LGBTQ & Ally Voices of MiQ is an interview series that’s part of our Pride celebrations. In this blog, we’ll hear from MiQ people who are in different roles, in different countries, with different experiences. They’ll tell us about their story, how they’re celebrating Pride and what it means to them. This is just one of the ways we’re supporting the LGBTQ+ community and raising awareness. It reflects how far society has come, but how far we still need to go.
Name: Carol Fernandes
Pronouns: They / she
Role: Product analyst
What was your first Pride experience and what does Pride mean to you?
I was at uni in New Zealand when I had my first Pride experience. It was a huge party, with people singing, dancing and performing on the road. Alcohol was even given out on the streets and there were cops to make sure we were safe. I had the best time ever! To me, Pride means freedom of expression and being whatever you want to me – all without being judged.
What do you find inspirational about Pride month?
The fact that it’s the one time of the year when we get recognition as a community. People within society see and hear about our issues.
Who is your favorite LGBTQ+ celebrity?
Ru Paul. The first time I stumbled upon his show I was instantly obsessed!
What messages do you hear about LGBTQ+ people in your daily life, and from your family, friends and colleagues?
I live in India, and it doesn’t get spoken about. People would rather act like we don’t exist and avoid the discussion. I came out to my parents and even though it was kind of positive, we still don’t talk about it.
How will you be getting involved with Pride this year?
I’ll be more vocal with my family and my friends. I want them to be aware of the issues and hardships we face, and I want to educate them about things they don’t know.
How have allies supported you in the past?
When it comes to family issues or anywhere where I felt out of place, my siblings and friends have always supported me.
What advice do you wish you had growing up and what would you say to a young LGBTQ+ person now?
To just be yourself, explore the world and all the lovely possibilities. You may feel out of place right now, but with time, you will find yourself and love yourself deeply.