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When corporations celebrate Pride Month it’s often seen as performative. Companies change their logos to include rainbows and they sell Pride-related merchandise, but they ultimately do little to support the LGBTQ+ community during the month of June. They still give to politicians that support anti-LGBTQ+ policies and don’t support charities that help the queer community or put on events to honor their LGBTQ+ employees.

At Velir, we view Pride Month first and foremost as a month-long celebration of inclusivity, individuality, and acceptance. So yes, we update our logo to include a rainbow, but we also put on fun and educational Pride events for Velirians to participate in. This year we held two Pride events, and we were very excited by the turnout from our LGBTQ+ employees and allies.

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A Podcast Discussion on What Makes Us Beautiful and What Makes Us Free

The first of our two Pride events was a Lunch and Learn led by our COO, Maris Hanson. Maris is a fan of both Glennon Doyle—the author of “Untamed” and wife of Abbey Wambach—and ALOK, the internationally renowned gender non-conforming writer and performance artist. So Maris suggested that we discuss a phenomenal episode of Doyle’s podcast We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle where she hosts ALOK to talk about “What makes us beautiful? What makes us free?”

"Discussing gender identity in the workplace may feel a bit out of place, but gender is deeply ingrained in our social constructs and understanding the history and our shared experiences is relevant to creating an inclusive work environment."
Maris Hanson COO, Velir

During the event, we sat in a Zoom circle and had a very vulnerable discussion surrounding gender identity, freedom, trauma, expression, and beauty. I entered the conversation with nerves about how I related to this podcast and how overwhelming it was to feel seen and heard by two people I’d never met. ALOK, whose pronouns are they/them, has such an inspiring journey to personal freedom and expression and takes the listener down the path to understanding how the world around us affects the image of ourselves, more than the actual image we project to others.

While some might feel uncomfortable talking about gender in the workplace, Maris felt that it was an important subject to tackle, especially given how it impacts our daily lives in the way it’s so deeply rooted in our social constructs. I agree, and I’m glad we had this discussion.

We highly recommend you give Glennon Doyle’s podcast a listen, and that you check out this episode, ALOK: What makes us beautiful? What makes us free?!

A Pride Happy Hour with Pride-Themed Trivia

Our second Pride event was a Pride Happy Hour on Zoom, which included Pride-themed trivia in a 15-question quiz. We provided participants with three multiple choice answers for each question to help even the odds for those who might not be as up on their Pride trivia. A sample question is:

What is the name of the famous riots that took place as a result of police invading an iconic gay bar in NYC in 1969?

  • The Chrystie Street Riots
  • The Stonewall Riots
  • The Duplex Riots

Two contestants tied for the lead with 13 out of 15 questions right, and they earned gift cards! Curious about the full list of questions? Here’s the Google Form we used to test Velirians on their Pride knowledge.

After we wrapped up trivia, we then broke into a discussion about LGBTQ+ movies and television shows that we each recommend. We all left with some great new films and TV series to check out and felt like the event was a success!

While we’re glad that we could put on these Pride events to honor our LGBTQ+ employees during the month of June, we understand that there’s always more we can to do support the LGBTQ+ community. We feel like these events are a good start and we look forward to discovering more ways we can expand our Pride celebrations and support the LGBTQ+ community outside Velir in the future.

Want to find out more about what it’s like to work at Velir? Explore our Culture page, where you can learn about our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and to fostering a safe work environment for everyone. Then check out our Careers page to visualize your future at Velir by browsing open positions and seeing the benefits we offer.


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