Celebrating Pride Month with Nancy Pedelose
In honor of Pride Month, a handful of our employees volunteered to share their personal experiences in coming out and what it means to them to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout the month, we will hear from four of our Velocity team members who are proud to share their stories. Coming out stories are deeply personal and very emotional. Every story shared is a unique journey, and no two are alike.
Our next story in our “Celebrating Pride Month” series comes from Nancy Pedelose, a senior agent, hospitality support team member who joined Velocity in 2019.
Can you share what it was like for you to come out to your parents and immediate family? Emotions, thoughts, feelings, etc.
When I told my mom that I was gay, she just started to cry. It made me sad telling her who I was made her feel that way. We were all brought up to believe that if you were gay, it was wrong. My mom accepts my partner and me as best as she can. I know she loves me and wants the best for me, but she still doesn’t believe it is right to be gay. I was going to be in my sister’s wedding, but when she found out I was gay, I was uninvited to her wedding. We did not talk for several years. We talk now but never about that. The rest of my family does not say anything about it.
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 could be OK with it. My mom is the most important person to me — she is my best friend.
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?
When I was in my early twenties, I worked for a place that I liked. There was an older woman there that I became friends with, and I talked to her about a lot of things. One day I came into work, and my supervisor told me that she had to let me go. The woman who I thought was a friend went to her and told her I was coming on to her. I was not. I thought we were friends and sharing details of our lives. I was very hurt and upset that I lost my job over something that was untrue.
When I think back to that time, I would have stuck up from myself and reported it to upper management. This incident happened during the time of the Matthew Shepard attack, who was a victim of an anti-gay hate crime. It scared many people in the LGBTQ+ community — and still does to this day for many that live in communities that do not support LGBTQ+ people.
Can you share a professional/personal situation where you felt supported and understood and could be your authentic self as an LGBTQ person?
I would say at a previous workplace. My supervisor knew I was gay, and she had a best friend who was gay — so there were no issues there. I could talk to her about any issues that came up, and she was very supportive of me and my life. When my dad passed away, she came to his service, which meant the world to me.
What does an ally mean to you?
Someone who supports you as a whole person. Someone you can be open and honest with.
Describe a situation where an ally spoke up for you? And what are some ways others can support/speak up and become an ally?
When my job was eliminated, and I was let go after eight and a half years of service, my supervisor, whom I respected, tried to keep me. She told management that I was a much better employee than some of my peers, and she would like me to keep my job. However, they didn’t listen.
Whenever someone sees someone being wronged, they should speak up for someone who is being mistreated.
What does Pride Month mean to you? What inspires you to be you?
I am inspired by others who have had complicated journeys and come out on a positive side. Pride Month is OK, but really, we shouldn’t have to have Pride Month. We should celebrate our differences and embrace our connections every month.
What are you most proud of as an LGBTQ person? What do you hope others take away from Pride Month?
I took part in gathering a group for a winter getaway and supporting other LGBTQ+ events. I hope more people learn and get to know LGBTQ+ people. Support is important — and for LGBTQ+ people to know they are not alone.
I would like people to understand that LGBTQ+ people do not just “come out” once. We have to come out to everyone we meet, which can be exhausting and traumatic. Sharing this information and making new friendships or connections at work are approached with caution because there’s always the possibility of someone finding out, and the friendship could end.
For those looking to learn more and support the LGBTQ+ community, do you recommend any groups, movies, TED Talks, books, etc.?
I do not have ties to the community anymore. It’s hard to know of any groups that you can join. There is just not enough information. I used to go to this bookstore that was LGBTQ-owned and operated. Unfortunately, the store ended up closing, and I have not found another like it. I would like to hear from others to gather more information and resources.
How can Velocity be more inclusive and support its LGBTQ+ team members? What can/should other companies be doing?
More awareness throughout the company, meetings on Teams and/or picnics involving all groups of people to interact with each other.
Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your touching story with us. We’re extremely proud of all of our team members. We are dedicated to ensuring that Velocity is 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. Here are a few 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 30 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.