As we celebrate Pride Month, 2022, it is essential to know the importance of recognizing and raising awareness about the LGBTQ+ community and how diversity and inclusion should be cherished in the workplace. Hear from Pavel Iarygin as he speaks about his experience being a part of the LGBTQ+ community and what it feels like to work in an inclusive work environment.

What does Pride Month personally mean to you?

Recognizing, challenging, battling stereotypes and discrimination, and bringing awareness to the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community worldwide are some of the bigger external goals but being and feeling united is extremely important to me as well. Seeing the community come together makes me feel like we can do anything.

What are you the most excited about Pride Month 2022?

Being able to freely talk about the challenges the community is facing because it looks like more people are willing to listen, and there’s usually a lot of information flying around. Hence, it’s also a little bit inescapable anyway. Having the community unite during the month is fantastic because there are bigger things on the line, and bickering with each other (like all families do) doesn’t help solve anything. In addition, some more visible queer people come out each year and are less afraid of being their true selves. This creates a beautiful chain effect because it inspires more people to do the same.

Pride with Pavel Iarygin

Are there any particular Pride-related events you’ll be attending this month that feel especially meaningful for you? 

The Berlin Pride will be the most meaningful to me as it will be the very first Berlin Pride I’ll be attending. Despite its colorful festive nature nowadays, it’s still mostly a demonstration, a march to remind the world that the fight for our rights is far from over, and there’s still a lot of work left to be done. But at the same time, it’s a day for celebration and showing the world, including ourselves, that we are united and stronger together. Maybe that’s why many LGBTQ+ allies also love participating in these events, not only to show support for their friends and family but to experience this incredible feeling of unity and love.

In your opinion, which are the most relevant issues affecting the global LGBTQ community which should be immediately addressed? Share your thoughts. 

Trans* people should have easier and free access to healthcare, including hormones, which are still unavailable to them in many places. Same-sex relationships are outlawed, and people are persecuted, jailed, or executed in some countries to this day. Same-sex marriage should also be legalized globally. Queer children’s suicide rates are also among the highest in the world. In theory, most of those issues have a rather quick solution, but, in my opinion, they are just symptoms of something much bigger. We as a society need to focus on destigmatizing by talking about mental health because it’s the first step in preventing more serious issues down the line. After all, acceptance should start within yourself. Negative opinions and emotions toward the LGBTQ+ community tend to stem from the place of ignorance and can also be connected to a lack of self-acceptance (there are actual studies that suggest it), so this applies to everyone. We need to work on communication and empathy as a whole to be able to move anywhere.

What do you think our society should work on during this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ community?

Pride Month shouldn’t be the only month to raise awareness about issues that impact the global LGBTQ+ community, but it helps to have the time of the year when people are more open and willing to listen. Being able to attend, hear and talk to others about the importance of inclusivity and diversity are things everyone can participate in. Feeling seen and valued are some of the most basic human needs regardless of sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, etc., and having a peaceful dialogue can make a lot of difference.

Pride with Pavel Iarygin

What do you think companies should do to make their company culture more inclusive and diverse?

Asking questions, listening, being respectful, and patient. Not everyone in the community feels they immediately belong due to discrimination and prejudice they/we face in the outside world daily. However, speaking from experience, having a good team and other visible queer people helps greatly with this process. Most of the time, no extraordinary action is needed – applying the basic principles we all expect is usually enough. 

What do you like the most about working at AVOW, and how would you describe the company’s views towards diversity and inclusion? 

Respect for everyone’s differences and boundaries, the ability to ask questions, and open-mindedness are the things I value the most, especially in a workplace, so AVOW was a perfect fit. There was never a time when I felt I couldn’t be myself, compromise, or dial down my personality traits, in general, to fit in. I felt accepted and did not need to justify myself at any point. Even to this day, it can be an issue in many companies but AVOW made me feel at home and significantly impacted my performance. Non-performative inclusivity of any kind is extremely important for a workplace – you learn a lot about other cultures and traditions while sharing your own experiences.


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