Celebrating Pride Month with Brittany Dyer
As Pride Month comes to a close for 2021, we are so grateful to hear from our Velocity team members who volunteered to share their personal experiences in coming out and what it means to them to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Coming out stories are deeply personal and very emotional. As we continue to hear from our colleagues, you will see every story shared is a unique journey, and no two are alike.
Our next and final story in our “Celebrating Pride Month” series comes from Brittany Dyer, Printer Repair Technician who joined Velocity in 2014.
Can you share what it was like for you to come out to your parents and immediate family? Emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc.
Coming out was different just about every time I did it — and anxiety was high every time. In the beginning, my mom refused to listen or believe me about it for a long time. The first time I tried to talk with her, I was about fifteen years old, and she just blew it off. Years later, when I was around twenty-two years old, my mom tried to tell me that I was wrong and what I was telling her was untrue. Finally, when I decided to transition at the age of thirty-one, I told her this is the way it was going to be — and if she couldn’t accept it, I was going to have to cut her out of my life. Although my mom disagrees with it, she is trying so that she doesn’t lose our relationship.
I originally came out to my fiancé as a crossdresser. She thought transitioning was weird at first. However, through time I eased her into it all — and she has accepted it. Some of my family just accepted it and have never had an issue with it. For instance, my stepdaughter, the only thing she cared about was that I wasn’t wearing her clothes behind her back, and she was upset that I didn’t come to her for makeup lessons. I also have an adopted daughter who came into my life about two years ago, and we’ve bonded as mother and daughter. She knows about my past and my transition, but none of that matters. I am just mom to her.
Through all of this, I have learned your DNA does not make a family. Love does. There are people in life that choose to stand by you and love you that become your family. It’s not only the ones that were born with the same DNA.
Is there something about how your parents handled or took the news about you coming out that you wish they would have done differently? What advice would give a parent whose child is coming out?
I wish my mom would have listened to me. For six years or so, I came out to her three or four times. I was left feeling that if I wanted to live a happy life the way I needed to, I would have to walk away from everyone and everything I cared about. The best piece of advice I can give anyone is to understand that your children may be young, but they know deep down who they are. Listen to them with an open mind and help them.
Can you share a situation(s) subtle or apparent that you’ve had to face as an LGBTQ person at work or outside of work?
I have people confront me about whether I am using the correct bathroom. This issue has happened in many different states across the country, and it leaves me feeling scared for my life. I do not understand why people feel the need to say something. They have been sharing a restroom with transgender people their whole lives. It seems that now that transgender rights and the rights of so many others are in the news, people feel the need to speak up about it.
Like everybody else, we are just using the bathroom. We know which one we are in. We would not be there if that were not the one we were supposed to be using. Just because somebody does not fit into what is considered to be “normal” does not mean that we are there to cause trouble.
Can you share a professional/personal situation where you felt supported and understood and could be your authentic self as an LGBTQ person?
When I first started my transition, my manager, Todd, accepted me for who I was. He has never once judged me to this day, and he has always been there for me with an open ear and words of support. I have no clue how many times I have been in his office over the past 6 years, struggling, yet every time he has been a support for me and helped me get through it.
What does an ally mean to you?
An ally is someone who is always there and has your back when you need them. An ally is a friend who never judges you because of your sexual orientation or anything else. I have at least one such friend, and when her children came out as gender non-conforming, she accepted them. She has done everything she can to support them, just like she has for me from the beginning.
Describe a situation where an ally spoke up for you? And what are some ways others can support/speak up and become an ally?
If you see someone being harassed for any reason, step in and help them. Even to this day, discrimination is very real. When people do not step up and stop it, it will continue to happen. It will always be a thing unless people put a stop to it.
What does Pride Month mean to you? What inspires you to be you?
What really helped me to be me was my grandmother. She was always true to herself, and she always stood up for what she believed in. When my grandmother passed away in 2014, I realized that she would have wanted me to be true to myself, to be who I am, and stop living a lie. I still wish to this day that she could have met this better version of myself.
For those looking to learn more and support the LGBTQ+ community, do you recommend any groups, movies, TED Talks, books, etc.?
There are a ton of resources out there. The internet is a wonderful resource. When I was about eighteen, one of my co-workers at the time was a trans woman. She was pretty open about her life, but I didn’t want to ask her “dumb” questions or come across the wrong way when we spoke at work every day. So, I went online and started looking for answers to my questions. There is so much more information available now than there was twenty years ago.
As for movies, the movie “The Danish Girl” really hit close to home for me. It gives a good representation of life for trans people.
How can Velocity be more inclusive and support its LGBTQ+ team members? What can/should other companies be doing?
Keep communication open and keep these topics out in the open. The more visible they are, the more people will see they are accepted — and more people will feel comfortable coming forward. I am willing to talk to anyone and answer any questions that I can. I may not have all the answers, but I can share what I know and my experiences. Please feel free to reach out.
Thank you, Brittany, for sharing your inspiring story with us. We’re incredibly proud of you and all of our Velocity team members.
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to hear from a handful of our courageous team members who willingly shared their voices and their journeys with us. Velocity is dedicated to being a place of inclusiveness and an environment where all of our team members feel comfortable being themselves and supported. Let’s continue to celebrate, educate and share the history of Pride this month and every month.
Listed below are resources to better acquaint yourself with organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community:
It Gets Better Project – focuses on retelling the stories of LGBTQ+ members who may have had similar issues coming out.
OutRight Action International – is the only LGBTQ+ organization that has a presence in the United Nations. They fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ members around the world.
GLAAD – for over thirty years, GLAAD has been at the forefront of cultural change, accelerating acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. Learn how you can become a friend and ally.
Human Rights Campaign – ensures that all LGBTQ people, particularly trans, people of color, and HIV+, are treated as full and equal citizens within the movement, across our country, and around the world.
The Trevor Project – is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.