Stories and Viewpoints

My Pride Connection: A Journey of Acceptance

June 22, 2021

By Paul Feuerman, General Counsel, Japan, Australia and New Zealand

 

My connection to Pride goes back to my very early years. As a boy of 9 or 10, I had to deal with being judged for what some people perceived me to be, without them taking any time to get to know me for who I was. While I did not have the words to articulate it at that time, my connection to Pride was driven by my fundamental drive for self-respect, self-acceptance, and self-preservation.


I realized early on that what truly distinguished me from my peers is that most of them did not seem to be spending any time at all worrying about how to present themselves, how they would be perceived, or who was judging them for just being themselves.


As a teenager, I came to understand that to truly occupy my place in the world I would have to be discerning about whose opinions I value, and whose judgment really mattered - particularly, the circumstances in which I would place someone else’s opinion or judgment over my own.


The road to self-acceptance has had its twists and turns; I would be less than fully honest to say otherwise. Along the journey, I have come to learn to use others’ negative energies as fuel for my own strength. A battle I might have turned from early on is one I take on now, armed and anchored by my convictions.


The challenges I faced nurtured my sense of empathy. I accept that the side of a person shown to us is just one aspect of that being, that each of us has our battles, our vulnerabilities, our fundamental humanity.


I also fully recognize that I can speak of my connection to Pride from a place of privilege, in a time and place where I will not be imprisoned or executed for being myself. Others are living under circumstances where this sort of privilege can only be dreamt about, silently.


I joined Mylan as an out gay man, and I found it to be an accepting workplace where everyone is evaluated by the same criteria: one’s work product and work ethic. Here we are now, as part of Viatris, each of us with a role in shaping our collective culture. That the Viatris executive management team took on as one of their fundamental initiatives the formation of Employee Resource Groups, and included the LGBTQ+ group as one of the formative ERGs, speaks volumes about our company’s genuine commitment to inclusion and diversity. With pride, I serve as one of the Tri-Chairs of this inaugural LGBTQ+ ERG.


Each of us has a key role in fostering inclusion and diversity: Be your authentic self and create an environment around you where others can be their authentic selves, with pride. #VisabilityatViatris

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