Tag Archives: Proudflare

Cloudflare Named a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality’

Post Syndicated from Chase Robinson original https://blog.cloudflare.com/cloudflare-named-a-best-place-to-work-for-lgbtq-equality/

Cloudflare Named a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality’

Cloudflare Named a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality’

Today we are excited to announce Cloudflare has been named a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). This designation was earned by receiving a perfect score of 100 percent on the HRC’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index. The Corporate Equality Index (CEI) is a nationally recognized benchmarking tool that assesses the inclusivity of corporate policies, practices, and benefits for LGBTQIA+ employees.

Cloudflare’s mission is to “help build a better Internet”. An essential factor that helps us deliver on this mission is our people. When you are solving some of the toughest problems facing the Internet for users worldwide, you need talented individuals that contribute unique outlooks. We strive to build a workplace where our entire team feels comfortable and excited to bring their true authentic selves so they can do their best work.

2021 is the first year Cloudflare has been listed on the Index, but we have been paving this path for quite some time. Back in 2017 a few Cloudflare employees chartered Proudflare, Cloudflare’s first-ever Employee Resource Group (ERG). Proudflare serves as a community space for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. Check out our Proudflare Launch blog to learn more on that process! Proudflare hosts educational events, celebrates LGBTQIA+ folks, and advocates for equality in the workplace and beyond. In 2019, right around the same time Cloudflare surpassed 500 full-time US-based employees, a requirement to be included in the CEI, a group of members took a look at how equitably LGBTQIA+ folks are represented in our policies, practices, and benefits.

As we set our sights on the CEI, it wasn’t enough for us to be included. In typical Cloudflare fashion, we set a lofty goal. If we were going to be listed we would hold ourselves accountable for being a truly inclusive workplace and receive the best score, of 100. This goal forced us to be diligent, proactive, and thoughtful. We organized a team of individuals across Proudflare, the Benefits, Legal, Facilities, Recruiting, and People teams, which led to the creation of some incredible new resources for employees.

The CEI ranking takes into account workforce protections (for sexual orientation and gender identity), inclusive benefits (equivalency for same and different sex spouses and domestic partners, and equal health coverage for transgender individuals) and specific guidelines around internal training for new hires and managers (that cover nondiscrimination, gender identity, sexual orientation) and best practices (such as gender transition guidelines) as well as efforts to recruit and reach out to the wider LGBTQIA+ community. The full report is here and includes details of everything that went into achieving the perfect 100 score.

Looking ahead, we will strive to maintain this score and continue to challenge ourselves to make Cloudflare an ever more inclusive place to work.

What’s it like to come out as LGBTQIA+ at work?

Post Syndicated from Andrew Fitch original https://blog.cloudflare.com/whats-it-like-to-come-out-at-work-stories-from-proudflare/

What's it like to come out as LGBTQIA+ at work?

Today is the 31st Anniversary of National Coming Out Day. I wanted to highlight the importance of this day, share coming out resources, and publish some stories of what it’s like to come out in the workplace.

About National Coming Out Day

Thirty-one years ago, on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, we first observed National Coming Out Day as a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out. One out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian. For transgender people, that number is only one in 10.

Coming out – whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer – STILL MATTERS. When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other.

Each year on October 11th, National Coming Out Day continues to promote a safe world for LGBTQ individuals to live truthfully and openly. Every person who speaks up changes more hearts and minds, and creates new advocates for equality.

For more on coming out, visit HRC’s Coming Out Center.

What's it like to come out as LGBTQIA+ at work?
Source: https://www.hrc.org/resources/national-coming-out-day

Coming out stories from Proudflare

Last National Coming Out Day, I shared some stories from Proudflare members in this blog post. This year, I wanted to shift our focus to the experience and challenges of coming out in the workplace. I wanted to share what it was like for some of us to come out at Cloudflare, at our first companies, and point out some of the stresses, challenges, and risks involved.

Check out these five examples below and share your own in the comments section and/or to the people around you if you’d like!

“Coming out twice” from Lily – Cloudflare Austin

While my first experience of coming out professionally was at my previous company, I thought I’d share some of the differences between my experiences at Cloudflare and this other company.

Reflecting retrospectively, coming out was so immensely liberating. I’ve never been happier, but at the time I was a mess. LGBTQIA+ people still have little to no legal protection, and having been initially largely rejected by my parents and several of my friends after coming out to them, I felt like I was at sea, floating without a raft. This feeling of unease was compounded by my particular coming out being a two part series: I wasn’t only coming out as transgender, but now also as a lesbian.

Eventually, after the physical changes became too noticeable to ignore (around 7 months ago), I worked up the courage to come out at work. The company I was working for was awful in many ways; bad culture, horrible project manager, and rampant nepotism. Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised that what I told them was almost immediately accepted. Surely this was finally a win for me? However, that initial optimism didn’t last. As time went on, it became clear that saying you accept it and actually internalizing it are completely different. I started being questioned about needed medical appointments, and I wasn’t really being treated any different than before. I still have no idea if it played into the reason they fired me for “performance” despite never bringing it up before.

As I started applying for new jobs, one thing was always on my mind: will this job be different? Thankfully the answer was yes; my experience at Cloudflare has been completely different. Through the entire hiring process, I never once had to out myself. Finally when I had to come out to use my legal name on the offer letter, Cloudflare handled it with such grace. One such example was that they went so far as to put my preferred name in quotes next to my legal one on the document. These little nuggets of kindness are visible all over the company – you can tell people are accepting and genuinely care. However, the biggest difference was that Cloudflare supports and celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community but doesn’t emphasize it. If you don’t want it to be part of your identity it doesn’t have to be. Looking to the future I hope I can just be a woman that loves women, not a trans-woman that loves women, and I think Cloudflare will be supportive of that.

A story from Mark – Cloudflare London

My coming out story? It involves an awful lot of tears in a hotel room in Peru, about three and a half thousand miles away from anyone I knew.

That probably sounds more dramatic than the reality. I’d been visiting some friends in Minnesota and I was due to head to Peru to hike the Machu Picchu trail, but a missed flight connection saw me stranded in Atlanta overnight.

A couple of months earlier, I’d kind of came out to myself. This was less a case of admitting my sexuality, but more finally learning exactly what it is. I’d only just turned 40 and, months later, I was still trying to come to terms with what it all meant; reappraising your sexuality in your 40s is not a journey for the faint of heart! I hadn’t shared it with anyone yet, but while sitting in a thuddingly dull hotel room in Atlanta, it just felt like time. So I penned my coming out letter.

The next day I boarded a plane, posted my letter to Facebook, turned off my phone, and then experienced what was, without question, The. Longest. Flight. Of. My. Life. This was followed, perhaps unsurprisingly, by the longest taxi ride of my life.

Eventually, after an eternity or two had passed, I reached my hotel room, connected to the hotel wifi and read through the messages that had accumulated over the past 8 hours or so. Messages from my friends, and family, and even my Mum. The love and support I got from all of them just about broke me. I practically dissolved in a puddle of tears as I read through everything. Decades of pent up confusion and pain washed away in those tears.

I’ll never forget the sense of acceptance I felt after all that.

As for coming out at work, well, let’s see how it goes: Hi, I’m Mark, and I’m asexual.

A story from Jacob – Cloudflare San Francisco

I started my career working in consulting in a conservative environment where I was afraid that coming out would cause me to be taken less seriously by my male coworkers. I remember casually mentioning my partner at the time to a couple of close coworkers to gauge their response. They surprised me and turned out to be very accepting and insisted that I bring him to our Holiday Party later that year. That event was the first time I came out to my entire office and I remember feeling very nervous before stepping into the room.

My anxiety was soon quelled with a warm welcome from my office leadership and from then on I didn’t feel like I was dancing around the elephant in the room. After this experience being out at work is not something I think greatly about, I have been very fortunate to work in accepting environments including at Cloudflare!

A story from Malavika – Cloudflare London

Nearly a decade has passed since I first came out in a professional setting, when I first started working at a global investment bank in Manhattan. The financial services industry was, and continues to be, known for its machismo, and at the time, gay marriage was still illegal in the United States. Despite being out in my personal life, the thought of being out at work terrified me. I already felt so profoundly different from my coworkers as a woman and a person of colour, and thus I feared that my LGBTQIA+ identity would further reduce my chances of career advancement. I had no professional role models to signal that is was okay to be LGBTQIA+ in my career.

Soon after starting this job, a close friend and university classmate invited me to a dinner for LGBTQIA+ young professionals in financial services and management consulting. I had never attended an event targeted at LGBTQIA+ professionals, let alone met an out LGBTQIA+ individual working outside of the arts, academia or nonprofit sectors. Looking around the dining room, I felt as though I had spotted a unicorn: a handful of out senior leaders at top investment banks and consulting firms sat among nearly 40 ambitious young professionals, sharing their coming out stories and providing invaluable career advice. Before this event, I would have never believed that there were so many people “like me” within the industry, and most certainly not in executive positions. For the first time, I felt a strong sense of belonging, as I finally had LGBTQIA+ role models to look up to professionally, and I no longer felt afraid of being open about my sexuality professionally.

After this event, I felt inspired and energised. Over the subsequent weeks, my authentic self began to show. My confidence and enthusiasm at work dramatically increased. I was able to build trust with my colleagues more easily, and my managers lauded me for my ability to incorporate constructive feedback quickly.

As I reflect on my career trajectory, I have not succeeded in spite of my sexuality, but rather, because of being out as a bisexual woman. Over the course of my career, I have developed strong professional relationships with senior LGBTQIA+ mentors, held leadership positions in a variety of diversity networks and organisations, and attended a number of inspiring conferences and events. Without the anxiety of having to hide an important part of my identity, I am able to be the confident, intelligent woman I truly am. And that is precisely why I am actively involved in Proudflare, Cloudflare’s employee resource group for LGBTQIA+ individuals. I strongly believe that by creating an inclusive workplace – for anyone who feels different or out of place – all employees will have the support and confidence to shine in their professional and personal lives.

A story from Chase – Cloudflare San Francisco

I really discovered my sexuality in college. Growing up, there weren’t many queer people in my life. I always had a loving family that would presumably accept me for who I was, but the lack of any queer role models in my life made me think that I was straight for quite some time. I just didn’t know what being gay was.

I always had a best friend – someone that I would end up spending all my time with. This friend wouldn’t always be the same person, but inevitably I would latch on one person and focus most of my emotional energy on our friendship. In college this friend was Daniel. We met while pledging a business fraternity our freshman year and quickly became close friends. Daniel made me feel different. I thought about him when I wasn’t with him, I wanted to be with him all the time, and most of all I would get jealous when he would date women. He saw right through me and eventually got me to open up about being gay. Our long emotional text conversation ended with me asking if he had anything he wanted to share with me (fingers crossed). His answer – “I don’t know why everyone assumes I’m gay, I’m not.” Heart = Broken.

Fast forward 6 months and we decide to live together our Junior year. I slowly started becoming more comfortable with my sexuality and began coming out. I started with my close friends, then my brother, then slightly less close friends, but kept getting hung up on my parents. Luckily, Daniel made that easier. That text from Daniel about not being gay ended up being not as set in stone as I thought. We started secretly dating for almost a year and I was the happiest I have ever been. The thrills of a secret relationship can only last so long and eventually we knew we needed to tell the world. We came out to our parents together, as a couple. We were there for each other for the good conversations, the tough conversations, the “Facebook Official” post, and coming out at our first corporate jobs (A never ending cycle). We were so fortunate to both work at warm, welcoming companies when we came out and continue to work at such companies today.

Coming out wasn’t easy but knowing I didn’t have to do it alone made it a whole heck of a lot easier. Happy four-year anniversary, Dan.

Resources for living openly

To find resources about living openly, visit the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Center. I hope you’ll be true to yourselves and always be loud and proud.

About Proudflare

To read more about Proudflare and why Cloudflare cares about inclusion in the workplace, read Proudflare’s first pride blog post.

What's it like to come out as LGBTQIA+ at work?

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)

Post Syndicated from Lesley Lurie original https://blog.cloudflare.com/third-times-a-charm-a-brief-history-of-our-gay-marriage/

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)

Happy Pride from Proudflare, Cloudflare’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group. We wanted to share some stories from our members this month which highlight both the struggles behind the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and its successes. This first story is from Lesley.

The moment that crystalised the memory of that day…crystal blue afternoon, bright-coloured autumn leaves, borrowed tables, crockery and cutlery, flowers arranged by a cousin, cake baked by a neighbour, music mixed by a friend… our priest/rabbi a close gay friend with neither  yarmulke nor collar. The venue, a backyard kitty-corner at the home my wife grew up in. Love and good wishes in abundance from a community that supports us and our union. And in the middle of all that, my wife… turning to me and smiling, grass stains on the bottom of her long cream wedding dress after abandoning her heels and dancing barefoot in the grass. As usual, a microphone in hand, bringing life and laughter to all with her charismatic quips.

This was the fall of 2002 and same-sex marriage was legal in 0 of the 50 United States.

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)
Our first marriage in Oct 2002 in Walnut Creek, CA

It was a tough time economically. We had a front row seat to the historic internet boom and bust. My company filed chapter 11 bankruptcy and my customer’s customers were going out of business. I did not anticipate getting a job anytime soon. So after a lot of silver-tongued persuading, I convinced my wife to quit her job, rent out our home, buy a RV. We grabbed our two Australian shepherds and toured the US for a nine-month honeymoon. Forty-five states and 36,000 miles later, we still had some funds left over and I wanted to show Robin my other home, so we travelled to South Africa for 6 weeks. Just before we got on our flight back to the US, we heard news from our family that Gavin Newsom, the then mayor of San Francisco was going to declare same-sex marriage legal and begin issuing marriage licenses in San Francisco. The trip back to the Bay Area took 42 hours door-to-door and had a nine-hour time change. We got home, dropped off our bags and the very next morning, completely jet-lagged, went back into the city to stand in line to get our marriage license.

Our second marriage was a much smaller and more intimate affair

Held in an alcove in the beautiful San Francisco City Hall rotunda with its exquisite architectural design and a view of the grand staircase. It was attended by Robin’s parents and a couple of our close friends that could take the time at such short notice. Knowing that the time window was closing, we grabbed the opportunity to have our marriage recognised legally along with dozens of other jubilant gay couples.

Alas, a short time later, we received an annulment in the mail. We received that, along with an apology and a request that we donate the licensing fees to the city. We were disappointed, but felt our love was strong enough to carry us through and who needed a piece of paper anyway, right?!?

Our attitude changed significantly when we had our son. We had been trying for a while and what finally worked for us was to take my egg along with a sperm bank donation, and impregnate Robin. To this day, my mom says I’m the best delegator she knows. I delegated childbirth. I also delegated all my rights as Joey’s mother. Absent a marriage, in California, the birth mother has all the rights and responsibilities.

Robin had been in a relationship before me where she had planned and had a child with another woman. When they split up, Robin had no rights to see or have access to the child. She also had no obligation to support the child in any way, financial or other.

We wanted to make sure Joey never faced that predicament and without the option for marriage, took the next available avenue. I adopted Joey. Even though he is genetically my child, we had to go through a lengthy and costly procedure to adopt him. We had child protective services inspect our home and come for numerous visits to ensure I would be a “suitable” parent for my child. Eventually, I was granted adoption approval and we went to family court in Martinez where I came before a judge and officially adopted Joey as my son.

In the early summer of 2008, the California Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in California. We were the second state to make it legal after Massachusetts. The court found that barring same-sex couples from marriage violated California State’s Constitution.  

Queue marriage number three…

In the period between the declaration and Prop 8 passing, Robin and I joined 18,000 gay couples that tied the knot.

At this point, we were pros at getting married and went with casual jeans and white cotton shirts, which was easier for everyone including our son who attended our wedding. This was the first marriage where our legal rights and responsibilities actually stuck. These rights were only valid in California however, so on any travel outside of our beautiful state our union would be considered illegitimate. From a tax perspective, it was a real adventure with every advisor having a different take on the way we should file our taxes. Federally our marriage was not recognized, but in California it was. This lead to a lot of confusion and added expenses every April.

Little did we know the backlash that our happy/gay marriages would cause. The religious, conservative right came back at us with Prop 8 for daring to expect equality.

From our perspective, there was no other way to view this than vengeful and born out of malice for gays. Why would these people care that we wanted to live together and have the protections of marriage? I saw this as a group of people wanting to impose their religion and view of what a marriage should be on us. We were on vacation in Hawaii when the election results were announced, sweet with Barack Obama being elected and so, so very bitter with Prop 8 passing.

Prop 8 provoked a lot of soul-searching for me. I was very angry and had a general distrust of people that I had never felt before. I would be in the supermarket line and wonder who there may or may not have voted against my marriage. It was deeply personal and hurtful. We had Mormon friends, who are for the most part wonderful and whose company we enjoyed. Knowing the extreme measures their community went to to ensure Prop 8 passed, cut me deeply.  Catholics and conservatives who are both family and friends, went out of their way to harm me and my family and to make our lives more difficult because they believed we were sinners and not worthy of equality in the eyes of the law. Fortunately, our marriage was grandfathered in, so our rights in California were preserved.

The one ray of light was watching our allies stand up and come to our defense. In my life, I’ve pretty much always been part of the privileged class. I’m a white woman with a degree who grew up in an affluent home. I had never personally experienced discrimination or felt part of a marginalized minority. To have allies that stepped up and argued on our behalf brought tears to my eyes. We would not have the rights we have today without those allies. This was a significant lesson for me to learn. I will always stand up for the disenfranchised and make my voice heard to defend those who cannot defend themselves as others have done for me and my family. I know how much it means.

Life went on, and the fight went on, gathering momentum as more states legalized same sex marriage initially through court action and then through popular vote.

June 26, 2015 was a triumphant day

We celebrated a landmark victory for gay rights as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right and DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) was repealed. Finally, our marriage was recognised in every state in the Union.

We still consider our first wedding as the day we got married. We wrote our own vows and they have traveled with us from home to home framed with pride on the wall in our bedroom.

In October this year, Robin and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. We’ve been together 19 years in total and it’s been quite a ride. I promised Robin I’d marry her seven times, we still have a way to go!

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)
On vacation, May 2019 in Bora Bora

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)

Post Syndicated from Lesley Lurie original https://blog.cloudflare.com/third-times-a-charm-a-brief-history-of-a-gay-marriage/

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)

Happy Pride from Proudflare, Cloudflare’s LGBTQIA+ employee resource group. We wanted to share some stories from our members this month which highlight both the struggles behind the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and its successes. This first story is from Lesley.

The moment that crystalised the memory of that day…crystal blue afternoon, bright-coloured autumn leaves, borrowed tables, crockery and cutlery, flowers arranged by a cousin, cake baked by a neighbour, music mixed by a friend… our priest/rabbi a close gay friend with neither  yarmulke nor collar. The venue, a backyard kitty-corner at the home my wife grew up in. Love and good wishes in abundance from a community that supports us and our union. And in the middle of all that, my wife… turning to me and smiling, grass stains on the bottom of her long cream wedding dress after abandoning her heels and dancing barefoot in the grass. As usual, a microphone in hand, bringing life and laughter to all with her charismatic quips.

This was the fall of 2002 and same-sex marriage was legal in 0 of the 50 United States.

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)
Our first marriage in Oct 2002 in Walnut Creek, CA

It was a tough time economically. We had a front row seat to the historic internet boom and bust. My company filed chapter 11 bankruptcy and my customer’s customers were going out of business. I did not anticipate getting a job anytime soon. So after a lot of silver-tongued persuading, I convinced my wife to quit her job, rent out our home, buy a RV. We grabbed our two Australian shepherds and toured the US for a nine-month honeymoon. Forty-five states and 36,000 miles later, we still had some funds left over and I wanted to show Robin my other home, so we travelled to South Africa for 6 weeks. Just before we got on our flight back to the US, we heard news from our family that Gavin Newsom, the then mayor of San Francisco was going to declare same-sex marriage legal and begin issuing marriage licenses in San Francisco. The trip back to the Bay Area took 42 hours door-to-door and had a nine-hour time change. We got home, dropped off our bags and the very next morning, completely jet-lagged, went back into the city to stand in line to get our marriage license.

Our second marriage was a much smaller and more intimate affair

Held in an alcove in the beautiful San Francisco City Hall rotunda with its exquisite architectural design and a view of the grand staircase. It was attended by Robin’s parents and a couple of our close friends that could take the time at such short notice. Knowing that the time window was closing, we grabbed the opportunity to have our marriage recognised legally along with dozens of other jubilant gay couples.

Alas, a short time later, we received an annulment in the mail. We received that, along with an apology and a request that we donate the licensing fees to the city. We were disappointed, but felt our love was strong enough to carry us through and who needed a piece of paper anyway, right?!?

Our attitude changed significantly when we had our son. We had been trying for a while and what finally worked for us was to take my egg along with a sperm bank donation, and impregnate Robin. To this day, my mom says I’m the best delegator she knows. I delegated childbirth. I also delegated all my rights as Joey’s mother. Absent a marriage, in California, the birth mother has all the rights and responsibilities.

Robin had been in a relationship before me where she had planned and had a child with another woman. When they split up, Robin had no rights to see or have access to the child. She also had no obligation to support the child in any way, financial or other.

We wanted to make sure Joey never faced that predicament and without the option for marriage, took the next available avenue. I adopted Joey. Even though he is genetically my child, we had to go through a lengthy and costly procedure to adopt him. We had child protective services inspect our home and come for numerous visits to ensure I would be a “suitable” parent for my child. Eventually, I was granted adoption approval and we went to family court in Martinez where I came before a judge and officially adopted Joey as my son.

In the early summer of 2008, the California Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in California. We were the second state to make it legal after Massachusetts. The court found that barring same-sex couples from marriage violated California State’s Constitution.  

Queue marriage number three…

In the period between the declaration and Prop 8 passing, Robin and I joined 18,000 gay couples that tied the knot.

At this point, we were pros at getting married and went with casual jeans and white cotton shirts, which was easier for everyone including our son who attended our wedding. This was the first marriage where our legal rights and responsibilities actually stuck. These rights were only valid in California however, so on any travel outside of our beautiful state our union would be considered illegitimate. From a tax perspective, it was a real adventure with every advisor having a different take on the way we should file our taxes. Federally our marriage was not recognized, but in California it was. This lead to a lot of confusion and added expenses every April.

Little did we know the backlash that our happy/gay marriages would cause. The religious, conservative right came back at us with Prop 8 for daring to expect equality.

From our perspective, there was no other way to view this than vengeful and born out of malice for gays. Why would these people care that we wanted to live together and have the protections of marriage? I saw this as a group of people wanting to impose their religion and view of what a marriage should be on us. We were on vacation in Hawaii when the election results were announced, sweet with Barack Obama being elected and so, so very bitter with Prop 8 passing.

Prop 8 provoked a lot of soul-searching for me. I was very angry and had a general distrust of people that I had never felt before. I would be in the supermarket line and wonder who there may or may not have voted against my marriage. It was deeply personal and hurtful. We had Mormon friends, who are for the most part wonderful and whose company we enjoyed. Knowing the extreme measures their community went to to ensure Prop 8 passed, cut me deeply.  Catholics and conservatives who are both family and friends, went out of their way to harm me and my family and to make our lives more difficult because they believed we were sinners and not worthy of equality in the eyes of the law. Fortunately, our marriage was grandfathered in, so our rights in California were preserved.

The one ray of light was watching our allies stand up and come to our defense. In my life, I’ve pretty much always been part of the privileged class. I’m a white woman with a degree who grew up in an affluent home. I had never personally experienced discrimination or felt part of a marginalized minority. To have allies that stepped up and argued on our behalf brought tears to my eyes. We would not have the rights we have today without those allies. This was a significant lesson for me to learn. I will always stand up for the disenfranchised and make my voice heard to defend those who cannot defend themselves as others have done for me and my family. I know how much it means.

Life went on, and the fight went on, gathering momentum as more states legalized same sex marriage initially through court action and then through popular vote.

June 26, 2015 was a triumphant day

We celebrated a landmark victory for gay rights as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right and DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) was repealed. Finally, our marriage was recognised in every state in the Union.

We still consider our first wedding as the day we got married. We wrote our own vows and they have traveled with us from home to home framed with pride on the wall in our bedroom.

In October this year, Robin and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. We’ve been together 19 years in total and it’s been quite a ride. I promised Robin I’d marry her seven times, we still have a way to go!

Third Time’s a Charm (A brief history of a gay marriage)
On vacation, May 2019 in Bora Bora

Transgender Day of Visibility

Post Syndicated from Kas Perch original https://blog.cloudflare.com/transgender-day-of-visibility/

Transgender Day of Visibility
The transgender pride flag

Transgender Day of Visibility

My name is Kas. I’m a Cloudflare employee and I wanted to share my story with you on International Transgender Day of Visibility.

I’ve been different for as long as I can remember. I’ve been the odd one out not just for the time I’ve spent in tech, but most of my life.

I’m transgender in that I am gender non-binary. I’m working with the word ‘agender’ right now, as it is the word that describes me best: I’m not a woman, or a man, just a human. I don’t really have a gender, and I certainly don’t identify with either binary label.

Transgender Day of Visibility
The agender flag

Being transgender in tech is difficult. There are many times where we have to work harder, smarter, and give up so much to stay afloat. Times where you have to weigh the benefits of correcting your pronouns against the title of the person who is to be corrected (are they a customer? Your bosses’ bosses’ boss?). Times where you don’t know if you can even be ‘out’ with your coworkers, because you just don’t know if, or how, they’ll treat you differently, or fairly.

Being agender or outside the binary represents its own special quirks: I get asked a lot if I’m OK with going to women’s groups; I quickly explain that I am not a woman, but I try to be an ally to women, and see if the invite still applies. On International Women’s Day, I got a bit of well-meaning attention as a ‘Woman in Tech.’ I had to think for a bit: should I just bite the bullet and accept the attention while glossing over my identity? In the end, I decided to speak up and redirect the attention to actual women– And yes, before you even think to ask, I mean ALL women, including and especially trans women.

I’m lucky to be at Cloudflare; my coworkers respect my pronouns, and I’m treated fairly. We even have an organization, Proudflare, that advocates for LGBTQIA+ Cloudflare employees and folks in general. It’s still hard to be visible and trans in tech. For those who are out, and proud, and loud; be sure to recognize their work. Think about the extra work trans folk put in to be visible while trying to remain safe and healthy. I can’t and won’t speak for the entire trans community, but I can respect their experiences and I can listen to them.

I guess that’s the one thing I might ask of the reader here: listen to trans people. Really listen. And, if they seek to be visible, help them. Share their work.