Companies that approach pride as a year-round cornerstone of their culture and not just a once-a-year marketing tactic get my support.
By Ken Marshall, Project Manager, Daniel et Daniel Catering & Events
On June 30th, 1985 – back when pride was just a day – I stood in the middle of Cawthra Park on Church Street with some new friends and a few thousand strangers, and I cried. Having stepped off a plane from a small town in Newfoundland only a few months earlier, I was overwhelmed at the acceptance that now surrounded me. It was the first time in my life I felt pure, unadulterated joy.
Quite a few years later, pride became PRIDE, a far larger celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. This much larger event brought much bigger crowds and, inevitably, large corporate sponsorships.
While I’m happy that pride now encompasses a broader spectrum of our community, I have mixed feelings about token corporate support. Many organizations deck the halls in rainbows only to return to business as usual and put away their rainbow flags and decorations come July 1st. Unfortunately, business as usual still often involves cultures that are not accepting of a diversity of being.
Authentic support and appreciation for our community can be hard to come by in the corporate world. When I began my working life in Toronto, I did have positions in which I felt I had to keep my personal life to myself since I knew that while they appreciated the hard work and talent I brought, any hint of my “gayness” wouldn’t be as well received. Since we bring our whole selves to work every day, separating my work life from my personal life became increasingly stressful.
Luckily, almost 20 years ago, I found a company that not only appreciated “work me” and “life me” but celebrated, nurtured and encouraged me and my community.
Daniel et Daniel has always been, not simply a “proud supporter” of the LGBTQ+ community, but a genuine member and participant. Located in Cabbagetown, it’s been a part of the company’s DNA since day one. Supporting causes like AidsBeat, Casey House, PWA Foundation, and numerous other local causes, we understand that showing up is more important than showing off.
I’m proud to be gay, and I’m proud that I work for a company that champions diversity and inclusion. I’ve always felt supported by our owners, management, and staff and in many ways, Daniel et Daniel have become a key part of my chosen family.
Happy Pride Month Toronto. I know this year is another year of virtual parades and much smaller gatherings but we are looking forward to next year when we can scream from the rooftops and hug new friends with you. Until then, I’ll remember that, while we’ve come so far, we still have far to go. I know that as we continue our fight to make sure that every human globally has the same rights and can experience the pure unadulterated joy of being accepted for who you are, my company will be supporting me and our community – 24/7, 365 days of the year.