Celebrating Pride Month as an LGBT Ally & Advocate

Celebrating Pride Month as an LGBT Ally & Advocate

Pat Padilla, Symantec's Associate Sales Operations Specialist

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The @symantec #Pride2015 series recognizes an outstanding #LGBT ally! Read her story: http://symc.ly/Pride15 @PFLAG @ZebraCoalition #CSR
Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 8:00am

My journey as an LGBT ally and advocate began some years ago, after conversations with a gay co-worker, with whom I traveled extensively for work. We had been traveling together for years, and I was oblivious to his sexual identity until he came out to me, about six years into our trips. I realized that he was the first gay person I had met (or rather the first to come out to me) and how unaware I was concerning the struggles and inequality faced by the LGBT community and their loved ones.

Shortly afterwards, I discovered the local Orlando/Central Florida PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter. PFLAG was founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son. It is now the nation’s largest family and ally organization. PFLAG opened my eyes. It was through PFLAG that I learned, from a grassroots level, what families with LGBT children go through when their child comes out. It was heartbreaking to witness parents’ feelings, from bewilderment and confusion to fear and anger, while at the same time worrying for their children’s safety and well-being. Members of the LGBT community come to PFLAG looking for the “home” they do not have after they have been shunned by their families and friends. It was very difficult to hear their stories, but under the wings of their PFLAG “family” amazing things happened – providing support and resources has led to so many sincere friendships and such satisfaction as I see parents evolve and their children absolutely excel many, many times. I’ve been a member of PFLAG for 16 years and served as president of PFLAG Orlando/Central Florida chapter for 11 years. 

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