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Celebrating International Pride Month

PokerStars are delighted to celebrate and support Pride Month, standing in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ Community.

To show our support, our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) committee has put together an information hub for employees to learn more about the history of Pride and enjoy fun quizzes and content.

We will also be hosting Pride-themed webinar sessions and staff poker tournaments, and offering exclusive poker lessons to our people.

As we celebrate International LGBTQ+ Pride Month and look to the future, our focus as an employer is on remembering the importance of conversations about institutionalized discrimination and translating our commitments into real actions for our colleagues.

Throughout this month, we’re also focused on amplifying our people’s perspectives, both as allies and through lived experience. We caught up with four incredible employees on what Pride means to them:

Greg McCaw – Group Diversity Inclusion Director – Leeds, UK:

“Pride month is an opportunity for us to remember the progress that campaigners over the decades have brought about for the LGBTQ+ community. However, it’s also time to reflect and think about how much we still need to do.

As someone who identifies as gay, it matters to me that employers translate their commitments to action so that LGBTQ+ people worldwide continue to get the help, progress and change we need to feel safe enough to be our true selves.

I am committed to working with my colleagues to help to create a culture across our organisation that creates safe spaces for people like me to share their experiences, and to listen, learn and act when we can and should be doing more.

We stand with the LGBTQ+ community worldwide and against hate in all its forms. Coming out was a life-defining moment for me because for years I’d been bullied into silence by society. I do not want workplaces where people feel that day in, day out, they have to present a different version of themselves. It’s exhausting. We need upstanders and allies all year round to make sure we can meet our vision to create a place where you can be yourself.”

 

Eva Rojas – Operations Area Manager, EU CSO – Saint Julian’s Malta:

“To be inclusive means to respect and appreciate people in our differences, empowering everyone to be who they are. Love, friendship, camaraderie, collaboration, support, empathy means that we are able to share our uniqueness with ourselves and with the world.

Inclusion helps us remove biases in our quest for equity, empowerment and opportunities for all – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin. Then, diversity allows us to explore our differences in a way that is nurturing and positive.

In environments that push for the ‘one-size-fits-all’ or the ‘one winner’ mentality – how can we be ourselves and all of us be winners? It is possible but takes investment and hard work to get there.

For me these are key elements. As an individual, I need to invest time and energy in being the person I want to be so that I can recognise and respect others as well. As a leader, I’m not only responsible for providing the right environment and key learnings for myself but also I must create and facilitate the same environment for everyone around me.”

 

Justin Schnare – Graphic Artist and Animator CO-OP, Poker Graphics – Toronto, Canada:

“To me, pride is a matter of standing up against erasure. It is about finding your tribe. It’s about reconciling your struggles with who you are today and being proud of the adversity you’ve overcome to claim what means more to you than most – your identity.

Pride in my own life is how I show a friendly face to those who may be silenced, so they may know that it is only temporary. Pride welcomes everybody and discounts no story. Pride is both a process of healing as well as a celebration.

Diversity and inclusivity in the workplace have always been of the utmost importance to me. Having overcome unjust adversity and discrimination throughout my professional life, I have come to understand the importance of visibility and clear communication within an organization.

I’m thankful for the DIB committee because they have given me an opportunity to build a platform for other employees to reach out and feel safe in their identity.”

 

Barbara Capelli – Operations Insights Analyst – Dublin, Ireland:

“To me, Pride is about unconditional love. It’s about support and acceptance. It’s beyond anything that most of us will ever feel in our whole lives. It’s something to be cherished and looked up to. And to me, that’s why it needs support, not just from within the community, but support from everyone else too.

I’m heterosexual, but that doesn’t mean I cannot fight for homosexual rights. I’m not black, but that doesn’t mean I cannot fight against racism. I’m not a mother, but that doesn’t mean I cannot fight for parental rights in the workplace. I’m alive now, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t fight for a better future.

When I first started working here, I was amazed by the human tapestry of different nationalities and cultures. I’m proud to see DIB help break our borders and bring us even closer together.

In my opinion, knowing more about other people and other cultures gives us an edge through empathy and makes us better people. This is all I want, really, to be a better version of myself in hopes that that contributes to a better, more accepting world.”