Pride Month: Look Back, March Forward

With Adobe celebrating the theme of “Look Back, March Forward” this Pride Month, and in celebration of this being the 50th anniversary of Pride Marches, we take a look at some of the stories that members of our AdobeProud employee network shared with us. Read about their first experience participating in a Pride Parade and what their advice is for being an ally.

Damon’s Pivotal Moment

Damon posing with his colleagues at a Pride Parade.

Damon (center) at the San Francisco Pride Parade with his Adobe colleagues.

When Damon Guidry participated in his first Pride Parade, he remembers feelings a multitude of emotions.

“I always went as a spectator, but five years ago I took part in the parade in San Francisco. We didn’t have a float back then and it was just 50-60 employees. But the first time we stepped out on the street in front of millions of people was overwhelming. The street is like a stage and you’re out there feeling vulnerable because you’re making a statement. It was an emotional moment for me.”

Now as an Event Strategist, Damon has his hands in Pride Month every year, helping the AdobeProud employee network bring their vision to fruition. And this year, he’s helping to lead initiatives like a virtual Prided Parade/dance party, educational panels, and more. But what’s most important for Damon is what’s beyond activities.

“When I attended my first parade as a spectator in the 80s, I didn’t understand the history and what it meant. But it definitely has a deep meaning for me now. Many people don’t know that Stonewall was a protest march and also sparked riots and looting, but it’s known as a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history. I urge people to take a seat and listen to those who are being marginalized and oppressed. Then it’s time to do—volunteer, donate, support your friends, vote. Those are key things allies can do.”

Paul on Seeing Visibility Grow

Paul holding a Pride flag at the San Francisco Pride Parade.

Paul (left) at the San Francisco Pride Parade with his Adobe colleague.

For Paul Asente, he participated in his first Pride Parade in the early mid-90s. “I became involved with LGBTQ square dancing, so I participated with that group. I encourage everyone to take part in a Pride parade and not just watch. You get energy from the audience and it’s a way to open the door to new experiences.”

Paul, who’s celebrating 30 years with Adobe this July, remembers when the Proud network was just a mailing list and a small group of individuals. “There were times when it was busy and times when there wasn’t a lot of activity. Members of our group have always been active in advocating for rights and benefits for LGBTQ employees. It’s a big difference now, and all our employee networks have been integral to the culture at Adobe. There’s a lot of visibility now.”

As for his recommendations for allies and those who are part of the community, “It’s more important than ever to be visible, open, and supportive in your online persona within the company.”

Charlotte on Being a Vocal Ally

Charlotte and her colleagues at the Pride Parade in Utah.

Charlotte (far right) with her colleagues at the Pride Parade in Utah.

Charlotte Malan remembers it was her first time on stakes after having a C-section when she took part in her first Pride parade.

“I’ve played roller derby since 2011 and I participated in my first Pride parade after having my second child. I’m a bi-sexual woman, but I don’t think I had even come to terms with that part of myself yet. But when I was out there, I thought ‘this is me, unapologetic.’ It was so energizing and fun. I take my kids to them every year now. As a parent of a child who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, the parade is a great way to have a dialogue and show support.”

As the co-lead for the AdobeProud employee network in our Lehi, Utah office, Charlotte has helped build community and spread education by arranging allyship panels and teaching people to be visible allies. “Let people know that you’re here to support them. Look for charities, donate to causes, and support community-run businesses. Use your voice and use your resources. Look for intersectionality. There are so many ways to be an ally for multiple groups at the same time.”

United under our Adobe For All vision, we are honor Pride Month by focusing on empowering our communities, practicing resilience, and demonstrating solidarity. We are proud of our employees for sharing their personal stories and being vocal allies every day.