Hi, my name is Mark Lloyd and I run the University Recruiting Program here at Tenable. I’m also gay.
Being able to make this statement in a public forum, much less at my place of employment, is something that wouldn’t have been feasible for me 10 years ago. So, when people asked me what my experience working at Tenable is like being part of the LGBTQ+ community, it prompted me to take stock of where we are as a company and what Tenable is doing to support me and other members of my community.
Before addressing this question, I think it’s important to set the stage, so to speak, with regard to what Pride is even about. Everyone sees the pictures of revelers at parades, companies throwing their support behind LGBTQ+ causes and organizations, and let’s not forget the MULTITUDE of rainbows on…well, just about everything. What not everyone knows is WHY we celebrate and what we’re commemorating. A brief select history:
1924 – The Society of Human Rights is founded in Chicago, the first documented gay rights organization.
1952 – The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual lists homosexuality as a “sociopathic personality disturbance.”
1953 – President Eisenhower signs an executive order banning homosexuals from working for the federal government.
1969 – Police raid the Stonewall Inn in New York City (a known underground gay bar), a violent encounter involving bar patrons, the police, and scores of area residents. This was the tipping point.
1970 – Community members in New York City march through the local streets to recognize the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, often considered the first gay pride parade.
What followed the events at the Stonewall Inn has been a slow march toward equality for members of the LGBTQ+ community, marked by victories along the way. Victories such as Harvey Milk being the first openly gay man elected to public office in San Francisco in 1978, and a litany of legal decisions supporting non-discrimination policies, all culminating in the national legalization of gay marriage some 45 years later in 2015. THIS is why we celebrate.
There is still work to be done, however, and that work continues to this day. For example, there are 17 states where a person can be fired simply for being part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Now that I’ve set the stage … what does it mean to be a Tenable employee and part of this community? One of the most important things I look for in a company is the ability to bring my “whole self” to work every day. Feeling comfortable putting a picture of my partner and me on my desk, being authentic in my communications with co-workers, even communicating on Slack with Ru Paul’s Drag Race GIFs. It seems trite, but for this community of people…it is everything.
Tenable offers me this freedom and feeling of comfort. The month of June is traditionally regarded as Pride month across the nation, and appropriately, a group of LGBTQ+ employees and allies has formed an employee resource group, Pride at Tenable, to support community members and offer a sense of community and inclusion to those who identify with the community or support it. With the support of the company's Diversity & Inclusion Council, we have launched a Pride at Tenable Slack channel, built a Pride at Tenable employee resource page (stocked with resources for the community as well as ways to get involved/volunteer) and Tenable is sponsoring the inaugural Howard County Pride Festival on June 29 at Centennial Park here in our home base of Columbia, MD.
This is what it’s like for me to be gay and work for Tenable. It’s empowering, it’s feeling supported, it’s knowing that WHOEVER I am, I am accepted and valued for my diverse thoughts and opinions. Not only do I have Pride at Tenable, I have pride IN Tenable.
Coming out at work
Seven LGBTQ+ tech groups to know about
Out and Equal — a nonprofit devoted to workplace equality
Six ways to be a better straight ally at Pride events