Recent U.S. protests against continued injustice serve as ever-present reminders that we must do more in the fight for equality for all under-represented groups. We continue to honor and stand with those fighting for change.
At Wingstop, we live by The Wingstop Way. Our value of inclusion is top-of-mind and we are spotlighting some of our rockstar team members who bring their true selves to work every day.
This week, Sandi Doer, Learning Implementation Specialist, and Preston Webber, Training Content & Media Designer, sat down with us to discuss what LGBTQ+ Pride means to them! Join us as we honor the diverse backgrounds and experiences that they bring to the table.
What does Pride mean to you?
Preston: To me, Pride is living without a front. It’s walking through life being your 100% most authentic self without the fear of being rejected, ridiculed, or otherwise mistreated based solely on who you love or where gender you fall on the gender spectrum. Pride means loving fiercely while standing up to injustices of all kinds. It’s learning about our history and paying respect to those before us who paved the way to where we are today. Pride means coming together, hand in hand, and demanding that LGBTQ+ people are held in the same regard as everyone else.
Sandi: Standing up for those you love and appreciating all that has been done by others allowing me to live my true authentic self.
What are some adversities in the workplace that you have had to overcome and how did you do it?
Preston: This is an area where I recognize my privilege. I can’t say I have really experienced any adversities related to being a gay person that have hindered me professionally. I do believe that this is because I am a white man. I think that my experiences in this area boil down to the expectation that my sexual orientation is my entire identity, and that I will behave according to such stereotypes. I think this is something that I will continue to overcome through my performance, achievements, and most importantly, my relationships with others in the workplace.
Sandi: I’ve had negative conversations regarding the legitimacy of my marriage, having to navigate benefits language and having to provide proof of my marriage and children’s adoption is often time consuming and frustrating. Allowing people who have a difference of opinion the opportunity to get to know you goes a long way to changing someone’s perspective. Fortunately, the world has changed for the better with the Supreme Court passing marriage legalization in 2015, and national work place laws in 2020.
Who are some LGBTQ+ leaders you look up to?
Preston: I wasn’t exposed in my day-to-day life to anybody LGBTQ+ while I was a child, that I can recall, so I have always looked up to LGBTQ+ people in the media, particularly Lady Gaga. When she stepped onto the scene when I was 16 years old and closeted, she showed me that letting the queer part of my identity shine is a beautiful, freeing thing. In adulthood I very highly respect the contributions of Marsha P. Johnson, a trans woman of color, who had a huge hand in the Stonewall riots that have led us to the rights we have today. Also, being a drag queen, I look up to other drag queens with large platforms who use them to facilitate positive change in the world, like Phi Phi O’Hara, Willam, Alaska, and Shea Coulee.
Sandi: I admire people who are willing to speak up for themselves and pave the way for others; Edith Windsor, Harvey Milk, Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Knapp are people whose bravery and fortitude I admire.
What D&I initiatives has Wingstop taken to ensure LGBTQ+ voices are heard?
Preston: Wingstop is working to create an inclusive environment, starting with an official stance of intolerance of discrimination of any kind. Also, Wingstop is encouraging LGBTQ+ people to use their voice. I find great value in a culture that is making the effort to feature not only LGBTQ+ voices, but the voices of women and people of color as well.
Sandi: Wingstop acknowledging pride Month is year was a first and that effort was very appreciated. Over the past three years, I have worked for Wingstop and seen firsthand the change in the culture to be more accepting and inclusive. I have a very positive outlook that the shift will only get bigger and better in the time to come.
What advice do you have for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace?
Preston: Live the most authentic way you can and bring your whole self to work. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community isn’t your entire identity, but it definitely is an important part of it. Your background and experiences as an LGBTQ+ individual are valuable and just might help you. I find that work is less difficult, and you get a better final product when you’re not worrying about holding up a front. That, and if something is done or said that you feel is discriminatory, speak up and encourage education. Only then can change truly happen.
Sandi: Be you and stand up and speak up if necessary. You are entitled to be accepted and appreciated for who you are.