What does Pride mean to you?

Kelly Johnson

At Hydrow, we are committed to celebrating and embodying Pride every day. We have built a community that celebrates each other’s differences and supports each other no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We asked a few Hydrow employees to reflect on what Pride Month and Pride at Hydrow mean to them. 

Shelby Fanning, Customer Champion

What does Pride mean to you?

I grew up in a social climate where "gay" was used as an insult and thrown around casually with a negative connotation. I’m proud that my mom raised me to call any instance of that out and instead make the bully question why they found those words appropriate to use in a derogatory manner. I’m proud to come from the city that created a chart-topping song about equal rights no matter who you are and who you love. I’m proud that I have seen friends grow from being someone who used to go and turn off songs celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community while we worked out, to someone who agrees that human rights are for ALL humans and passes that message along to their more conservatively-minded friends and family. 

It feels funny to talk about what Pride means to me as an ally because Pride is not about me, but about the amazing LGBTQIA+ community. The first Pride parade I ever saw was actually in Paris. We spent a few hours celebrating Pride with another culture and it was absolutely beautiful. Love is a universal language that everyone can understand and appreciate. There is still a lot of work to do in being the best possible ally, but the number one thing is celebrating in any way that supports the community. 

Pride is a celebration of all the strength and beauty that we have the honor and privilege to appreciate from the LGTBQIA+ community. Pride evokes a sense of joy and confidence that is inspiring to all who choose to witness. It is the strength to be vulnerable, the inclusivity of celebrating all differences AND similarities, and a chance to just have a bunch of fun! Happy Pride Month!

Dan Dunn, Chief Operating Officer

What does Pride mean to you?

Oh boy, that’s a big one. It means a lot of different things.  

For me, Pride’s biggest meaning is to accept yourself and to love yourself - to be proud of who you are. I came out relatively late in life, at 35. For the 20 years before that, I knew I was “different” than my small-town New Hampshire upbringing expected of me, but I was afraid of the repercussions of owning who I was. I’m a better, happier person being able to express who I am. I’m proud!

Pride is also a celebration of progress made, and a thank you to the people who made that happen. The Stonewall Riots were 50 years ago and the struggle was already old then. Ten years ago I couldn’t get married because I was gay; ten days ago I could have been fired because I was gay. I’m thankful for the hard work and sacrifices of the LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies who turned these dreams into reality. In addition to celebrating progress, Pride reminds us to keep fighting for everyone who doesn’t yet enjoy the same equality.

Threaded through all of these is a fun party: celebrating yourself, celebrating progress, celebrating living a better, happier life. How can you celebrate that joy, that love of life, that love of self? There is no better way than with a big Pride party.

Check out this year’s Meet the Crew Pride profile of Dan here

Ingrid Oelschlager, Digital Marketing Manager

What does Pride mean to you?

To me, Pride is about the past, present, and future. 

The past is all about recognizing those who came before us. It’s about honoring members of the LGBTQIA+ community who stood up for what was right, who risked their lives, who had the courage to be the first, who were treated inhumanely their entire lives and still found the strength to fight for LGBTQIA+ rights and acceptance. Because of countless heroes who put everything on the line to create a better future, I can talk about my identity without fearing for my life or societal exile, I am able to marry the love of my life, and as of this past Monday, June 15, 2020, I know that I cannot be fired from a place of employment just for being who I am. 

The present is all about enjoying the moment, about celebrating our incredibly diverse community and ourselves. Pride Month is about taking time out of the year to bask in the rainbow and be proud of where we’ve come from, who we are, and where we’re headed in the future. 

The future is all about continuing the fight. Despite how much progress has been made, there’s still a lot to do as we work towards equality for all. It’s our responsibility to listen to, stand by, and amplify all voices. Transgender people, LGBTQIA+ POC, community members in certain parts of our country, and the world, and so many others, are still not given the rights or the respect that they deserve. For those of us who do not face the same oppression, we have to hold ourselves accountable for fighting for what’s right alongside those who deserve a better future. 

Check out this year’s Meet the Crew Pride profile of Ingrid here

Sam Godding, Customer Champion

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride means everything to me, it’s how I live my life. I am proud of who I am, and I am proud to be me.  Pride is understanding your voice and your voice’s power, and using that passion to make a positive difference in the world. Pride is being authentically you!! Pride is letting your freak flag fly!!!! <3 Pride is rainbows and unicorns and sparkles and glitter... and RuPaul and David Bowie!! **Inclusivity, Pride and community are big pieces of our team's ethos at Hydrow. What does this mean to you? **I wouldn’t be at a place where these are not core values. The world I want to live in is one that is inclusive for all; everyone deserves the same respect, treatment, and rights regardless of their identity. I will not stop until this is the world that we live in, so it means everything to me that Hydrow is a prideful company with the intention of making the world a better place. Being part of a community -- a supportive, loving, and accepting community -- is what we all deserve, and that’s exactly what we have here at Hydrow.

Check out last year’s Meet the Crew Pride profile of Sam here.

Joe Arquillo, Business Operations Manager

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is a celebration of the diverse and inclusive LGBTQIA+ community. It commemorates years of fear and prejudice but also reinforces the acceptance of living a life that is authentic and true to yourself, filled with happiness and laughter.

Inclusivity, Pride and community are big pieces of our team's ethos at Hydrow. What does this mean to you?

It means that we have the opportunity to bring our whole selves to work, elevating the voices of those who might feel vulnerable and encouraging them to share and speak up. Even as we celebrate Pride this month, life will still come at us armed with hard times and tough choices, but our voices are our weapon, our thoughts our ammunition. At Hydrow, I am proud to be gay, be myself, and be able to speak up so that we reach higher and further together.

Check out last year’s Meet the Crew Pride profile of Joe here

Robin Neviaser, VP of Digital Marketing and Sales

What does Pride mean to you?

Simply, Pride means that we embrace our differences -- whether it’s religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or anything -- and whatever they may be, we come together and we celebrate. We celebrate how beautiful it is that we are all different, unique, and special, and how lucky we are to be together in this amazing community. Pride is all about respect and celebration of everyone’s individuality. 

Share your own Pride celebrations and tell us what Pride means to you on social using #HydrowPride