Pride is powerful: Associate reflections
For the LGBTQ+ community, Pride is a huge moment and a chance to proudly and freely express love for yourself, each other and the community. From its violent beginning with the Stonewall Riots, Pride not only symbolizes the fight for equal rights for all LGBTQ+ individuals, it’s also a celebration of all those within the community who live their truth freely and proudly—wherever they may be on their personal journey. To highlight the power that is Pride across the globe, we asked Capital One associates to reflect on their personal experiences. Here’s what they said, in their own words.
The power of the first Pride experience
“I remember being a newly open gay Latino in Washington, DC. I knew about Pride, but was never able to find a way to be part of it and experience it. I got invited to attend the Nation's Latinx Pride hosted by Latinx History Project that year. I remember attending La Fiesta at Town specifically. I remember finally being gay and being part of a community. I remember being able to dance with someone I was attracted to, but also someone that looks like me. I never knew that would be the start of me being the real me.“ -Fernando R., He/Him, Process Manager for the AML University
“The first Pride event I attended was Motor City Pride in Detroit while I was attending Law School in Windsor, Ontario. Having grown up in a small town where there was (and continues to be) no visible LGBTQ+ people, businesses or events I often felt isolated and different... or weird. But this Pride event was filled with colorful rainbows, music, dancing, laughter and people from all different backgrounds. It was a beautiful and welcoming event and while it didn't change my view that I'm a bit "weird," it changed my view that weird isn't a bad thing, it makes me interesting and different. That Pride festival really made me feel, for the first time, PROUD to be who I am, just being Steven, in all of his weirdness, became a good thing.” -Steven L., He/Him, Legal Counsel
“My first meaningful experience was actually online during Pride. At the time, I thought I was a cis woman. I kept reading all these stories about nonbinary people and how they just 'didn't fit' in their gender, and I finally started thinking about how maybe, that was like me. It was the first time I'd ever let myself consider that.” -Caraline A., They/Them, ATM Disputes Coordinator
“I went to my first Pride in 2019 at the age of 34—I'm sort of a late bloomer. It was incredibly impactful to be surrounded by people like me... my community. The sense of unity, of shared experiences (both good and bad) and the ownership of Pride in who we are was SO powerful to me.” -Simon G., He/Him, Sr Associate, Brand Learning & Development
“My first Pride Parade was meaningful because I felt like we were all celebrating who we were! That this group of people who may have felt shamed or rejected like I felt internally had now found each other! Back when we used to always ask if you were “family” that was code for are you gay? And now looking back the LGBTQ community was and always has been my second family!” -Cynthia S., She/Her, Agile Delivery Lead
“My first Pride event was in the early 90's after I moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area from a small town in Louisiana. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged—that there was NOTHING wrong with me. I felt free to be me.” -Shari S., She/Her, Senior Extended Ops Associate
Finding their individual and community power, through Pride
“Pride is, at its core, a revolution. It's about daring to exist proudly in a world that often does not respect our existence. It's about our community coming together to love, support and protect each other, regardless of everything else that's going on in the world. There is power in our community, power in our radical love, power in our visible strength and joy.” -Caitlin G., She/Her, Associate, Brand Social Insights & Engagement
“From my perspective, Pride energizes allies (and potential allies) to show their support. Prior to our realization that our daughter is transgender, Pride events were something that looked really fun and I wanted to participate in them. More and more, straight allies want to be a part of Pride, and it helps to normalize the LGBTQ+ experience.” -Stephanie F., She/Her, Senior Accounting Manager
“Pride is a place where everyone can be who they truly wish to be unapologetically. For one day people who are normally forced to hide themselves in a shroud of what their neighborhood wants them to be, can express themselves judgement free! Young queer folx who are still trying to figure themselves out can see all the different forms of expression there are and find a way that works for them. Pride is freedom.” -Zack W., They/Them, Ambassador at the Café in San Francisco CA
“Celebrating the beauty of being able to be yourself, empowering others who have not had the luxury of experiencing such beauty, remembering and thanking those that came before us and fought for things to be better for the future generations.” -Adrian D., He/Him, Agile Delivery Lead
The power of Pride to create community, expand visibility, and move LGBTQ+ rights forward
“I think Pride brings everyone together so that we can feel confident in sharing our experiences and who we are. It shows those outside of the LGBTQ+ community that we are human, just like them. It gives those who don't feel comfortable coming out yet, the confidence that there is a community here to support them and push for equality.” -Jena G., She/Her, Sr. Associate Brand Researcher
“I think Pride brings LGBTQ+ rights to the forefront of a lot of conversations, which is one of the main ways we can push for equal representation and rights. Pride also gives people the confidence to speak up and speak out, moving us forward on a macro and micro scale. Conversation is the first step to change!” -Jessica D., She/Her, Customer Solutions Specialist
“Pride is a celebration of the community but it's also an engine of awareness and a call to action. Pride is such a beautiful visual representation of the rainbow of people in our world but it's also a powerful reminder that equity is not our reality....YET.” -Ryan S., She/Her, Director of Learning & Development
“Pride continues to maintain our visibility to the world. Without these types of events change would not have happened. People need to see that their friends and family are happy to be who they are and that maintaining visibility and celebrating us makes us more comfortable being who we are.” -Christopher O., He/Him, Systems Specialist FS Tech
The power to move Pride forward
There have been huge strides forward in LGTBQ+ rights in the past decades, much due to the power of Pride, but there is more work to be done. Within Capital One, associates can bring their full selves to work and through flourishing communities like the Out Front Business Resource Group, they can connect with others in the community and find understanding. What is the power of Pride? It’s ability to unite the community, expand visibility and move LGBTQ+ rights forward.
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