What does it mean to be celebrating pride?

The world has come to know Pride Month by its rainbow association, but it goes way deeper than just a spectrum of colors. Last year, I shared a piece of my “coming out” story for South African Pride Month but it’s here where I’d like to focus on the inclusive nature of the community and why it matters to have representation in our organization. 

I identify as a gay man yet often times I forget about my sexual orientation because it's a fragment of who I am. My journey has been one where I formed my own group of safety and inclusion when it was too overwhelming for me to step into LGBTQIA+ spaces. The reason is that often times people within the community, and outside of it, preconceive how a gay man should be portrayed and act in society, yet I have come to see a spectrum of human beings that cannot be boxed. I learned to understand that like anything in life, the LGBTQIA+ community was evolving and learning to claim its power in having had it stripped away through decades of misunderstanding.

My community initially involved friends who identified as being gay and friends who were allies. I was able to express my intellect and know my value as an expression of love for myself and these individuals. I later got to have the privilege of including my family, who embraced me with warm hearts.

It’s through understanding my self-worth that I was able to be a pillar for someone like me trying to be truthful about their sexual orientation. I later felt more comfortable being part of larger LGBTQIA+ spaces and open to having conversations with strangers. 

As a Clickatell champion, it's important to value the diversity of each individual's backstory and identity. When I was looking for a new  venture, Clickatell’s job posting stated that the company values all individuals regardless of race, disability, and sexual orientation. This immediately made me want to invest my energy into Clickatell, where I can be myself without feeling the need to hide.

Although in a work environment, especially with the amount of staff at Clickatell, it is still a journey of me becoming comfortable with my colleagues in sharing aspects of myself. Perhaps this article is a good example of me breaking the ice. On that note, the fact that I am writing this article during Pride Month for the company I work for is in and of itself an achievement.

Your kindness to this community extends beyond our work environment, such as informing your children to be mindful of kids in their class who come across as “different”, to the friends you surround yourself with, and so on.

I am grateful to be part of a community I found myself in that celebrates being bold, loves without limitations, and oftentimes carries the weight of the world on its shoulders yet still smiles as bright as ever. 

There is still so much that needs to be done in the world, but  it starts with kindness and respect for one another first. Any member of the community will share their story differently, but we all share a similar truth, and perhaps you can relate to that too. “We are all spirits experiencing a human experience.”

Jandro Saayman, UX/UI Product Designer

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