Commentary: Pride, In The Name Of This Work

Traditionally, June is the month to celebrate the heritage and the lives of the LGBTQ community. However, things continue to be different than the last time we had a full schedule of celebrations around the world. 

With shutdowns and community guidelines in place, almost every in-person event was cancelled. This year, we’re seeing a limited number of events happening – even with some changes to placate the latest guidelines for gatherings, social distancing, and masking rules. Some events normally scheduled for June were pushed back as early as July. I noticed one such event was scheduled for October that was normally on the annual June calendar. 

The reason why I mention this is because (a) I’m gay and (b) being gay was the reason why I devoted the my entire content creation and media career towards covering the automotive industry and its products.

This is a story I have told before. Perhaps too many times…or, rather, not too many times. 

Let’s go back to 2011 when Victory & Reseda became the name of this website. 

Back then, I was writing in two different websites – this one and a baseball one on Major League Baseball’s digital platform. Back then, I loved both equally. However, I felt there was an inequity between the two worlds. 

For one, the baseball world felt unwelcoming. You had players, managers, coaches, management, and fans who believe everything from “love the sinner, hate the sin” to “these people are an abomination.” For someone like me, I never felt at home in the baseball world. 

When I started getting deeper into the automotive world, I felt a warmer welcome from the industry. Certainly, there was a transactional motivation to bring LGBTQ journalists and industry employees under their fold. However, I felt that the warmer welcome became motivation to simply leave the baseball writing behind for good. 

It was that simple, really. 

Ten years later, both worlds have changed. So has the world. At one point, we almost lost the chance to become equal with the rest of this citizens of this country from employment protection to marriage equality. The tide turned in the last decade alone. 

I witnessed the threat to define marriage to become an equal opportunity for couples regardless of gender make up to legally say “I do” and “until death do us part.”

Plus, I also witnessed all of the automotive manufacturers ensuring that their employees are protected from discrimination regardless of who they are. They even went to the distance to demonstrate how they support the LGBTQ community away from their headquarters and facilities. 

In turn, the industry saw value to welcome myself and my LGBTQ colleagues from sampling their latest products to experiencing what they do for us. I had the great fortune to meet and collaborate with a lot of my LGBTQ colleagues towards creating successful content amongst us. 

This is where I should recognize several of my colleagues who are putting in quality work while living their lives authentically. The problem is that there are too many to name and I would like to not exclude anyone. After all, exclusion is a bad thing, folks. 

If pressed, I will mention the crew at Out Motorsports. Their young energy is infectious – born from the track and onto YouTube and social media. If you have not read or seen their videos, please do so. 

Granted, it would be a perfect world if I did not have to single out a community I belong to without recognizing the many colleagues from outside of it who have put up with my presence at their events and other business-related functions. To those colleagues, thank you for doing so. 

The result of this work as an out middle-age gay cisgender male automotive journalist is perhaps your readership. Asking me to be involved with the community. Giving me thanks, even if you’re not actually saying or writing as such. 

This LGBTQ Pride month is all about looking back, taking stock in today, and creating the future ahead. No matter where you live, we still have to finish up some old fights, while battling on renewed fronts. 

It is my hope that we can all come together as a community – and a society – that no longer hates the "other" for being who they are. Define that "other" how you will. 

Moving forward, I acknowledge the responsibility that I have in delivering content to you. You will not a see a rainbow flag flown in your face from me, but I will talk about my community and my involvement in it as context to my work here. I always have and will continue to do so. 

All photos by Randy Stern

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