During this year Pride month (June), the LGBTQIA + community at Samsung Electronics America celebrated the beauty of its diversity, advocated for equality and commemorated the historic tipping point of the Stonewall uprising. But while many milestones have been crossed in the push for progress, the community currently faces complex obstacles at the national and state levels.
Samsung is committed to creating an equal environment that supports, inspires and respects all of our employees. After all, ensuring such an inclusive work culture is key to our belief that when we thrive together, our creativity and innovation defy barriers. On Pride Month, Samsung Electronics America explored the importance of intersectional pride and the history of the LGBTQIA + equality movement in collaboration with our Alliance for Equality (ERG) Employee Resource Group through a series of events.
Among these sessions was a conference on “The History of Gender and Sexuality in the United States” with Nikita shepard (they / them), a doctorate. candidate in the history department of Columbia University. The educational discussion has reflected beyond the 52 years since Stonewall and shed light on the many pioneers who paved the way for LGBTQIA + acceptance and visibility. Their presentation highlighted the broad spectrum of gender and sexuality, how this spectrum has evolved over the course of US history, and how it shapes social and political developments today.
It’s important to find the courage to embrace your true self and the various intersectional identities – whether it’s sexuality, race, socioeconomic status, education, or religion – that make you unique.
Nikita shared the following historical references:
- “Trans and non-binary people are not a new phenomenon. There have always been homosexuals and people who challenged the gender norms of society.. “There is a dangerous undertone of ‘novelty’ in conversations about gender and non-binary identities, but gender fluidity and intersex has been documented since colonial times (eg Thomas / ine Hall) and early United States (“husbands”), as well as among Native Americans, among whom Two-Spirit identities have existed from before European colonization until the present day.
- “Long before RuPaul became a pop culture star, William Dorsey Swann, born into slavery, hosted drag parties at his Washington, DC home in the 1880s and was nicknamed ‘The Drag Queen., ‘”Nikita said, drawing on exciting new research from a queer black scholar. Channing joseph. “Swann’s courageous life highlights the impact of black people on LGBTQIA + culture in the United States decades before the Stonewall uprising of 1969, where two trans women of color – Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera – helped spark the modern gay rights movement.
For the event “Exploring LGBTQIA + Intersectionality”, moderator Nash Gammill, Senior Director of the Office of Program Management and National President of the Samsung Equality Alliance, was joined by Melissa Greco, Senior Manager, Supply Chain Management and National ERM Lead for the Veterans Community; Antoine Lopez, Director of Commercial Operations, Display Business and Unidos ERG member; and Seth brown, Senior Manager, Mobile B2B National Strategy and GBP ERG National Vice-Chair. The discussion focused on the vital role intersectionality plays in the fight for LGBTQIA + justice, and the importance of coming together to foster community and drive change.
Among the takeaways:
- “Black Lives Matter is an LGBTQIA + issue. #StopAsianHate is an LGBTQIA + issue. The women’s movement is an LGBTQIA + issue. The transgender rights movement is an LGBTQIA + issue. Tackling Youth Bullying is an LGBTQIA + Issue“Seth said.
- “It’s important to find the courage to embrace your true self and the various intersectional identities – whether it’s sexuality, race, socioeconomic status, education, or religion – that make you unique., noted Antoine.
- “’Don’t ask, don’t say’ is gone, but its effects still haunt lesbian, gay and bisexual veterans – many of whom are forced out of the closet to explain their ‘honorable dismissal’ to employers. … And then the fight continued for our transgender siblings, who until March of this year were unable to serve in the military without restrictions, ”Melissa added.
- “ no pride for some of us no release for all of us“Nash said, quoting artist Micah Bazant.