KnowBe4's LGBTQ+ group is an internal group of LGBTQ+ employees from every department who work together with the People Operations department to create more awareness for diversity in the workplace. The group's goal is to use their voices to help the LGBTQ+ community at KnowBe4 and throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Their latest project was a huge supply drop of essential items for EPIC Empath Partners in Care to add to their food/supply pantry. The group is also working on a pride fundraiser with Metro Wellness, a local LGBTQ+ clinic, and several events and projects revolving around using art to bring attention to the wealth of LGBTQ+ employees and talent in the local area. Of course, our awesome group also takes the lead on planning KnowBe4's participation in St. Petersburg's local Pride parade!
MEET SOME OF THE KNOWSTERS BEHIND KNOWBE4'S LGBTQ+ GROUP
Kaiser is one of the founding members and driving forces behind the LGBTQ+ group. "I am a 26-year old queer and trans male. I am a Tier 2 Tech Support. I've been part of the group from the beginning and I've been part of Knowbe4 since 2017!" Kaiser feels the group has a responsibility to help the community and to help the employees within our own organization. "There are a lot of us who have grown up as LGBTQ and spent many years feeling like outsiders or unheard. I think it's important that we give each other the opportunity to find our voices and share with our peers without judgment or fear. It means a lot to me to have this organization actually be willing to have a dialogue and take steps to make progress for everyone who doesn't always fall in the spotlight."
Meet Kit. They are a Lead Routing Specialist in our Information Technology Division and an active member of the LGBTQ+ group. They say Pride means being able to "freely talk about my sexuality and gender identity with validation, acceptance, and without any fear of being judged or bullied." To Kit, the LGBTQ+ group's purpose is to spread "love, knowledge, and information about the LGBTQ+ community." To help spread knowledge, Kit would like to take this opportunity to share their coming out story.
"On Pride month of 2019, I decided to come out to my first-generation Vietnamese immigrant parents as queer. It was the hardest and scariest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life, and I’ve crossed Vietnam's busy traffic (look up Vietnam traffic). I had been preparing to be disowned by them since I was 12, when I knew that I was not straight. I battled a lot of internal conflicts and demons about my sexuality and my gender identity, and the struggle was a very hard thing to do, to say the least. It took a very long time for me to finally accept who I am as a person, and last year seemed like a good time to see if my parents would also accept me as who I am. It was a big gamble since I could have lost my entire family. After many panic attacks and seeing my messages left on "read" by my mom for 12 hours, I saw the light at the end of the ”coming out” tunnel. My dad knew for a few years and was just waiting for me to say something. It took my mom a couple of weeks but she eventually came around. When they both started offering me random pieces of cut fruits again, I knew everything would be okay. :)"
This is Jeff, another active and passionate member of our LGBTQ+ group. During Pride month, Jeff likes to remind us that "Pride is also a remembrance of the persons before you, who fought to overcome the oppression of freedom of expression and sexuality, and for equality under the law." Jeff says, "I joined this group because I feel that it is an impactful group of people who are exceptionally passionate about the LGBT movement, as well as other issues surrounding diversity and individuality in the workplace. It is important to me that we have a venue to collaborate with our peers to make decisions that impact internal policies, as well as impact the community through donations, sponsorships, and other initiatives."
Meet Jessica from our Tech Support team! She has been at KnowBe4 since March 2019. When she isn't working, she's attending classes to finish her Bachelor's degree in Technological Development and Management and doting over her beloved dog, Louis. Jessica says, "this group is important to me because it celebrates the diversity that thrives in our company culture. This group has offered me the priceless opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community in a respectful and thoughtful way, and it has made me more aware of the individual challenges that the members of our community endure."
At KnowBe4, everyone is free to express themselves exactly as they are, without fear or judgment, ridicule, or repercussions. We will continue working with these amazing Knowsters to create a positive workplace and community for everyone!