Belong

Pride Month: Celebrating our LGBTQIA+ people and their stories

Throughout Pride Month we’ll be celebrating our LGBTQIA+ employees by sharing their stories, what Pride means to them, and how to become a better ally to the community.

Today marks the beginning of Pride Month in the US. 

The roots of Pride Month stem back to the unjust discrimination from the June 1969 Stonewall Riots. At the time, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City where the violence that ensued became the catalyst for a unified LGBTQ movement for activism, later bringing to life the march and the slogan “Gay Pride.”

We have come a long way since then, but there is still a long way to go.

At Qualtrics we are proud to support all of our LGBTQIA+ employees. We recognize that throughout the world there has for too long been an experience gap in the way people are treated as a result of their sexual orientation or identity. 


What does LGBTQIA+ stand for?

LGBTQIA+ stands for:

Lesbian

Gay

Bisexual

Transgender

Queer

Intersex

Asexual

+ This is to symbolize acceptance of other marginalized groups not specifically called out in the acronym, but included within the community.


Throughout this month we will be celebrating the resilience of this community by elevating their stories and highlighting actions we can take to show up as allies.

The power of diverse experiences

As a company, we are on a journey to creating a diverse culture where people of all orientations and identities can come to do their best work and ultimately feel a sense of belonging. These different perspectives are reflective of the world around us and help us to achieve more, together. 

We stand with our employee resource group, Q Pride – and their charter to make Qualtrics the employer of choice for LGBTQIA+ employees who are passionate about hunting down and fixing broken experiences in this world.

We hope to shine a light on the importance of creating an environment that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community through the stories of our people who are brave enough to share their journey.

Read Jacob’s story...


I have the space to figure out what a good life looks like for me. Pride celebrates the fact that all walks and paths of life have value

I came out as gay about six years ago, in my sophomore year of college. Since then, I've come to realize that being openly queer has given me a peculiar sense of freedom. 

As a gay man, a lot of the traditional life plans don't apply to me anymore – I'm not expected to get married, raise kids in my church, have a family, and live in a house in the suburbs. 

Although I can do all those things nowadays, this is a pretty recent development, and so many of my queer predecessors haven't followed this life path, carving out their own definitions of what it means to live a good and happy life. 

This sense of freedom is both terrifying and exhilarating, and I think is a crucial aspect of what it means to be queer. Although there are definitely still basic guidelines to follow in terms of what a good life means (i.e. a life spent helping others is probably better than a life spent greedily acquiring wealth), I have the space to figure out what a good life looks like for me. 

Pride celebrates the fact that all walks and paths of life have value, even – and especially – when those paths don't conform to the expectations of broader society.

Jacob | Software Support Engineer


Read Julia’s story...


Deconstructing and rebuilding my beliefs around the beauty of sexuality and gender has taught me love, patience, compassion, grief, and courage.

I met my wife when I was 18 years old. Back then I had no idea what being queer meant and I doubt I'd had any interactions with queer people. She was roommates with a good friend of mine but our conversations never went past "doing well, thanks!" 

Six years later, and having gone through the crucible of coming to terms with my sexuality, I spotted her across the room at an event at the Encircle home in Provo. I had three thoughts in sequence: "ooh, she's cute," "ooh, she's queer" (my gaydar was better fine-tuned by then), and "OH! I KNOW HER!" 

I went across that room to talk to her and managed to get past the "doing well, thanks." We had much to catch up on after all (like...what brings you to this very lovely, very queer event?). 

A month later, we went to our first Pride festival together in Salt Lake City and had the greatest, queerest time. 

Pride for me is a reminder that we all go through some type of crucible: we fight to love and we love this fight. Pride started with a protest led by trans women of color and today we’re still fighting to keep our queer youth from taking their lives. 

Deconstructing and rebuilding my beliefs around the beauty of sexuality and gender has taught me love, patience, compassion, grief, and courage. It's given me permission to love myself and others for who they are. Most importantly, it brought me to my wife, and I couldn't be more grateful.

Julia | Technical Account Manager


Read Alexis’s story...


It is hard to move into a world where you know there are people who hate you for nothing more than you being you.

It wasn't until I was 30 years old that I came to accept myself.

I’m not going to go into all the personal and honestly boring details of how I came to realize that I was a lesbian, but I am going to answer one question that might be on your mind real quick - yep, I REALLY didn’t know. There have been times throughout my life where I questioned but I always buried it. I had repressed so much that I never let myself explore this other side of myself. 

The best analogy that I have come up with to explain this is how it feels when you get glasses or contacts for the first time. The way you were seeing the world initially (before glasses) was how you assumed everyone else saw it. Not being able to see the individual leaves on trees from a distance was what you assumed was everyone's experience, but after you put those glasses on you realize how wrong you were. The world is a whole new place. You don't know what you don't know. 

This has been my experience for so many things - attraction is way more emotional than logical and visual. Love songs and poems aren’t hyperbolic or extreme exaggerations. People actually feel that way! Wild! Now, I get to feel that way and it is wonderful. The joy that has come with accepting myself has been immense. I didn't realize that for years I wasn't able to look at myself in the mirror or how often I avoided taking pictures. It was because the person I would see in the mirror or in those pictures wasn't me. Now, I can. 

It is hard to move into a world where you know there are people who hate you for nothing more than you being you, but I would not change this newfound knowledge for anything.

Alexis | Manager, People Analytics


Read Austin’s story…


I've learned the importance of being a visibly out and authentic leader by bringing my full self to work and encouraging my team to do the same.

Working at Qualtrics felt like a risk worth taking, despite my lingering concerns over whether my sexual orientation might be an issue in my new workplace. 

I was surprised when I started my first day on the job that I somehow ended up back in the closet again, even though I had come out over a decade before. I was sure those days were well behind me years ago, but being in a new workplace with all new people requires coming out all over again.

I underestimated the challenge of navigating the uncomfortable tension between wanting to share more of who I am with my team, but also not knowing yet if it was safe to do so. 

At the time I found it unexpectedly awkward to share my sexual orientation as just one part of my identity. I was single and had no boyfriend to casually talk about in daily conversations, unlike many of my straight coworkers who talked all the time about their wives or husbands. 

That feeling changed when Qualtrics started the Q Pride group, creating a welcoming space for the LGBTQIA+ community at work. Our company’s embrace and sponsorship of Q Pride also signaled to me that I didn't need to worry anymore in daily interactions with coworkers about whether I might be punished for being more of myself at work. 

I've learned the importance of being a visibly out and authentic leader by bringing my full self to work and encouraging my team to do the same. 

As a hiring manager, I tell candidates I interview about our company commitment to DEI, and I share why this commitment is deeply important to me and my team.

Austin | Associate Manager, Partner Delivery


Read more stories on the Qualtrics Life blog

Happy Pride Month!

Farren Roper | Qualtrics DEI lead


Hero Image Credit: Greenall, F. (2019). [Pride Parade 2019  - Qualtrics bus]. LinkedIn and Instagram.

Farren Roper // Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead

Farren is an alumnus of the University of Johannesburg and the University of South Africa/Universiteit van Suid-Africa and started his career at Clover SA.

Starting his career with Qualtrics in July of 2019, he was a Senior Product Marketing Leader until taking on the role of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead.

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