generously shares her talent with the rest of us.

How does Trakstar support you in bringing your full self to work?

It is my hope to create a workplace where we don’t even have to think about “should I bring my whole self to work.” We just do.

What do you want others to know about Pride?

Sometimes I wish everyone could all feel the joy of what it is like to see a child at a Pride parade, a child already comfortable in their own skin, feeling alive and electric and whole – surrounded by others, knowing they are in good company. And, knowing the feeling they have could extend outside that moment into the rest of their world as we learn to embrace all people.

 

CHARLIE (he/him)

To me Pride has always been a relatively personal time to reflect on my past and think about the future. Over the years Pride has taken many forms and its meaning has changed. Some years it was about marching in parades, or performing in concerts, or fundraising for a cause, or reveling with friends. A few years ago my husband and I even got married during pride weekend. Last year, pride was more internally focused thinking about the future and making plans. 

This year pride will be very different. My husband and I are going back to our roots and leaving the city in favor of a small town. Pride there will be quieter with more inward reflection. But Pride won’t just be once a year; Pride will be every day. When one is out in a small town, one is often the only representation of the LGBTQ community for many of your neighbors and friends. To me that means visibility moves from one weekend a year to every time I’m at the grocery store or I introduce my husband. We both wholeheartedly embrace this role and are excited to build new connections in a new community. I can only wonder what Pride will mean for us next year.

 

 

TREE (she/her)

What does Pride mean to you?

I used to be VERY into Gay Pride when I was younger… I always went to Pridefest…and even in 2000 I flew with a girlfriend to DC at the last minute to attend the Millennium March on Washington..slept in a car..hippies..that’s how much I was in it. waving flags…opposing amendment 2.. all the things. 

Now I don’t really do much in terms of Pride except teach my children about the history of being gay…and how we had to come up and show up as our authentic selves in our careers and lives to change people’s views about us.  Being gay wasn’t always as COOL as it is now I tell them… and it certainly wasn’t acceptable in any environment except “the bars.” It used to be a culture…a private club kinda…we had code words…like, “oh she is family.”  “Family” meaning she is gay…plays on our team.  I have always lived my life being out – as soon as my parents were in the loop at 14, I was OUT–career be damned!!  I always intentionally lived out that so others can see we are your sisters, your kids, your friends, your work peers.  That is how I celebrate Pride…living my truth everyday for my kids to witness…because like I tell them – their generation is going to change the world because they are being raised in an environment where love is love, no judgment.

 

How does Trakstar Support you in bringing your full self to work?

I don’t think about it much -It’s just who I am. I appreciate the inclusion efforts. 

 

What do you want others to know about Pride?

“The first Pride was a riot.”  The inclusion gay peeps feel today is because of those who came out before you.  You’re welcome!  LOL

 

 

RUTH RIEKEN (Age 11)

What do you know about Pride?

I know that Pride is about loving who you want, without being ashamed of it, and knowing who you are deep down no matter what someone else thinks. Pride is not just about being loved and accepted, but loving and accepting yourself.

 

 

MAGGIE RIEKEN (Age 15)

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means to me that people, whether they/them are gay, lesbian, bi, or trans come out together and celebrate their identity with joy and be proud. I am proud of who I am and not afraid of people who might judge me.

 

 

LI ZHI RIEKEN (Age 18)

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride to me means knowing everyday you are worthy of good things, no matter how you identify.

Pride is more than a parade, a celebration, and a month, it is the everyday practice of waking up and knowing, wholeheartedly, that you deserve to be authentically you and well as be loved, accepted, and respected.