June 2020

Pride at Tiedemann Advisors

At Tiedemann Advisors, we are reflecting on Pride a little differently this year. There won’t be actual parades and parties, but there will be time for self-reflection and acknowledgment that so much hate, bigotry and violence still exists in our country and around the world, and that Black and Transgender people and all marginalized groups still face systemic injustice and discrimination. We are acknowledging all that is missing within our organization and industry, as well as our society. As a gay man, I may not have had insurmountable struggles in my professional life, but I do know what it is like to not bring my whole self to work and what it feels like to be explicitly and implicitly counseled to do so in order to succeed.

My own first memories of Pride were of huge celebrations, and being part of something louder and wilder and more colorful than I would ever be – but nonetheless, being part of a community and accepted and celebrated in a way I never could have imagined while growing up. Having moved to New York City at eighteen to attend NYU and being white and not especially “different,” being gay had not presented many hurdles for me. As a young gay man in my 20’s and 30’s, I did not often focus on the brutality, hate, bigotry and discrimination that all gay and transgender people faced in every facet of their lives not that many years before the celebrations I was attending for Pride. Certainly, there was protest and activism during the worst of the AIDS Crisis, but Pride still usually included a sense of accomplishment, that so much has and had been done. As the years went by, Pride continued to be for me a celebration of more accomplishments and acceptance and inclusion, including marriage equality.

This year we must remember that Stonewall was a riot, a protest against all of those indignities and systemic inequities, exclusion and injustice. The first Pride Parade 50 years ago (on the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising), known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, was a protest. Academic Esteban Munoz called “queerness” “that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing.” That missing something for gay people has historically been acceptance, valuing our different lives and voices, and true equity and inclusion. For some of us in the LGBTQ community, we have been given some of those things that had been missing; for so many others within the gay community around the world, the Black community and other marginalized groups, those things are indeed still missing.

It reminds me that that this Pride Month should not be about corporate statements, sponsorships, colorful celebrations or a feeling that we are done and accepted and all is okay; Pride needs to be about acknowledging what is missing for so many, and listening, learning, empathizing and acting. This year at Tiedemann, we are investing in companies through an equity lens, donating to organizations that contribute to meaningful change, and welcoming and valuing every voice among us through inclusive hiring, mentoring, management, promotion and compensation practices. And, very importantly, acknowledging that Black lives matter and Black voices should be heard among us. Because until Black lives matter, something is missing for every one of our LGBTQ colleagues within our firm and industry…and for all of us.

Craig Smith
Tiedemann Advisors

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