What does Pride mean to us?

An interview with LGBTQIA+ Medium staff

CJ Baker
The Medium Blog

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Photo by Jennifer Bonauer on Unsplash

Diversity and inclusion are important to Medium, both as an organization and as a platform. Everyone has a story to tell, and we believe diverse perspectives are key to creating some of the best stories.

Earlier this month we published “Medium stands for LGBTQIA+ rights” to publicly and clearly state our stance on the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community; but forging a deeper, more personal connection to our community is also important. Our writers and readers often share deeply personal thoughts and experiences with us. As a continuation of our Pride month celebration, we wanted to share our personal thoughts and experiences with you.

Below is a Q&A with Medium staffers reflecting on what Pride means to them. We would love to hear what Pride means to you! Please share with us in the comments or in your own Medium article.

Happy Pride!

— CJ and the team @ Medium

Breana (she/her/hers)

Medium: Tell us about yourself! What is your role at Medium and how long have you been here?

Breana: I’m a Director of Product and will have been here for 2 years this June!

Medium: Will you share something with us about your identity?

Breana: I’m a Black and Mexican queer woman.

Medium: Is it important to you to be out at work? Why or why not?

Breana: It’s definitely important to me that I’m out at work. Working in Product, I touch base with almost everyone in the organization to bring features and projects to life. A huge part of that is building trust and strengthening relationships through communication, so I talk to a lot of folks at Medium.

I am loquacious by nature and a horrible liar so I’ve gotta be able to be honest when referencing my life. I wouldn’t want to work somewhere that I didn’t get to learn about my coworker’s lives, passions, and interests and a huge part of my life is being a black queer woman.

Medium: What does Pride mean to you?

Breana: I recently traveled to Orlando for a wedding. It was my first time in the city and while Ubering to my hotel, we passed the Pulse nightclub, which is now a memorial. My heart dropped. I guess I didn’t expect it to be so centrally located in the city? Not even a two minute drive down the road was a huge hospital. It made me think about all of the lives lost that night, at the intersection of so much that is wrong with America.

[To me, Pride means] being brown, being queer, and being happy in being brown and queer. In any other country, a gunman would not have been able to shoot 200 rounds in under five minutes. In any other country, 102 people would not have been shot that night. 49 people wouldn’t have died before they could be saved at the hospital only two minutes away. To me, Pride means them. And everyone in every time who has ever lost their lives or a part of themselves because they were discriminated against for how they were born.

Medium: If there is one thing you could tell a younger version of yourself, what would it be?

Breana: You’re going to be just fine. Better than fine.

Medium: What are you reading right now?

Breana: Siren Queen by Nghi Vo! I would definitely recommend it.

Medium: Will you be doing anything special in honor of Pride this year?

Breana: Living and existing and kissing my girlfriend in public.

Cameron (he/him/his)

Medium: Tell us about yourself! What is your role at Medium and how long have you been here?

Cameron: I’m Medium’s Recruiting & People Ops Lead. I’ve been here for 4 years & 7 months and am based in Albuquerque, NM.

Medium: Will you share something with us about your identity?

Cameron: I’m a gay cis man, Anglo, born and raised in the Bay Area.

Medium: Is it important to you to be out at work? Why or why not?

Cameron: Being out at work is very important to me. First and foremost, I hope everyone’s workplace is one in which they feel comfortable being out, but I know that’s not at all the case for LGBTQIA+ folks across the US and world.

I’m grateful I feel more than comfortable being out at work — being visible and also being an advocate for inclusive work policies are just two reasons why being out at work is important to me.

Medium: What does Pride mean to you?

Cameron: Pride means being visible, taking up space, and working towards collective liberation. As a white, cis gay man, I feel less targeted by the anti-LGBT bills sweeping the country than my friends in the trans community, for example. I feel like my opportunity, even within the LGBTQIA+ community, is to use my privilege to advocate and work towards tangible safety that everyone within the queer community can feel and experience.

Medium: If there is one thing you could tell a younger version of yourself, what would it be?

Cameron: The best is yet to come.

Medium: What are you reading right now?

Cameron: I’m currently reading Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew From It by Greg Marshall which is an excellent memoir about the intersection of queerness and disability.

Medium: Will you be doing anything special in honor of Pride this year?

Cameron: Keeping Padam Padam by Kylie Minogue on repeat!

CJ (he/him/his)

Medium: Tell us about yourself! What is your role at Medium and how long have you been here?

CJ: I’m a Senior Accountant at Medium, and I have been here since February 2023. I live with my spouse on a small farm and we have many rescue animals.

Medium: Will you share something with us about your identity?

CJ: I’m queer, bisexual, and transmasculine. I am also Latino and autistic.

Medium: Is it important to you to be out at work? Why or why not?

CJ: It is important for me to be out at work. I spent many years in the closet both in my personal and professional life. Being out has improved my wellbeing and helped me to connect more deeply and authentically with others. When I was considering coming out as trans, I was concerned about the impact it might have on my career. Traditionally, accounting has been a conservative profession. When I searched for guidance on transitioning in the workplace, I found articles suggesting that one should talk to their boss and HR and have them send out an announcement to the entire organization. The only trans accountant I found online at the time followed that process.

As a private person, that scared me and I couldn’t imagine that happening for any other disclosure of identity. A few comments about trans people from colleagues cemented my fear of coming out. My plan for a long time was to wait until I was consistently gendered correctly in public and switch jobs. What changed for me was starting at an organization and having a coworker who was onboarding me ask for my pronouns. I could tell that sharing with her would be safe, and once I came out there was no looking back. Now I wouldn’t consider working somewhere that I didn’t feel safe being myself.

Medium: What does Pride mean to you?

CJ: Beyond the historical significance of Pride month, to me Pride is about embracing the queer community’s strength and resiliency, and rejecting shame. I was raised in a conservative sect of Christianity and was taught that being queer was sinful. I was taught that the LGBTQIA+ community’s use of the rainbow flag was a satanic mock of God’s promise to never again destroy the world by flood. I was also taught that pride is a sin, and that people should strive to be meek and humble.

I think we as LGBTQIA+ people deserve to feel proud of ourselves and our journeys. Celebrating Pride is a form of radical protest of the discrimination that still exists towards our community and those who wish we were silenced.

Medium: If there is one thing you could tell a younger version of yourself, what would it be?

CJ: One day you will know and love yourself.

Medium: What are you reading right now?

CJ: “Jung’s Theory of Collective Consciousness” by Som Dutt. I love learning about interesting psychological theories.

Medium: Will you be doing anything special in honor of Pride this year?

CJ: This year I attended a drag show which was so much fun! The whole crowd was beaming the entire show.

Steph (she/her/hers)

Medium: Tell us about yourself! What is your role at Medium and how long have you been here?

Steph: I started at Medium on Valentine’s Day of this year as an Engineering Manager and needless to say, I love it!

Medium: Will you share something with us about your identity?

Steph: I’m queer and half Hungarian & half Costa Rican.

Medium: Is it important to you to be out at work? Why or why not?

Steph: Yes. It’s part of my identity.

Medium: What does Pride mean to you?

Steph: While I have had conflicting feelings about the commercialization of Pride, to me, at its core, Pride means that no matter whether we want to whisper it, scream it, or sing it, we will be heard, seen, and adored for who we truly are and who we truly love. It’s a beautiful reminder to all genders and all sexualities that we have not always been able to delight in our most basic rights, so let’s fucking CELEBRATE.

Medium: If there is one thing you could tell a younger version of yourself, what would it be?

Steph: You’re not an imposter, you’re just trying to survive.

Medium: What are you reading right now?

Steph: My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones! It’s a fun, dark, supernatural story of a slasher film-obsessed half-Indigenous girl living in Idaho.

Medium: Will you be doing anything special in honor of Pride this year?

Steph: This isn’t specifically for Pride but it still feels celebratory! I’ll be going to Vegas to see a Finnish metal singer at the end of the month and reconnecting with a High School friend I haven’t seen in years.

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CJ Baker
The Medium Blog

Just a guy living on a farm and accounting for things.