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BDT Broadcast

Staff Stories: Voices From "LGbdtQ+"

Our staff is the heart of our organization, and in celebration of Pride month, we are excited to share reflections from members of "LGbdtQ+" on identity, work, and what pride means to them. 

"LGbdtQ+" is an employee resource group at BDT that aims to serve as a resource for clients, staff, and organizational goals; and to positively influence BDT's environment and promote an inclusive community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer staff. 

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Heather, Strategy Analyst


Pronouns: She/Her 

How would you describe your gender or sexual orientation and how did you come to find yourself? 
I identify as gender queer and use she/her pronouns. I feel like I am still finding myself every day. When you live your life so long not knowing how or where you fit in you fold yourself into the shape that fits; once you're able to live freely and authentically you can unfold and relax but you still have to iron out the creases of shapes you were before. 

What does Pride mean to you?  
Pride is being unapologetically authentic to yourself. 


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How has your experience as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community impacted your relationship to the work that BDT does?  
There's a lot of intersectionality that the LGBTQIA+ population experiences which lends to a lot of empathy, an understanding of marginalized people, etc. that has equipped me with a drive to be of service to others who face barriers and hurdles to meet basic needs.  

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?  
Camping, enjoying live music, DIY-ing, hanging out with my wife, two cats, and dog. 

If there was a piece of advice or education you could provide to people who aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what would it be? 
Never stop learning and allowing yourself to grow. 

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Chase, Quality Specialist


Pronouns: He/Him 

How would you describe your gender or sexual orientation and how did you come to find yourself? 
I am a gay trans man. I didn't have any trans role models growing up and didn't even know the word transgender until I was 18. But it was like a whole new world opened up for me and suddenly I had words to explain my personal experience. It was by finding other people with similar or parallel journeys and experiences that I found myself. 


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What does Pride mean to you?  
Pride is about liberation – the freedom to be myself and to express myself as well as the freedom to love those whom I love and not need to hide them.  

How has your experience as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community impacted your relationship to the work that BDT does?  
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially trans folks, are living in poverty at much higher rates than the average American. According to the Williams Institute, 22% of our community lives in poverty. Most of the homeless youth in America are members of our community. By doing anti-poverty work, I know I am making direct impacts on our community every single day.  

How has your experience influenced your relationship to work in general?  
Prior to BDT, I worked in several industries where I was not comfortable being out. I was specifically looking for a workplace and an industry where I could safely be out at work, so work and gender and sexuality are all intertwined for me. 

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?  
I enjoy yoga, volunteering, writing, knitting, and painting. I am also a big fan of LGBTQIA+ history. 

If there was a piece of advice or education you could provide to people who aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what would it be?  
Ally is a verb. 

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Destiny, Universal Outreach Coordinator


Pronouns: They/Them 

How would you describe your gender or sexual orientation and how did you come to find yourself? 
I would describe my gender as Non-Binary Femme. It took me a long time to come out to myself, but about two years ago, I had the realization that all the disconnect I was feeling to my body was centered in the fact that I was trying to push myself into being a woman when I wasn't one. I like dresses and make up and a lot of activities stereotypically assigned to women, but that label didn't connect with me. Femme sure did though! 


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What does Pride mean to you?  
It's freedom, working to better our community, and dancing for those who can't anymore. 

How has your experience as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community impacted your relationship to the work that BDT does?  
I've faced housing insecurity, food insecurity, job instability, and more. While that wasn't all a direct result of being queer, existing in those situations while also being queer was an added pressure. I think the intersection of those lived experiences gave me a deeper well of empathy for the clients we talk to on a daily basis. 

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?  
I'm an artsy person for sure. I love to paint, write, read, crochet, watch funny YouTube videos, go on random adventures, and hang out with my cat, Luna.  

If there was a piece of advice or education you could provide to people who aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what would it be?  
It is 100% okay if you don't understand something. There are a lot of genders, a lot of sexualities, and a lot of things that haven't been in the mainstream until the advent of the internet – where people were able to connect with one another and realize they weren't alone. It's okay to be caught off guard by it. All we're asking for is an acknowledgement that no one knows us better than we know ourselves, and the respect for our identities that comes with that. 

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Britteny, Benefits Outreach Specialist


Pronouns: She/Her 

How would you describe your gender or sexual orientation and how did you come to find yourself? 
Lesbian. Funny story, I realized my freshman year in high school.  

What does Pride mean to you? 
Pride to me means having the courage to be your true, authentic self and live in your truth. It is also family of those like yourself who may struggle to accept who they are after being told it wasn’t okay. Pride is showing up and having the ability and freedom to be who you are and openly love the person you choose without shame or stigma. Ultimately, Pride is the one month out of the year I can be who I am unapologetically.

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What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Shop, visit the Gayborhood, baseball games, do my makeup, read books. Just live and march to the beat of my own drum. 

If there was a piece of advice or education you could provide to people who aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what would it be?
We are worthy of respect. We are worthy of recognition. We are human, just like you, and without us, this world would be different and gloomy. 

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Toby, Compliance and Training Coordinator


Pronouns: He/Him 

How would you describe your gender or sexual orientation and how did you come to find yourself? 
Queerdude! It wasn't until I was in college that I really started to figure out that I wasn't cisgender. That other genders were even an option outside of the binary. It was terrifying and freeing but now that I'm on the other side, I'm happy to be myself.  

What does Pride mean to you?  
Pride means in the face of adversity you're still here and you're still yourself.


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How has your experience as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community impacted your relationship to the work that BDT does?  
As a member of a minority that has a hard time in society, obtaining benefits can be scary. Coming to work with that always in the back of my head, how was my experience, what were my worries and fears reminds me why benefits access continues to be important. 

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?  
I'm a maker and an artist whether that's with paint and a brush or with pixels and a tablet or even a needle and yarn. I love to create! 

If there was a piece of advice or education you could provide to people who aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, what would it be?  
It's ok to ask questions as long as you make sure "no" is an option the people you're talking to have!

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