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  • Writer's pictureDiego Tomasino

Time to say thanks! 🚪🌈


Thanksgiving was not a date that used to be among those that I usually celebrated. In Argentina, I barely heard of that except for some movies, and in Panama, my second home where I lived for 10 years, it was only celebrated in a few families. But since I live in the United States, this date has become something special.


Beyond the fact of celebrating together with the people who have become my family, and other friends that keep joining our lives, the amazing thing is the fact of learning to be grateful. Making gratitude a habit is something I tend to take for granted.


It is true that sometimes I can be a bit critical of the advances in inclusion and diversity issues, especially in Latin America. The anxiety of seeing a more equitable world where everyone can enjoy the same rights often gets to me. Fragile legal frameworks, laws pending approval, trans people without formal work, teenagers on the street for having come out of the closet, the guilt of feeling outside of heteronormativity, in short, lack of acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. These are just a few examples of that anxiety.


But in this moment of reflection, I decided to change my way of thinking and seeing the world. It's a time to feel grateful for being part of a community. And for that, I want to share 5 situations in which I feel totally happy and grateful for being a gay professional out of the closet.



1. It takes a village, people

Today I appreciate being part of a community that is much bigger than me. We have a shared history of struggles, successes, love, setbacks, frustrations, and tears. A story of constant learning, of breaking obsolete gender molds and patriarchal traditions. But what stands out from these years is the resilience that we have developed in every corner of the world. Today our marches are not individual, they are for each of the groups that make up the LGBTQ+ community. We cannot stop thanking all those people who have fought for our rights, those organizations that constantly seek resources to win social rights, and remember that we cannot stop doing politics until we all achieve the same rights.


2. Let´s Pride Connect

Today I am grateful for the friendships I have made since I started my activism. I still remember - back in 2015 - when I came across those people who were starting Convive Panama and we began to develop the area of business diversity in a country that, although today it does not have any pro-LGBTQ rights, has managed to foster a community that marches without fear every year in the main streets of the city. Who would have thought that this event would lead to founding Pride Connection, expanding the network to more than 40 companies and establishing ties with other Pride and Diverse Chambers in Latin America, USA, and Europe. On this journey I have met incredible people who seek to continue strengthening ties to make LGBTQ+ people more visible.


3. The privilege of having rights

Today I give thanks for the rights we conquered. I know that there is still a long way to go on issues related to the recognition of the dissidences throughout the continent. But let's take a minute to think about how far each country has advanced in social rights. Some may have already passed marriage equality, same-sex adoption, trans quotas, or gender identity laws. Others may only have the decriminalization of sodomy, or the criminalization of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. I know I am writing from the privileged place of a married white cis gay man. I know that giving thanks for something that everyone should enjoy is settling for little, it is simplistic and it could even be judged to be lacking empathy. I try every day to put those privileges into action in favor of those people who still don't have them. The point here is simply to thank all those people who, through their social and political activism, have achieved the advances that we should all enjoy.


4. The strenght of unified diversity

Today I am grateful because little by little we are removing the labels. During the last year, the issue of the intersectionality has taken the main agenda in companies that are committed to DEI practices. Generally, we tend to focus our efforts on the different edges of diverse talents: age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, functional skills, among others. Today I am seeing more and more focus on working on inclusion from intersectionality, that is, what defines a person is the interaction between two or more social factors. Identity issues such as orientation, gender, ethnicity, race, geographic location, or even age do not affect a person separately.

A simple example would be, which ERG[1] would correspond to an Afro-descendant lesbian woman? Or what would be the proper ERG for a refugee trans man? Many times, in companies you have to "choose" an ERG to be a part of, but what should companies do when we have these cases of intersectionality. It even often happens that there is a lack of communication between the different ERGs and the strength to work on diversity as a whole is lost. I like to see that this is slowly changing, and I know that we will be removing the labels soon.



5. My personal journey

Finally, today I am grateful for the learning of these years and my personal transformation. About 7 years ago I remember that one of my goals was to be able to “do something for the community”, and work on LGBTQ+ activism issues. I wanted to see how I could separate myself from my career as an accountant and getting me closer to be a Diversity Coach. That vision led me to carry out small actions, which have led me to this new and courageous career. It made me almost accidentally wanting to publish my first book “Come Out! Companies also have to come out of the closet”, to lecture in different parts of the world and to new projects arising every day, And the best part? that I continue to meet great and courageous people along the way. Thanks to all those individuals who are leaving a little bit of them in my life.



Thank you for reading this far! Thank you for spending these minutes with me.


Happy Thanksgiving!





[1] ERG – Employee Resource Group or Employee Resource Group. They seek to provide support, enhance professional development and contribute to personal development in the work environment. They traditionally focused on personality traits or characteristics of underrepresented groups, but are expanding to "interest-based" groups.

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