My ADP Coming-Out Story
By Taylor L.M., Information Security Project Manager
Woman. Femme. Queer. Daughter. Wife. Mother (of two). Sister (of seven). Friend. High school drop-out and Wellesley College graduate. Political science major. Data Security Professional.
I proudly shared everything listed above except for the queer part when I started working at ADP nearly eight years ago. That’s not to say I didn’t celebrate everyone else’s “out” statuses. I was in ADP’s Pride Business Resource Group (BRG), where I walked in parades. I rejoiced when we won Obergefell v. Hodges and laughed hysterically with friends when Melissa Ethridge handed Ellen a toaster oven. Yet I continued to “hide” that part of myself in the corporate environment. I was in a relationship with a man, so most assumed, and no one asked. When that relationship didn’t work out, I began dating a woman. I just switched her pronouns to him. But that little omission began to feel like a lie, especially as our relationship grew more serious.
Although I knew ADP supported the community and made huge cultural and legal strides, I was still afraid. I was afraid my co-workers would see me differently – afraid my team would wonder why I had been keeping this secret. Mostly I was afraid that my experience didn’t really “count.”
Did I deserve to be a member of this community that I was simultaneously supporting and keeping at arms-length? In hiding who I was, would people think I had been ashamed before I told the truth, even as I had rallied alongside this community and stood up for their and our beliefs? Had I somehow been complicit in the negativity, ignorance, and distrust of those who do not support us?
I no longer wanted to hide when I fell crazy, madly, deeply in love with Jennie. I wanted to stand up and shout to the rooftops. I wanted to bring my whole, authentic self to work. To be clear, I didn’t climb on the roof at Windward Parkway (don’t do this, it’s dangerous, and you will likely end up hospitalized or in jail). Instead, I chose to take incremental steps to test the waters, as they say. I started by telling one person, then another. I gradually changed he/him pronouns to she/her pronouns in conversations. I showed up at our team’s holiday party with Jennie on my arm.
Jennie and I got married last September, and I proudly displayed one of our wedding pictures on my laptop. Every time I screen-share, I share the bliss of two people in love. I never did see a raised eyebrow, a smirk, nor detected a micro-aggression. That’s not to say that those things don’t still happen all over the place. If you or someone you know is facing discrimination at work, research your rights and get help.
Taylor and Jennie
I’m glad to share that my experience of “coming out” at ADP has always been met with kindness and acceptance. We live in a time when labels can be ascribed to all of us – each is a unique, complex human, yet we are all the same. We struggle. We rejoice. We feel pain. We feel joy. We heal from the past, and we look to a brighter future. More than anything, we all love and seek to be loved in return. In this journey, I’ve learned that every experience counts. Every step I took made me feel better than the one before it. I could have stopped anywhere on that progression, and the outcome would have been the same: I belong, and so do you.
Whether you are “out” to one or all, not yet ready, or a faithful ally – you too belong. Everyone who celebrates love has a role in our community and this movement. Whether it is Women’s month, Pride month, or every month over, under, or in-between our personal lives and our professional lives, every moment matters. You matter. (And our community is always giving out free toaster ovens.)
Let’s work together!
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