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Making the invisible visible in the workplace

August 1, 2023
Brian Kim
Brian Kim

Lead Associate, Strategy Enablement & Reporting

I remember the excitement of attending my first Pride celebration in San Francisco and that euphoria quickly fading to anxiety as I thought about returning to work on Monday. I dreaded having to lie to co-workers about my weekend and concealing a part of my identity in the workplace.

The reasons for this feeling of dread were plenty: working someplace that lacked employee discrimination protection policies; self-doubt; unfounded homophobic fears and misperceptions of drag culture; growing up in an Asian American household where talking about sexual orientation and gender identity was taboo; and lack of representation of queer Asian American icons with whom I could relate to.

At that time in my early professional career, I felt it was simply easier to remain invisible. Being both queer and an ethnic minority, I thought that no one would be able to see the world the way that I did.

However, several years later, I discovered the term “intersectionality,” coined by civil rights advocate and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to address the marginalization uniquely experienced by Black women in the corporate world. Intersectionality acknowledges that every individual has their own experiences with oppression, whether due to their race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or other identity markers.

It was through this intersectional lens that I started to feel a stronger connection to the broader LGBTQ+ community and empowered to be visible at work, not just for myself but also for other marginalized individuals. We all have our different lived experiences — and each one is valid.

When joining Fannie Mae in December 2022, I was excited to learn more about and be a part of the company’s various ERGs, including Live Openly, and commitment to achieving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. The company has continued to make strides to make the invisible visible through the recent expansion of a self-ID program to better provide resources and programs that support under-represented groups and by sponsoring the Washington, D.C. Capital Pride Parade, with over 75 employees and their friends and family members marching in the parade.

That’s why I couldn’t be more proud to be part of Fannie Mae, a company that makes me feel safe in being my authentic self.

“We have to be visible. We are not ashamed of who we are.”

— Sylvia Rivera, American gay liberation and transgender rights activist

I hope you’ll join us to learn about what role you can play in standing up for marginalized communities and ensuring that we all can bring our full selves to work.

Learn more about working with us.

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