On Sunday, August 28th, we took to the colorful streets of downtown San Jose along with thousands of others to celebrate Silicon Valley Pride. For over 40 years, the Silicon Valley Pride Parade has become the largest annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the South Bay. We were thrilled to have a big BILL turnout and have our bright orange float featured on KTVU’s broadcast.
The theme for this year’s SV Pride is Proudly Authentic, which aligns with one of our five core BILL values. Our CEO René Lacerte, who attended the parade, shared, “One of the greatest gifts is to understand who you are and be your authentic self with others, especially in a supportive community. When I think about Pride, I think about this event in Silicon Valley. I look around to see all the people here–we’re all here to help everybody be who they are. And if we can be who we are, we can be better."
We strive to be a workplace where all voices are heard, and people can comfortably show up each day as their authentic selves. But that’s not always an easy feat to achieve.
The challenges to authenticity
Society has come a long way in accepting LGBTQ+ people since the 1969 Stonewall riots that catalyzed the modern LBGTQ+ movement. Still, struggles for the community are far from a thing of the past. According to the Human Rights Campaign, lawmakers have put forth more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 alone.
In addition, although diversity and inclusion have taken higher priority on corporate agendas, LGBTQ+ employees can still face discrimination from colleagues or clients, isolation, or even danger in the workplace. BILL CX Advocacy Manager Roy Casas shared, “For many LGBTQ+ folks, navigating life as cautiously as possible keeps us safe. From school to home, and even to work, who we are and who we love can jeopardize our safety.”
A study published in McKinsey and Company reported that more than 1 in 4 employees are not widely out at work, and those numbers jump significantly higher when it comes to junior employees and women. Participants in that report cited that being able to be comfortable being out at work is essential to building meaningful work relationships.
For us, Pride is a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. It’s also sincere recognition of the resilience of the LGBTQ+ community and that they are much more than their struggles. Like any historically marginalized group, the LGBTQ+ community still needs the support of allies–not only during Pride, but all year long.
Celebrating Silicon Valley Pride 2022
At BILL, one of our many ERG (employee resource groups) is for LGBTQIA+ persons and allies. It's called P.R.I.S.M which stands for People Respecting Identity, Sexuality, and Magnificence. This group aims to sustain visibility, community, and career growth for LGBTQIA+ and allies while learning and discussing topics related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.
The members of P.R.I.S.M. and BILL employees, friends, and family that showed up at Silicon Valley Pride shared heartfelt stories. WiLL Huang, CX Advocacy Manager at BILL, explained, “For me, people talk a lot, but we're actually taking action and showing up. That's why we're out here to support, love, and celebrate everybody, not just those at BILL.”
Casas said, “The first day I walked into BILL, I knew I'd found something different, someplace safe. Now standing here at pride with BILL and the community of Silicon Valley, not only do I feel welcome, I feel celebrated.”
BILL Partner Enablement Manager, Mark Tran, discussed the importance of community. He told us, “The beauty of Pride is that it provides an opportunity for individuals to see us as equals and, in turn, learn more about how our community members may be marginalized in other ways, such as race, disability, religion, etc. Not everyone is equally fortunate to be raised in accepting communities. Unlike other corporations, where rainbow capitalism is a branded holiday, P.R.I.S.M. celebrates pride every day. And we're fortunate to partner with Silicon Valley Pride to keep the party going!”
Social and Community Marketing Manager at BILL, Amy Fan, added, “Going to this event with BILL was incredible because I've never seen a Pride parade before, let alone get to walk in one. It's so meaningful to see leadership at this event, and it makes me feel so supported and happy.”
Here’s to having a sense of belonging and to having the security to be authentic. It matters, now more than ever, to make our voices heard and to celebrate diversity. While tolerance, acceptance, and equality are struggles that will continue, we’re driven to do our part and to positively impact our community each day.
At BILL, we celebrate the authenticity that makes us #IncrediBILL. And if you're interested in joining our team (and actively participating in one of our many employee resource groups like P.R.I.S.M), check out our open job opportunities.