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June 1, 2022

Pride Month 2022: Embracing LGBTQ+ Pride at Ansys

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate LGBTQ+ voices and culture, as well as activism in support of equal rights. On June 28, 1969, during a police raid of a gay bar in New York City, patrons decided to fight back in what is now known as the Stonewall Uprising. Pride Month emerged from this event as a time of celebration and activism featuring parades, protests, drag performances, theater, along with memorials and celebrations of life for those lost to HIV/AIDS.

pride flags

I am an LGBTQ+ ally and have been the executive sponsor of the Ansys Pride Alliance employee resource group (ERG) since it was formed in 2020. This is important to me because I have witnessed firsthand the challenges family members and friends have faced being part of this community. The courage they show on a day-to-day basis to live their lives openly and truthfully is inspiring to me. They motivate me to be more open and understanding, and to encourage others to do the same.

One of the biggest challenges LGBTQ+ people face in an office environment is being able to bring their whole selves to work and talk about their lives openly and honestly, without editing who they are. For many in the community, sharing details of their personal identity and lives can leave them feeling vulnerable. These feelings cause self-editing out of a concern for self-preservation. As you can imagine, this can be draining.

At Ansys, we know diversity and inclusion make our company stronger. We recognize that everybody has traveled a different path and is able to offer different perspectives and shared life experiences that are valuable in meeting our customers where they are, and as a team tackling some of the largest product challenges. To me, growing and celebrating diversity at Ansys, whether it be through the Pride Alliance, Black Employee Network, Women in Technology, or any of our other ERGs, will only make us stronger.

Ansys Pride Alliance

The overarching purpose of the Ansys Pride Alliance is to create a safe space and active network for the LGBTQ+ community at Ansys. The group holds inclusive events throughout the year to explore the issues and unique experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, questioning, and nonconforming people.

Here are few of our activities from this past year:

  • Putting the B in LGBTQ+. In February, the Pride Alliance hosted our second Conversation Café event. The focus was bisexual pride. We discussed topics such as bi invisibility and the stigmas bisexual people face when coming out. As a precursor to this event, participants listened to this 30-minute NPR podcast on the subject.
  • Safe Zone Training: Ansys employees have the opportunity to take the Safe Zone Project’s self-guided foundational training. It provides insight into vocabulary, issues, answers to common questions, and tips for dealing with a variety of scenarios involving LGBTQ+ co-workers, students, and peers. Ansys employees who have successfully completed this course can be added to our Talk to Someone page as a safe person to reach out to at work.
Ansys pride alliance leaders

Gilles Eggenspieler, director of the Global Academic Program Channel and Alex Moon, supervisor of Sales and Order Operations, are both Ansys Pride Alliance Leaders. Here they are meeting for the first time in person in April 2022.

  • Charitable donation to Lesbian Organization Rijeka (LORI): The Pride Alliance announced they will make a charitable donation of $10,000 to the Croatian charity LORI, which works to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people in Croatia.
  • oSTEM announces two $5,000 Ansys scholarships: The Pride Alliance is supporting two scholarships this year. The criteria were structured by our Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (oSTEM) lead Gilles Eggenspieler and Talent Acquisition manager Nicole Haley. To be considered, applicants will give their perspective on how simulation makes a positive impact on people’s lives, society, and/or the world.
  • Recruitment: The Pride Alliance helps Ansys in recruiting underrepresented talent. We grow Ansys’ professional network by connecting with LGBTQ+ organizations and engaging with external educators and speakers.
  • ”Coming Out in the Workplace” video:  As part of our Coming Out Day celebration this past fall, we asked for video submissions about coming out in the workplace and being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. We are excited to share the result of that effort, which has taken the form of a trailer highlighting the positive community our ERG provides and how everyone at Ansys can bring their full self to work.

Pride Month 2022 kicked off early at Ansys with inspirational speaker Jacqui Lloyd, Senior Vice President and Apprenticeship Lead at Citi Bank, as well as games, contests, and social events. I’m incredibly proud of our Pride Alliance ERG. I'm also grateful to work at a company that is supportive of these efforts and those of other traditionally underrepresented people.

As we celebrate Pride Month, I continue to think about what more we can do to break down barriers and remove the negativity and misunderstanding around the LGBTQ+ community. I believe we have only scratched the surface of what can be done. Too many people around the world — our friends, colleagues, even perhaps family members — continue to live in fear, just like those patrons of the Stonewall Inn. And like those patrons, we must all have the courage to speak out and support others when we see injustice in our world.  

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