It’s Pride month and I’ve been meaning to celebrate some LGBTQ entrepreneurs who have inspired me.
It’s Pride month and I’ve been meaning to celebrate some LGBTQ entrepreneurs who have inspired me. After all, Pride is about communities coming together in celebration, protest, unity and solidarity. I hope my post encourages people to similarly acknowledge members of the LGBTQ community who have inspired them in any way.
I’m going to talk about Arlan Hamilton today.
I first heard of her in Oslo last year, when I stumbled upon an impromptu talk that she was giving.
Hamilton’s is a powerful and inspiring story. After being overlooked and undervalued professionally for the colour of her skin, gender and sexuality, she grabbed a chance that was presented to her. She is now the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital through which she invests in start-ups with underrepresented minorities: women, people of colour and LGBTQ founders.
Her story highlights the importance of giving individuals who are often overlooked because of their gender, sexuality or skin colour a chance to succeed.
"In order to become, I needed to be" – Arlan Hamilton
This is a quote from a book Hamilton recently published titled It’s About Damn Time, which I am listening to at the moment.
Members of the LGBTQ community will identify with the stress and fear of not being able to present their authentic self around people such as colleagues who are not necessarily close friends but who happen to be the people they spend an inordinate amount of time with.
I’m a gay man originally from India, where homosexuality was considered a crime till as recently as 2018, when a landmark Supreme Court judgment struck down the colonial-era law. In India, I could never “be my authentic self” among people I didn’t know very well because it was a huge risk. If that wasn’t stressful enough, I would often overhear the casual homophobia that is common in conversations among people and squirm. I only had the courage to come out to “everyone” once I left the country in 2012.
Now, as I live and work in Sweden, which was voted the most LGBTQ-friendly country in the world last year (Go Sweden!), I’m hoping things continue to change for the better and that more and more professionals from the LGBTQ community across the world find the confidence to come out to their colleagues and bosses with the support of the larger community.
Helping the community
As part of that vision, I’d like to offer my time to any member of the LGBTQ community who wants advice or insights or just to chat about how to flourish as a designer or entrepreneur within the tech, consultancy or entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t presume to have any advice to give. But I have gained some wisdom over the 14 years I’ve been working, and maybe my experience may be of use to LGBTQ individuals who are struggling to find their way around especially at this difficult time :).
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.