Skip to main content

Back

What Pride Means to Me: Openness and Authenticity at Work by Trevor McCann

Trevor

I am Trevor McCann (he/him), a Partner located in the Montreal office.

“Why would you work at an AIDS organization?” It was 1996, I was interviewing for an articling (trainee) position at a large law firm, and a question was being asked about the “experience” section on my CV. The implication was obviously to ask if I was gay and to suggest that to be gay would not be a good thing, at least openly. I had in fact agonized for weeks over what to include and exclude in that CV. I’d come out a handful of years earlier, at some painful cost to personal relationships, and had spent my law school years building new connections in the LGBT+ community. I could scrub my CV, take a partial step backward into the closet, and appear unengaged with life, or I could take my chances. I took my chances.

 

Things didn't work out in the interview with that law firm. In fact, I had a small number of interviews for someone with my academic profile. I began to worry that openness came at too high a price in my profession, but I did find a position where that CV and its suggestion of me being gay were accepted. Shortly after, I was officially out at work. More than a quarter century later, I very clearly recall the exhilaration of not needing to compartmentalize my existence at the office. It was a tremendous relief.

 

Most LGBTQIA+ people will tell you that coming out is an ongoing process. I may have been out at the office in the 90s but I still had lingering concerns. I was building a practice. Would being out be an impediment to client relationships? I would try to pick up cues from clients and colleagues, but their desire to be respectful of my own boundaries may have given me the impression that there was something that should be kept quiet. I came out to some, and it often led to better and more trusting relationships, but the hesitation lingered.

(Trevor and his family recently)

 

When I became a parent many years later things changed again. “And do you have kids?” is frequent introductory small talk with clients and colleagues. Confirmation inevitably led (and still leads) to “What does your wife do?” questions and yet another round of coming out. It no longer feels fraught, but I still have to manage low-level apprehension of a negative reaction. That negative reaction is rarely actually present, but facing it when it has been is empowering in its own way. Pride inducing, even.

 

So much has changed for the good at a societal level since that trainee interview 28 years ago. My hope - no, belief - is that the discussion of Pride, the visibility of LGBTQIA+ colleagues and business partners, and the proactive involvement of allies will help quiet those hesitations and apprehensions for everyone. There is so much joy and engagement to be found in openness and authenticity at work.

(Trevor and his family at the Montreal Pride Parade)

DC

What Pride Means to Me – Being a proactive ally to my LGBTQIA+ friends and family by Daniel Callaghan

What Pride Means to Me – Being a proactive ally to my LGBTQIA+ friends and family by Daniel Callaghan

Read More - What Pride Means to Me – Being a proactive ally to my LGBTQIA+ friends and family by Daniel Callaghan

JP

What Pride Means to Me – Having the courage to be your authentic self by Jade Perkins

What Pride Means to Me – Having the courage to be your authentic self by Jade Perkins

Read More - What Pride Means to Me – Having the courage to be your authentic self by Jade Perkins

Pride Month 2024 Image 2

What Pride Means to Me – Uniting as one firm by Merick Alsobrooks

What Pride Means to Me – Uniting as one firm by Merick Alsobrooks

Read More - What Pride Means to Me – Uniting as one firm by Merick Alsobrooks