June marks Pride Month, a time to celebrate LGBTQ people and to reflect on the global movement that pushes for full and equal rights for members of the community.
And it's the perfect time to kickoff our True Colors ERG's Pride Spotlight Series.
What do you like most about our ERG (True Colors)?
Rebecca Donovan! I instantly knew I was going to enjoy working with Becca. She is easy to work with, passionate about DEI and has a great vision for the ERG. Working on the corporate side of D&Z, she helped opened my eyes to so much beyond my team.
The work! One of the biggest reasons I feel like Yoh is “home” is the ERG and the work we do. It’s been an incredible opportunity to learn, grow and challenge myself to do more as an advocate.
The members! People like Amanda, Lisa, Memo, Chad, Melissa… everyone on the team. I am so grateful for the conversations and perspectives shared on our calls.
What drives you/where do you have a lot of passion within the LGBTQIA+ community? You can talk about personal or professional drivers.
I have always been around the gay community thanks to my mom. She was friends with a couple, Steve and Dennis, since I was a baby. They came to the hospital when I was born. I didn’t think anything of it when I learned they weren’t just roommates. I loved them, they loved me. They were normal human beings who loved each other. They were in a strong, healthy relationship and together longer than my parents were married. I feel so fortunate to have grown up with them in my life. My sister and I even got to stay with them in Oakland when she was moving to Santa Cruz for school. I fight to normalize gay love.
In high school, there was a young who was rumored to be gay. I never met him, never even knew his real name, only the horrible names people would call him. There were always whispers about him that I would quickly shut down by saying “who cares if he’s gay.” The only day I ever saw him was the last. He was walking through the breeze way and kids started taunting and throwing things at him. I went to step in to try to help but a teacher stepped in first. I never saw him again. I think about him more than he’ll ever know. I still hold guilt for not doing more to protect him that day, any day. I fight to protect marginalized youth.
Volunteering for AIDS services of Austin, I met a gay man who hadn’t left his house in years after being disowned by his family and losing his partner to AIDS. I was one of the first people he interacted with years. His story lives inside me today. That moment was so important for him and for me. I fight so people don’t feel so lost they don’t leave their homes.
I have watched my queer friends struggle and I have seen them flourish and thrive. My support of the LGBTQIA community is more than a passion, it’s who I am. I want anyone (LGBTQIA+ or not) who feels like they don’t belong to know that they have someone who cares about them. To give them hope, love, compassion, understanding, support, safety. We all deserve that. So I fight to give someone hope and something to believe in.