Justine Apacible, Customer Support Specialist: Cisgender lesbian
Steve Jennings, Sales Manager: Gay
Karl Jones, Team Lead - Technical Support: Gay
What does it mean to show up authentically at work to you?
JS: It's about not having to hide a huge aspect of my life out of fear that I might be judged or rejected. It can be in small ways! Like telling my coworker about the really nice date I planned for my girlfriend when they ask about my weekend plans.
JA: It means the world to me to be able to express my authentic self [at] work. I know a lot of people who don't come out [at] their work in fear of being judged or being treated differently, and I've personally been affected by that. I'm happy I could just be myself in Shogun.
SJ: For me, showing up authentically at work means being able to be myself. Not hiding parts of my life behind walls. Being able to be open and honest about life outside of work allows [me] to build better relationships with those around me.
KJ: Being able to start discussions and Shogun being open to these discussions helps me be myself at work. Whether it is helping with the setup of the x-pride Slack channel, or opening up the discussion for internal pride celebrations, I've never felt any hesitation to bring up anything related to my orientation.
What does Pride mean to you?
JS: To me, Pride means working towards a world where it's really just not a big deal to be queer! A world where everyone says their pronouns when they introduce themselves and no one bats an eyelash when I mention my female partner.
JA: Pride, to me, is a celebration of acceptance. It's also honoring the previous generations that have had to fight and sacrifice to give us the liberty we are blessed with now.
SJ: Pride to me means being proud of who I am. After spending so many years growing up hiding a big part of myself, being able to live true to who I am and be surrounded by people who support me is huge.
KJ: Pride means a lot of things to me. The first thing is the celebration side of it (obviously, because it's what you see the most of during Pride Month). Pride also reminds me of the fight that LGBT people around the world are still facing. It's 2021 and being gay is still illegal in about 70 countries around the world, and carries a possible death sentence in 13 countries. This side of Pride is often overlooked by people. Pride Month originally commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall Riots.
How have you felt welcome to be your true self at Shogun?
JS: I think my experience of feeling welcome as a queer Shogie is a combination of a few things: the simple fact that there is an #x-pride Slack channel, the emphasis on connecting with other design teammates, and getting to know my coworkers personally and them wanting to know about my life outside of work, and my experience collaborating with our brand designer, Hillary, on the Shogun pride Zoom backgrounds!!
JA: It's funny because it was a certain person from our team who made me feel super accepted right away. It's was in our first support meeting: I saw a RuPaul's Drag Race poster in his background, and it became a talking point for us. It was just from there that we discussed being part of the LGBT community and I guess that made me feel super comfortable to come out. From then on, I realized that the Shogies I've met along the way are just super accepting and I really hope it stays true even as we expand.
SJ: As a team, everyone is incredibly supportive, which made me feel welcome to be myself from day one.
KJ: It's a simple one. I've never felt the need to hide myself. If I remember correctly, it even came up in my original interview with the CEO just under three years ago. This didn't affect me in any way. Nobody thinks twice when I mention my partner.
What are your favorite LGBTQIA+ movies and music?
JS: Music: Tegan and Sara, Clairo, and Phoebe Bridgers. Movies: Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Appropriate Behavior, and Alice Júnior, Rafiki.
JA: “Born This Way" is my Gay Anthem, to be honest.
SJ: Movies: Shelter & Love, Simon, and Rent. Music: Cher, Lady Gaga, and Robyn.
KJ: I have a recent favorite [movie] that was suggested by a Shogie:But I'm a Cheerleader.My go-to Pride music is Kylie and Britney, though again, our Shogie-created Pride playlist has been my go-to since it was created
Do labels make you feel empowered or confused?
JS: My feelings about labels change from day to day so I find it hard to choose one!
JA: Recently, I have been doing a lot of learning and unlearning actually, and realized that the spectrum is much more vast than I originally thought. Labels actually have always scared me, as I didn't know exactly how to identify. Personally, it's a learning process still!
SJ: If I am being honest, I am not really one for labels. My sexuality isn't a defining characteristic, it's just who I am.
KJ: Labels don't really affect me unless they carry negative connotations. I've never really felt I've had labels, apart from the obvious "gay" label.
What’s your favorite way to subtly hint to a stranger that you are queer or interested?
JS: Sprinkling in the phrase "my girlfriend" or "that reminds me of that one episode of The L Word..."
JA: Just wearing some rainbow paraphernalia. I literally get super excited when seeing a fellow gay in the wild. I should probably tone it down, sometimes lol.
KJ: I think sometimes it's pretty obvious when meeting me. My voice sometimes gives me away! Using the word "partner" apparently gives it away!
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?
JA: I'd just like to say thank you to Nick and Finbarr and to each and every Shogie for making our workplace a safe space for people like us, who are just a little bit different in our own way 🌈 I'm truly proud to be a Sho-gay!
Celebrate Pride month with new Zoom backgrounds!
Our design team created these beautiful rainbow-inspired Zoom backgrounds so you can celebrate Pride while Zoom-ing at work. Download here.
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