Pride at Vertex: Celebration, Reflection and Intersectionality

Jun 29, 2020

Pride at Vertex

Tracy Lampula, Evan Bai, Jeff Willy and Jamie Pearson are co-chairs of VERTEX PRIDE, one of the employee resource networks at Vertex. Tracy, Evan and Jeff all contributed to this post.

In June, people all over the world join together to celebrate Pride a celebration to honor the accomplishments and progress of the LGBTQ+ community. From the first pride protest outside the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969 (led by Black and Latinx transgender women) to today, we’ve come a long way. But our success doesn’t mean that our work is done. Far from it. The world still needs to become more diverse, inclusive and equitable for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, class or location.

And in this moment, while we celebrate virtually, it’s important to reflect on the 50-year history of Pride and engage in continued understanding of our shared intersectional experiences.

Intersectionality (in·​ter·​sec·​tion·​al·​i·​ty | noun): a term coined by civil rights activist and professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, which can be defined as "the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage"

At Vertex, Pride is one of four employee-led resource networks (ERNs) that foster connectivity and collaboration among our colleagues — across levels, functions and geographies. The Pride ERN is dedicated to developing and enhancing the career satisfaction of LGBTQ+ and allied Vertexians. In just a few years the Pride ERN has grown to more than 300 members globally, and Pride is embedded in our culture throughout the year, not just in June.

Community is an important area of focus for the Pride ERN. We want to ensure that our efforts are contributing to a diverse and inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable bringing their authentic self to work. Having a team of supporters by your side who can answer questions and share their own experiences is a powerful thing. In a panel discussion earlier this month, five of our colleagues from different areas of the organization came together to share their personal experiences and perspectives. The conversation ranged from memories of their first Pride event to how they decided to come out and how the HIV/AIDs epidemic has had on impact on their lives. We’re always impressed by Vertexians’ willingness to share and contribute to the conversation, and we want to foster a culture where these conversations can happen with anyone.

Pride speaker panel

This year the Pride ERN is working on a new strategic plan to better serve our community, members and allies as Vertex continues to evolve. As mentioned, community is a key focus for us, but another area of focus includes leadership. We think about leadership in terms of how we can provide opportunities for members to strengthen their leadership skills, how we can be leaders supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives in our local communities, and how we can ensure the Vertex leadership team can be supportive and inclusive allies for the LGBTQ+ community. As an example, we are currently piloting a reverse mentoring program focused on creating a forum for our LGBTQ+ members to coach, train and develop the organization’s leadership team around workplace LGBTQ+ and diversity issues to enhance our corporate culture at Vertex, which is already inclusive and diverse. We also continue to identify and sponsor LGTBQ+ organizations in our communities. 

Additionally, our advocacy work focuses on how we advocate for our members and allies and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. We want to:

- Build upon work we did to support the “Yes on 3” vote in Massachusetts to protect transgender people from discrimination in public places, including restaurants, stores and hospitals

- Continue partnering with Human Resources, Facilities and other Vertex groups to establish inclusive policies, benefits, and safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals

- Continue to provide visibility and connection to LGBTQ+ organizations like the Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, GLAD, and Fenway Health

Learn more about Pride at Vertex:Pride Everywhere is the message The Trevor Project is sharing this month. “Pride Everywhere is about remembering what’s at the heart of our community — values we live every day, and values the world needs so much right now. No matter how challenging things may seem, this much is true: Pride isn’t going anywhere, because Pride is everywhere.” There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and the typical celebrations may look a little different this year, but Pride (and especially Pride at Vertex) isn’t going anywhere.