PRIDE at UKG is an employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to celebrating our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, non-binary, intersex, and ally (LGBTQ+) employees at UKG. PRIDE at UKG aims to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment where U Krewers feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day.
In honor of Pride Month, UKG chatted with members of the Rainbow Parents Pod, a subgroup within our PRIDE ERG, to learn more about their family’s experiences as part of the LGBTQ+ community. The Rainbow Parents shared their stories of acceptance and understanding, as well as the most challenging parts of their journey.
Anonymous U Krewer
(Pseudonym used throughout)
Tell us about your family’s experience with the LGBTQ+ community? As a freshman in high school, my AFAB (assigned female at birth) child, Jessica, came out as bisexual at our local Pride fest by texting my husband and me a photo of them holding a bi flag with the word “surprise!” During Jessica’s senior year of high school, they told us they identified as trans/non-binary, so we began using “they/them” pronouns when referring to them. They just completed their first year away at college and are continuing their journey and prepping for a physical transition in the way of hormones and top surgery later this year. It’s a constant evolution, and we are learning to go with the flow as much as possible to support them.
Has this experience changed your perspective? We are constantly adjusting but want our child to be happy in their skin. I have many gay friends and colleagues from throughout my life/career, so Jessica coming out as bisexual was an easy adjustment. Being non-binary has been a steeper hill to climb mainly because it’s a newer concept to us. It requires retraining of our language, thoughts, and actions. It’s easy to grasp the idea of gender being a spectrum but getting the pronouns right can be a challenge. This is especially true as Jessica is a twin, and we are used to them using the same pronouns. Now one is she/her and the other is they/them. We also have a son (he/him).
What has been the most challenging part of this journey? As of today, I would say the most challenging part has been trusting Jessica to make these huge decisions about permanent physical changes when they are just 18 years old. It’s not that I have issues with transitioning/trans people in general. It’s more about wanting Jessica to be happy with the changes for a long time to come. I worry if it’s the right decision, but at the same time, I know it may be the best thing they ever do for themselves. I think it’s natural for parents to have concern when our young adult children make life-altering decisions. I support them and (sincerely) hope for the best.
How has the Rainbow Parents Pod supported you? The Rainbow Parents Pod has been a great place to feel included as one of many families with similar situations. It feels good to know there are so many supportive parents out there and gives one hope that our rainbow kids will find comfort and acceptance in the world as well. I’ve also earned at least one confidant from the group, and we get together over Teams occasionally to talk about our lives. I feel a lot of pride (excuse the pun) to work for a company that is so inclusive as to allow this level of support and camaraderie at work. I hope, when Jessica enters the professional workforce, they find themselves in a similar situation.
I feel a lot of pride (excuse the pun) to work for a company that is so inclusive as to allow this level of support and camaraderie at work.
Why is it important to create an open environment for people to ask questions and talk freely? For a few reasons: First, this pod creates a resource where we can learn more about the LGBTQ+ experience/community without forcing our rainbow kids to be our educators. Second, it can be intimidating for a parent that wants to be viewed as supportive to ask questions. I like a safe space where sharing questions or parental concerns won’t be misinterpreted as homo- or transphobia. When “out there” in the real world, I only want to present a united front in support of acceptance and love of all people, and especially my child and their community. Lastly, I believe the more we are immersed in all things LGBTQ+, the more “normal” and “regular” it will become for everyone.
Share advice for a parent who is new to the LGBTQ+ community:
- Listen to your child. Let them share what they want, but seek education from other sources (such as online and in books) rather than putting your child in the position to have to explain things to you all the time.
- To build understanding and empathy, immerse yourself in things relating to the LGBTQ+ community as much as possible — TV shows, movies, festivals, online communities, and social media accounts are some examples.
- When in doubt, just love your kid.
What is your greatest wish for your child? Happiness and comfort in their skin.