Embodying Pride ACROSS ALL LINES
By Traci Wade, Vice President, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Oracle
June is LGBTQ+ Pride month, and as we kick off the celebration, it’s worth reflecting on the momentous progress made by the gay liberation movement in the United States, and how the fight for LGBTQ+ rights has breathed life into so many other social-justice movements. That’s a topic I recently spoke with Calvin Glenn about. Calvin has thought a lot about intersecting identities and the ties between marginalized communities thanks to his own unique experience and his life-long dedication to empowering others. I learned so much from our discussion. But the big takeaway for me is that the great accomplishment of LGBTQ+ -rights activists, one that resonates far beyond that one movement, is allowing people to simply be themselves. Growing up, Calvin occupied—and thrived in—very different spaces. In his poor neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, he “got a lot of razz-
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ing” because his interest in books and computers wasn’t always cool. Then, his incredible academic talent thrust him into an elite all-boys school where there were few kids who looked like him; he was one of only two Black kids in his class and openly gay. “You live across different lines,” Calvin tells me. “I don’t think any of us lives in a single space, where we’re always part of a single group. That was my experience, feeling like I was in two different spaces: first I was a really poor kid because I lived in the hood, but also I was a really privileged kid because I went to a fancy private school. Then, add in the fact that I’m a gay boy—they all made up what my identity was.” Calvin became very good at “acting appropriate for whatever group of people I’m going to hang with,” he says. He learned to thrust forward, or hide back from view, different parts of himself. “Today I’m going to be more prim and proper. Today I’ve got to
be a little looser and more street. Some days I’ve got to make sure that when I’m hanging out with my straight friends I don’t say too much gayness. It’s interesting how all of that comes into play to create a single identity.” Minding those distinctions isn’t really part of his life anymore; Calvin strives to bring all these experiences and facets of his identity forward as a whole self. And as an Industry Marketing leader at Oracle, he focuses on promoting a culture that makes other people feel they can do the same. In his 14 years at Oracle, Calvin has found not only a professional home and a stellar career, but also an outlet for his sense of purpose through participation in employee resource groups that foster inclusive culture. Calvin provides an esteemed voice in two of our Employee Resource Groups (ERG): Oracle Pride Employee Network (OPEN) and Alliance of Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE).