Every June LGBTQ+ communities and allies around the world come together to celebrate Pride Month and commemorate the important impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals have in our world. It’s also an important time to recognize and reenergize ongoing efforts toward justice and equality for all. Progress for LGBTQ+ rights continues to be made, and just last week, the Supreme Court in the United States made a historic ruling protecting gay, lesbian and transgender workers from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, an important win for LGBTQ+ workers and allies everywhere.
At Zoetis, we are committed to creating an environment where all colleagues feel included and valued as their true selves. We are focused on creating an open and ongoing dialogue about Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), and we are striving to create programs, benefits and policies inclusive to LGBTQ+, and all, colleagues.
During Pride Month, our editorial team talked to Daniel Edge, DVM, Director, Medical Affairs for U.S. Petcare, and a proud gay colleague. Daniel and his husband, A.J. Edge, Business Analyst on the Zoetis U.S. Channel team, have been married for 11 years and have two sons, Jackson (14) and Peyton (9).
Here’s what Daniel had to say about the significance of Pride.
What does Pride mean to you?
There are many ways to think about the word “pride.” I personally view Pride as a LGBTQ term that means taking Pride in who you are, whatever form that comes in. It also refers to the celebration and recognition of the differences and individualities in other people and our responsibility to use our own experiences and power to lift others up as their true selves.
How do you see your Pride manifest at work?
As a colleague, I like to take time to get to know and really understand other people, and I think my Pride in being gay helps me do that. It helps me see and appreciate all sides of my colleagues, not just what they contribute at work.
I also see Pride in the way we work together at Zoetis. We are an open, diverse and collaborative company. We have a strong team culture and our colleagues really seem to seek out and value diversity of thought, backgrounds and experience.
What’s one of your most memorable recent experiences with Pride?
Last year I marched in the New York City Pride Parade with Pride VMC, an organization that supports the LGBTQ+ veterinary community, commemorating the 50th anniversary since the Stonewall Riots. It was an incredible experience for me. I am part of a generation that grew up in a time when you didn’t talk about being gay, and it took a long time for people to come out. We have come so far and it was incredibly moving to be in a group of millions of people celebrating and acknowledging something about me.
It was also particularly meaningful because I experienced the event with my husband and oldest son, Jackson. I was able to demonstrate my Pride in front of my son and show him that whoever he becomes and however he identifies, there will be people like you, people who are different from you, and many, many people who will support you.
Daniel Edge (in orange front right) marches with
Pride VMC in the New York City Pride Parade in 2019.
How are you celebrating Pride Month this year?
Last week’s Supreme Court ruling was really the cherry on top for Pride this year – it’s an amazing thing to come through in Pride month.
But my personal focus this month has really been on the Black Lives Matter movement and standing with the Black community against racism and discrimination, especially with respect to Black Transgendered lives. There is intersectionality in the movement for both communities and an example of how we all can support one another.
From your point of view, how can Zoetis and our colleagues better support the LGBTQ+ community?
The D&I Council is a great start for Zoetis. It’s important to seek feedback from LGBTQ+ colleagues and make sure all different perspectives of diversity are heard. I also think our company can be more transparent in our recognition of LGBTQ+ colleagues – our colleagues show inclusiveness in their actions, but candidates looking at Zoetis can’t experience that, and many will want to see this support represented in our communications. Participation in the Human Rights Campaign’s Annual Corporate Equality Index would be a way to externally highlight our commitment to diversity and inclusion as a Fortune 500 company.
From a business perspective, I’d love to see more inclusion in our marketing and philanthropy efforts. It would be great to see diverse families represented in our advertisements and more support behind LGBTQ+ veterinary causes.
And for individual colleagues, allyship is a great way to support all colleagues of different backgrounds. Allies acknowledge and respect the differences of others, they allow themselves to be vulnerable as they learn, and they show genuine interest in others. Many people want to be allies, but are nervous about where to start, or about saying the wrong thing. An ally’s actions can be as small as asking about someone’s family when they see a photograph, or engaging with a spouse at an after-work event.
What advice do you have for other LGBTQ+ colleagues?
Be who you are and don’t be shy about it. Your individuality is an asset and it’s important to make your voice heard. Raise your hand to contribute to conversations, engage with others and look out for others.
It’s also important to recognize that everyone’s story is different and that the experiences they have learned and lived through inform who they are as adults, but no one can take your Pride away.
Get to know Daniel and the Edge family better:
- These Dads Have an Amazing Story About How They Created Their Beautiful Family, The Huffington Post
- Finding His Voice, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine