A culture of belonging: NTT DATA honors National Coming Out Day

  • October 11, 2023

The term “come out” while simplistic in saying it, is far from that. National Coming Out Day always serves as a self-reflection into my journey. I wasn't openly out until my mid-twenties, and professionally that didn’t happen for me until I was thirty years old. The only reason I chose to come out at work was because I was pregnant. My employer at the time and colleagues threw me a baby shower, and I had grown tired of everyone saying how excited me and my husband must be. While I was indeed excited, my husband wasn't because he didn't exist. Yet I didn't feel comfortable disclosing that I had a wife. I kept no pictures on my desk; I used they/them pronouns when discussing what my wife and I had done over the weekend, and every ounce of hiding took a toll on me. I struggled for many years with my identity, and by this point in my life I was happy and being my true authentic self. Keeping quiet at work made me feel closeted and eventually made my place of work unbearable.

Fast forward months later, after the birth of my daughter and maternity leave, I decided I was no longer hiding the life I had built for myself. The first thing I did was put a picture of myself, my wife and newborn on my desk. As my coworkers would pass through, they'd ask who that other woman in the photo was. As I answered each question, each day felt like a coming out of sorts. I found it to be freeing at first, and then the dread would set in as I noticed the watercooler talk had become non-existent since my coming out at work. I was no longer getting invited out to lunch, happy hours or even work events. I tried not to think the worst and I was a new mom, so my time was at a premium. I cast my gut feelings aside and three months later I was let go.

I tell my story not to place blame on anyone, but to shed light on the importance of days like National Coming Out Day and what it means to work for a company that celebrates all their employees, because we are people first. This is the first company that I didn't need to hide any part of myself and realized that being gay is only a subset of who I am. I often joke that the least interesting thing about me is my sexual orientation. I am a full person who enjoys sporting events, coaching my daughter in all sports, traveling and many other activities, and here at NTT DATA, I get to be celebrated for all of it.

Employee Resources Groups (ERGs) like PRIDE and the many others we offer here at NTT DATA do an amazing job not only showcasing our company's diversity, but also giving us opportunities to lift each other up. We celebrate our differences as much as our wins. NTT DATA and the PRIDE ERG is a community that I’m proud to be a part of. There are many opportunities to get involved, and we’re lucky to work at a place that believes whole-heartedly in the messaging we advocate for. This October 11, please join PRIDE in celebrating National Coming Out Day.

Activists Richard Eichberg and Jean O'Leary startedNational Coming Out Day in 1988. The date of October 11 was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the second major National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987, which is considered a pivotal event in the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Learn more about PRIDE at NTT DATA.

Subscribe to our blog

Jackie Guas

Jackie Guas is a Sales Executive within Commercial Industries and a member of multiple Employee Resource Groups at NTT DATA. She’s a New Jersey native who graduated with a degree in Marketing from Rutgers University. She’s also a former collegiate softball player who enjoys all things sports, traveling and being a volunteer firefighter. She still lives in New Jersey with her daughter Madison and their Pitbull Halligan. Her pronouns are she/her.


Related Blog Posts