Until I started working at DMA, I never thought it would be safe for me to be ‘out at work’ living in Indiana. Prior to joining DMA, I spent time in a variety of industries: education, consulting,... healthcare, law enforcement, and manufacturing. Always avoiding conversations and questions about my personal life. Did I need to be so secretive? Perhaps not -- after all, most of the people I worked with were kind, but there were no explicit shows of support for LGBTQ+ in my workplace. The fear of prejudice can eat away at you and cause you to think twice even around the most kind and goodhearted co-workers. No matter how the laws or culture changes, the threat of harassment, discrimination, and violence against the LGBTQ+ community force you to always be wary. So, I never took the chance to be out at work for fear that I would be an outcast or even worse … fired. Looking back, I wonder how much this impacted my ability to achieve my full potential and be a good employee -- constantly trying not to divulge too much information about myself and worrying about slipping up and revealing that I had a boyfriend, rather than a girlfriend. Always going to company picnics, BBQs and Christmas parties alone. I spent a lot of energy hiding myself instead of forming the kinds of professional relationships that ultimately help company culture and performance. Now I realize how much I was missing and can barely remember what it felt like to not be a visible, openly LGBTQ+ person at work. I want to thank all the DMA Employee Owners for creating an environment where: openness matters, community matters, and being able to be out at work matters.
There will always be cons at any employer. Insurance premiums could be less. Better retirement benefits. Overall DMA is a great place to work and I could not be happier coming to work everyday.