Celebrating LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day
We’re celebrating LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day with a few members of our LGBTQIA+ employee resource group (ERG), Rainbowhood. Hear from Kelly and Jason as they share their experiences and perspectives.
- Kelly Harvell (She/Her) — Recruiter (Marketing), Menlo Park, CA
- Jason Lau (He/Him) — Recruiter, Menlo Park, CA
Why is National Coming Out Day important to you?
Kelly: This is a day where we get to celebrate and embrace the beauty that is the queer community. I was (slightly) reluctant at first to be a part of this blog because my “coming out” story is very recent. As someone who has come to terms with their sexuality a bit later in life, the act of coming out was pretty nerve wracking for me. Having to tell family, friends and loved ones a vulnerable aspect about who you are can be one of the hardest things one has to do. I feel super fortunate that I had the love and support from my friends and family but I know that is not always the case. So, for me, it’s a day where I reflect on my own fortune but also remind myself that this isn’t always the case for many and to be kind to each other.
Jason: National Coming Out Day is a very sentimental day for a lot of folks, no matter if you’ve come out already or not. To me, it is a time where we celebrate and own our identities all along the spectrum. It is also the day where we commemorate the 2nd National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. For each person I know who came out, there are innumerable folks who are still on their own coming out journey. National Coming Out Day can shine the light on all of our stories and the stories of all of our allies who stood by us when we came out, and hopefully, these stories can help each individual to find their own paths. Only they know when the best time to come out is; but when that time comes, it’s much better on the other side.
Share a time you experienced allyship at work
Jason: Allyship to me exists on all levels at Robinhood, but I will have to say it really shines when it comes to our employee resource group, Rainbowhood. I joined Rainbowhood when I first started at the company, and just having a safe space where folks from all walks of life can come to share their experiences has been so inspiring for me. I feel like the authenticity I received from my ERG allows me to bring it back to my own team where I can be my authentic self. I especially want to call out our fearless co-leads, Kristin Nicole Brown and John Jones II for guiding our team forward and our executive sponsor, Jason Warnick, for sharing his story on why he shows up as an ally for the LGBTQIA+ community but also advocating for us within Robinhood and beyond.
Kelly: This is my first job where I truly showed up as my (full) authentic self and it’s the people that have allowed me to do just that. I most recently came out to my father which was a huge step for me (and also why I’m excited to celebrate this day, this year). Right after letting my father know, I immediately texted two of my colleagues letting them know how (wonderfully) it went. One (of the many) responses I received was “Kelly my heart is so full for you right now. Like I’m so unbelievably happy for you, and I can only imagine what you must be feeling right now. You deserve only the best and I’m so glad you have the best family around to love and support you.” The fact that I felt so comfortable sharing such a profound (and vulnerable) moment in my life with colleagues isn’t something you get just anywhere. I feel super fortunate that I work for an organization that supports me not only professionally, but (and somewhat more importantly) personally as well. What more can one ask for?
Talk about your personal experience as a member or ally of the LGBTQIA+ community
Kelly: When I think about my personal experience with the LGBTQIA+ community, there are a handful of words that come to mind — honesty, bravery, kindness, uniqueness and authenticity. The people that are a part of this community (whether they identify or are an ally) are some of the kindest, most thoughtful, unbelievably talented and courageous people I know. They remind me of the importance of the human experience and that we are all here to live a life that is meaningful and authentic to us. To Angel’s point above, no one should have to suffer because of who they are and who they love. This community has taught me just that.
Jason: One thing I learn from being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is that there is always an ally on your side. Sometimes the road ahead might seem a bit rocky at first, but you are always in the driver seat on where you want to go. Each of our journeys is so unique, and the community is always here to support us. For me, one thing that is really rewarding is to give back to the community when I can, and being part of the ERGs to bridge the gap for my community or my local community in San Francisco.
We are always looking for more individuals who share our commitment to building a diverse team and creating an inclusive environment as we continue in our journey in democratizing finance for all. Check out our open positions — we can’t wait to hear from you!
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