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Pride Month: Thoughts on Leadership

Championing diversity means speaking up for equity, equality, and inclusion but it also means listening, giving a voice to leaders with powerful, transformative messages we all need to hear. It means taking time to educate yourself, supporting others and collaborating toward a brighter future. This week’s Thoughts on Leadership is dedicated to Pride Month, and I am passing the proverbial microphone to the LGBTQ+ allies and community members whose words must—not just this month but every day and every month—be heard. Here are several quotes to inspire and enlighten:

Lady Gaga, singer/actress and Academy Award winner for Best Music (Original Song):“This community has fought and continues to fight a war of acceptance, a war of tolerance and the most relentless bravery. You are the definition of courage.”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: “So, let me be clear: I am proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”

Neil Patrick Harris, actor/singer/writer/producer, and TV host: “Sometimes you can have the smallest role in the smallest production and still have a big impact.”

Sarah Paulson, actress and recipient of a Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award: “To not have any hope is where things start to get really bleak. Things are possible. The impossible can be possible.”

Melissa Etheridge, singer/songwriter and guitarist: “Love is never wrong.”

Billy Porter, actor/singer/author, and winner of Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: “We are at the forefront of telling our own narrative. It’s not at the hands of other people who are outside the community anymore. It’s just so dreamy—I just feel so blessed to have lived long enough to see this day.”

Laverne Cox, actress and winner of a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: “We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love.”

Alice Walker, novelist/writer/poet and first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel, “The Color Purple”: “No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.”

George Takei, actor/author and winner of GLAAD Media Vito Russo Award: “We should indeed keep calm in the face of indifference and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.”

Dan Levy, actor/writer/director/comedian/producer, and winner of an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: “Love is best served unconditionally.”

Michael Sam, NFL’s first openly gay draft pick: “To anyone out there, especially young people, feeling like they don’t fit in and will never be accepted, please know this: Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself.”

So, what’s the message? Well, it’s everything you just read above. Pride Month may last just for the month of June but at its very soul the ideals this month upholds—inclusivity, equality, diversity, love for the LGBTQ+ community—should remain in our hearts, minds, and leadership philosophies forever.