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Bringing My ‘Authentic Self’ Into the Workplace | by Kelly Robinson

Throughout June, we’re celebrating LGBTQIA+ Pride Month by sharing stories from our colleagues in the Queers of OpenSesame Employee Resource Group. Today, hear from Kelly Robinson, Customer Success Manager, and she shares her story of joining the OpenSesame team as her authentic self. 

Almost immediately after volunteering to write my story, I began to question myself. Am I ready to ‘out’ myself at work? Will others see or think of me differently? What will my clients think when they read this article? While a few people at work knew of my identity, for those who didn’t, I could have easily passed as a straight woman; and I had for most of my career. At previous jobs, I would see coworkers be ‘out’ and receive backlash and scrutiny. It just seemed easier to stay in the closet.

These questions and concerns are what many in the LGBTQI+ community have to consider on a daily basis. 

Many people assume that coming out is a one time event, but it rarely is, and can be received with mixed responses. It happens with your family, your friends, when you’re getting to know new people, old classmates, coworkers, and in a variety of other situations. And for many people, they also have to define their identity, both gender identity and sexual orientation, and oftentimes more than once. 

I’ve taken a few pivots in my career and one of the main reasons that I was drawn to work at OpenSesame as a Customer Success Manager was their intentional and transparent commitment to an inclusive environment. From their statement on Racial Justice and their pledge of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at OpenSesame, I knew that I could be my true and authentic self. 

One quote that stood out to me and captured my attention was the following:

“We hold ourselves accountable to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities through continuous learning, personal growth, and working to support our customers. We welcome you to bring your authentic self to our team and grow beyond your expectations.”

So with that in mind, I felt comfortable, confident, and compelled to bring my ‘authentic self’ into my new workplace.  On my 90th day at OpenSesame, I came out during my New Hire Presentation, and the support I received was staggeringly positive. My name is Kelly. I am a sister, daughter, auntie, and friend. I use the pronouns she/her and I am a queer woman. 

My story is unique to me and does not represent the opinions of all people in the LGBTQI+ community. There are many resources available to learn more about sexual orientation and gender identity. Take a look at the following to learn more:

LGBTQ in the Workplace: 04. Gender Identity vs. Sexual Orientation from HSI – ej4
Glossary of Terms from the Human Rights Campaign
How to talk (and listen) to transgender people from Jackson Bird | TED Talk

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