LGBTQ & Ally Voices of MiQ is an interview series that’s part of our Pride celebrations. In this blog, we’ll hear from MiQ people who are in different roles, in different countries, with different experiences. They’ll tell us about their story, how they’re celebrating Pride and what it means to them. This is just one of the ways we’re supporting the LGBTQ+ community and raising awareness. It reflects how far society has come, but how far we still need to go.
Name: Hivan Herrejon
Pronouns: He / him
Region: United States
Role: Senior director, account management
Do you have a favorite Pride memory?
I grew up in the diverse city of Chicago, so you might think I attended Pride parades and festivals from a young age. But it wasn’t until my mid to late twenties that I attended Pride. I went with a group of close friends – including some co-workers. That’s one of my favorite moments, because I quickly realized that I didn’t have to hide who I was at work. Everyone accepted me for who I was, not who I loved.
What does LGBTQ+ Pride mean to you?
It means being able to be your true self, inside and out! And not having to worry about what others think and believe about you. What matters most is your happiness and feeling like your one true self. That all comes from being able to love who you want, identifying how you want, truly loving yourself and allowing your voice to be heard – professionally and personally. We still have a lot of progress to make, but we mustn’t forget how far we’ve come and how important it is to spread our voice.
What do you find inspirational about Pride month?
Pride is the one time of the year when anyone (truly anyone) can be themselves, without any worry in the world. June is a time when individuals who didn’t consider themselves to be allies are able to find ways to help our community in many different ways. It’s beautiful to see everyone unify and come together! Pride shouldn’t just be felt or expressed in June, but all year round.
How will you be getting involved with and celebrating Pride this year?
I’m the global co-chair of MiQ’s Pride Employee Resource Group, so I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing individuals from all over the world. We’re ensuring that our events are not just fun, but also educate and spread awareness both internally and externally. We want to have a positive impact on our community, so we’re helping to support organizations like The Trevor Project. And we want to make sure all of this continues after Pride.
How have allies supported you in the past?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing allies in my life. Some have been there when I really needed support, especially when I wasn’t ready to come out yet. All my allies have encouraged me to express myself, not be afraid of who I want to be and love who I want to love. This has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. Without this support, I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t be where I am today!
What advice do you wish you had growing up and what would you say to a young LGBTQ+ person now?
Growing up, I was always told that I had to be a ‘man’. And that in order to be one, I had to love someone of the opposite gender and have a child with them. In order to succeed in life, I couldn’t love someone of the same sex because I wouldn’t be respected or given the same opportunities as a straight male. (Especially as I’m Hispanic.) So, to become ‘successful’, I had to hide my feelings. But this just made me unhappy. I was hiding who I was and not living as my true self. I was living half a lie for several years.
When I came out, I realized my accomplishments had nothing to do with who I loved. It was down to my character and hard work. I wish that instead of hiding my feelings in my younger years, I’d been able to express them and not listen to what others had said. That way, I could have lived the life I wanted to.
My advice would be that you don’t have to hide your feelings in any way. They actually make you one of a kind and are the things that will allow you to live a free and happy life! Your feelings aren’t wrong, they don’t make you weird or different, and they don’t account for what you’ll go on to accomplish.
And lastly, it does truly get better! (I’m sure you’ve heard that a lot.) I say that because even though there’s progress to be made in the world, we can live our truth, be ourselves and love who we love. Just surround yourself with people who care and appreciate you for who you are. They are the ones who will make you even better!