Every year during the month of June, the world comes together to uplift LGBTQ+ communities across the globe – diverse, beautiful, and unique in our struggles and our identities. To celebrate Pride Month 2020, RV’s LGBTQ+ teammates are sharing their narratives through our new “Love Letters” series.
Each piece in the series will focus on the power of the letters across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and how they shape our perception of ourselves and others.
Let’s use this Pride Month to love openly, learn proactively, and listen intentionally to our brave RV peers who are welcoming us into this important conversation with vulnerability and celebration.
Richard Jordan (pronouns: he/him) is a director on our Bankrate team. He’s been working at our Charlotte headquarters for a year and a half, and he’s an active leader of our We ARE Pride employee resource group. Richard identifies as gay, and has bravely shared a piece of his Pride story with us.
Q: Tell us a bit about your coming out story.
A: Coming out was (of course) not easy. I’ve been more comfortable being in the gray area and didn’t mind people wondering what they wanted to. Growing up, I played many sports, participated in many heteronormative activities, and was even a cadet at The Citadel–a South Carolina military college where I was the Student Body President. But ultimately, after college, I came to a space in my life where I became a completely different person as I continued trying to conceal who I really am.
I was mean to my friends, disconnected from my family and just flat out unhappy. Before this time in my life, my friends and family knew me as a big, goofy, always-smiling, friendly and kind person who enjoyed being surrounded by those close to me. That routine motivation to conceal is what changed me. The motivation to conceal was driven by fear–the fear that I would lose my friends, family, my core values and everything I’d worked hard to build–when in reality, that motivation to conceal was what led me to those losses.
I remember one day waking up at age 25, staring at the ceiling of my bedroom, thinking about everything leading up to that point in my life: the avenues I could go down to rediscover my happiness, and the realization that if I continued to push further away from who I really was, I would ultimately never be happy. Shortly afterward, I took the plunge and told my family, then friends and now my coworkers. Finding my normal again has allowed me to build a deeper relationship with my family and friends, and also allowed me to find a true and awesome relationship with my partner of 4 years, Chad.
Q: What has your relationship with your label/orientation been like in relation to your work environment (past or present)?
A: RV was the first place I truly brought my entire self to work as an openly gay man. When deciding where I wanted to move my career, it was important that I found a place where I felt comfortable enough to do so. RV encourages a sense of forward thinking that I knew would allow me to really be myself. The output of doing this has been tremendous for me–I’ve felt more productive, connected to my team and peers and excited by where my career can go. All of this has motivated me to help make others in my shoes see, front and center, that this is a place where you can be yourself and where you’ll be supported along the way.
Q: If you could, what would you tell your younger self about your LGBTQIA+ identity?
A: You don’t have to be perfect and happiness is more important.
There is no clear definition of gay.
Q: What advice would you offer to someone who wants to ask questions and learn about different identities?
A: If you want to learn more about different identities, feel free to ask your questions in the best way you know how. We don’t know everything, but we’re happy to know you’re interested in learning more!
And also, don’t be afraid to wear glitter during the month of June–everyone is a little gay this month.
Keep the Pride celebration going strong–check out the first piece of our Love Letters series here.