Celebrating Pride at WCD with Jonathan Tieh, Graphic Designer
Our team truly believes in the power of diversity and inclusion to strengthen our communities and create a world that leads with kindness and acceptance. As we gear up to celebrate Calgary Pride, we sat down with one of our 2SLGBTQ+ staff members, Jonathan Tieh [he/him], to delve into his personal experiences, reflections, and insights about what Pride means to him.
Q: What does Pride mean to you?
A: "Pride means allowing yourself to be your true self—unapologetically you. It represents my ability and freedom to be who I am and openly love the people I choose, without stigma and shame. The dictionary defines pride as 'a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people.' That's what it's all about, respecting each other—but most importantly, yourself. In whatever you do and whoever you love."
Q: How do you celebrate Pride?
A: "As a first-generation Asian-born Canadian growing up Queer in a Christian, conservative household, I did not know many 2SLGBTQ+ community members and I felt that I could not relate to many people. I wanted to hide from myself and blend in. I wanted to be 'normal'. But truth be told, we are all unique individuals, and I want to celebrate coming together to share our differences. Our characteristics make us who we are, no matter our religion, ethnicity or race."
"I celebrate Pride by being with my closest friends who have uplifted me through years of turmoil and judging myself for being part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Ever since moving to Calgary three years ago, I've felt so much pride and love from the community, especially WCD, that I now call home. I celebrate Pride every day by surrounding myself with loved ones and positive vibes. Other ways I celebrate our community include going to the Pride parade, and supporting other queer artists at drag shows and art shows in the city."
Q: How do you show support for diversity and inclusion in the workplace year-round?
A: "I show support by showing up to 2SLGBTQ+ events that WCD supports and sponsors. It's important to be around like-minded people, and I love that WCD does the same by being inclusive and fostering a culture that is welcome to every age, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Treating people in a way they wish to be treated rather than the way you wish to be treated is another way I try to make people feel included."
Q: What is your advice to businesses who want to be better allies to the LGBTQ+ community?
A: "To always be inclusive and make a space welcoming for people of all sexual orientations. Advocate and educate people and spend some time learning about the history of Pride, a movement preceded by the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York.
Businesses should be asking if there is something they can do to make their 2SLGBTQ+ coworkers feel like they are welcome and valued. For example, is there a benefit that excludes 2SLGBTQ+ employees? Start a dialogue and make resources available to try and create a workplace where all employees will feel valued and accepted."
Show Your Pride
As we approach Pride month, let us all remember that the journey to inclusivity and acceptance is ongoing. Let's stand together as allies, celebrating our differences and embracing our true selves.
Calgary Pride Week takes place August 26 - September 4, 2023. Learn more about the week's festivities and what you can do to get involved by visiting www.calgarypride.ca.
Thank you to Jonathan for sharing his insights and experiences with us—and Happy Pride! 🌈