People Behind GreenPath: Celebrating Pride Month

  • June 25, 2021
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

June is a significant time for those in the LGBTQ+ community as it is Pride, which is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of LGBTQ+ people as a social group. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBTQ+ rights movements.

GreenPath is committed to maintaining a work environment that is fair, collaborative, inclusive, and encourages mutual respect and promotes civil and congenial relationships amongst employees. We want our employees to be authentic, where they feel understood, supported, heard, seen and feel inspired to be their whole selves at work.

In honor of Pride month, we asked a few of our employees what PRIDE Month and representation means to them. Here is what they shared.

Maurice – Marketing Operations Coordinator

What does Pride Month mean to me?

There will never be another ME so why not be proud and show it off! This is what Pride Month means to me. So often the world tells me NO, you cannot do that, NO, you cannot say that, NO, you cannot be who you are but Pride says YES, I CAN! Pride Month allows a time of self-reflection on the relationship I have with others but most importantly, the relationship I have with myself. How am I showing up in the world? Who are people seeing and is it the person I want them to see?

I am a 38-year-old, black gay male. I am a brother, a son, a friend, a co-worker, and a believer that Our Creator designed you and me exactly how it was meant to be, no questions asked. I must proceed with faith and Pride knowing that being me may allow space for someone else to be who they are. Pride requests a level of vulnerability, and courage to be authentically me. Pride is a proclamation of the fact that I deserve to be here on this miraculous earth, just as I am. Take Pride everywhere you go, they’ll adjust!

Maurice Pride

Julie – Director of Employee Experience

What does Pride Month mean to me?

I came out as a lesbian in the spring of 1996, and subsequently attended my first Pride March in Lansing, Michigan that June. I remembered both the freedom I felt on that day being surrounded by so many in the LGBTQ community, and the fear that I felt of the potential danger. There were people with signs around protesting and saying vulgar things to those attending the march. I decided in that moment of seeing people begin to walk away from the anti-gay protesters and shy away from the media that were recording the reactions, that I was going to be my authentic self no matter the consequence.

Pride Month provides the opportunity to see how far we’ve come. While we still have a long way to go providing equality and equity to all people that live in the US, if you had asked me prior to 2015 when Gay Marriage would be legalized, I would have and did say likely not in my lifetime. The legal protections in employment for LGTBTQIA is even a more recent change, where sexual orientation and gender identity was not covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act until the landmark cases that occurred in 2020. Representation does matter, and I have tried to be an advocate and leader for the LGBTQIA promoting change within my scope of control throughout my professional career. If I could only share one thing I’ve learned throughout my professional career, it is that we each experience the world differently even if you are within the same community. My spouse and I have been together for 23 years, but we experience the world differently. That is why it is vital to take the time to learn about your employees, their experiences, their individual needs, and ways to meet those needs so that they too feel comfortable and safe to be their authentic selves at work.

Julie Crichton Pride

Alison – Financial Wellness Expert

What does representation mean to me?

Over the last year or so, I have come to believe that representation is very important. Being trans in America can be scary. The right to exist as trans in public spaces is still very much being fought over. Laws restricting access to basic needs like bathrooms have been passed as recently as this month and housing discrimination is still very much legal in most states. When I was young and wanted to transition, I felt alone and the consequences of that loneliness pushed me back in the closet for over a decade. When I did decide to transition I prioritized safety, I tried to just be like anyone else. Trans people have historically been treated as jokes or monsters. Our depiction in media is most often by a cis person who is putting on a costume that they take off at the end of the day. The most common role is victim or villain.

So why do I put myself visibly out, so that others can see that trans people are just people; so that some young trans person doesn’t have to feel so alone; so that I can be the representation that I wish I had 20 years ago.

Alison Pride

Andrea – Program Performance and Quality Assurance Specialist

What does Pride Month mean to me?

LOVE. June has great and special meaning to me, and the fact that it’s also Pride Month makes it even better, as it is flooded with LOVE. I wanted to learn more and become active to support the LGBTQIA+ community. I recently joined the national organization of Free Mom Hugs, with the NW Oakland Country Chapter. After the first meeting, I knew it was where I belong, at the very least, as an Ally. This is because I am learning more about myself. Last year, I found myself in a world that was flipped upside down. I found myself swimming in information, books, researching, talking with people all over the country and the world, as well as signing multiple petitions to support changes that would lead to equity in our communities. That journey has not ended and is a passion point for me. Understanding my place and my beliefs and values had lead me to want to learn and do more for people in our communities, and I found myself here. I am so happy to be here.

My personal journey has been fueled by LOVE. We all have struggles, day to day, in life. Who we are and who we love should not be one of them.

Andrea Thumbnail