Pride Voices: Kellogg students share knowledge and insight
Pride Month is an annual commemorative month in the United States honoring the history, impact and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community. The movement is rooted in love and understanding, and we asked MBA LGBTQ+ students to reflect on the significance of Pride in their lives. They offer important considerations for increasing understanding, comfort and safety throughout communities and workplaces, so that LGBTQ+ members and allies can foster a more equitable, inclusive environment.
What is one thing you want people to know, understand or acknowledge about the LGBTQ+ community?
Nicholas Berkley-Gough ’24, Evening & Weekend MBA student
co-president of Pride@Kellogg Evening & Weekend
An interesting phenomenon connects the popular kid’s game “slug bug” and the recent backlash against gender identity. But to explore this connection, we need to delve into how memory works and the capacity of human observation.
As a kid, I was close with my cousin, Carley. We used to play slug bug — the first to see a Volkswagen Beetle pass punches the other’s arm; hence “slug.” This, of course, would lead us to see more and more Volkswagen Beetles. Everywhere we looked, it seemed we’d see “slug bugs.”
The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon — or frequency illusion — occurs when we notice something, and it suddenly appears everywhere. Like when you learn a new word and then repeatedly encounter it in conversations, articles and movies. Our minds become attuned to what we have recently noticed, making it more likely to be recalled from our short-term memory. So, why is this important?
Awareness has recently surged for gender identity and transgender rights. This increased visibility has provoked a backlash as some decry band-wagoning, but the connection becomes evident when we consider Baader-Meinhof.
What I want other leaders to understand is that it is essential to foster acceptance and understanding —and it’s our job to do it. We must actively seek perspectives different from our own, engage in meaningful conversations and challenge our own biases. We break reinforcement cycles by consciously exposing ourselves to a range of opinions and experiences.
As leaders, we need to be aware that our observations shape our beliefs and attitudes. Actively strive to engage in constructive dialogue and challenge our own assumptions because our differences make us stronger. This isn’t just the essence of Pride, but the experience we strive to make for ourselves as Kellogg students.
Diego Braga ’24 and Brian Liu ’24, Full-Time MBA students
Sexual orientation and gender identity exist across a wide spectrum. They are innate aspects of our identities — not choices — that we discover and embrace as integral parts of who we are. Despite significant progress in recent years, many members of the LGBTQ+ community still face discrimination and even violence for their sexual orientations and gender identities.
Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are too often at the forefront of this marginalization. Exiguous societal understanding and misrepresentations of these communities lead to harmful misconceptions and lower chances of public acceptance at large. This compounds and leads to difficulties in accessing adequate healthcare, housing, employment and legal protections. While progress has been made in certain regions, most jurisdictions still lack any form of anti-discrimination laws that explicitly protect these communities. Additionally, these individuals face comparatively higher rates of physical assault and harassment.
As we celebrate Pride Month, we hope that broader communities recognize these challenges and realize that significant changes are still necessary to combat discrimination. Efforts toward better education, higher awareness, inclusive policies and fair legal protections can help create a more equitable and supportive society for the LGBTQ+ community. Allies play a pivotal role here and can contribute by:
What are some ways allies can support the LGBTQ+ community beyond Pride Month?
Ken Jaroenchisakon ’25, Evening & Weekend MBA student
Support comes in different forms. In light of all the anti-LGBTQ laws, you can take a stance against them and make your voice heard by voting. In your organization, promoting equal practices and inclusive benefits makes a big difference. To start discussions, try asking questions like, “Are topics related to gender identity and sexual orientation covered in manager training?” On a personal level, it can be as subtle as using more inclusive language and not making assumptions to help people feel welcome. Believe it or not, as a gay man, I have often been asked if I have a girlfriend. I’m still not sure the best way to handle these conversations. All to say, it truly does not matter what kind of support you choose to display. What matters is you show them, so we can continue to leave tracks for others to follow.
Elle Wilson ’23, Evening & Weekend MBA student
As a queer woman, one of the harder decisions I made in my career was to come out professionally. I worried about how sharing that part of my identity might change how I was seen or treated in the workplace. I know I was not alone in that feeling, as over 75 percent of women and non-binary LGBTQ+ women are reluctant to fully come out at work and are least likely to be out professionally.
Because your workplace is no doubt more diverse than you might be aware of, there are many simple actions allies can take to advocate for their colleagues. Here are two suggested areas of focus to get you started:
- Check your company-sponsored insurance plans and ask if they cover gender-affirming care and fertility benefits that do not exclude LGBTQ+ parents (many policies may include the requirement of infertility which can exclude a large percentage of LGBTQ+ individuals).
- Look at your parental leave policies to see if they use gendered language or inadvertently result in LGBTQ+ employees receiving less time off to bond and care for their children.
If you see anything that you know will result in inequity, talk to your employer and let your voice be heard. Ensuring your policies are inclusive not only sends a positive signal to LGBTQ+ employees, but also makes a meaningful difference in the life of those who access these benefits.