Why is Pride Month important?
It’s a responsibility of the LGBTQ community, but also a time for everyone to help others. It’s a good opportunity to remember that people are still afraid of coming out. People are afraid to be themselves. Without pride, people die. They really kill themselves over not being proud of being who they are. Some people who are not in the LGBTQ community say they don’t want to publicly support this because they’re afraid people might confuse them as gay. To this I say, “why is that a bad thing?” Of course, there are stereotypes, but the important thing is that we want to make it okay for those in the LGBTQ community who are hiding to feel safe to come out.
How does Pipefy help promote workplace diversity?
Not a lot of companies openly support LGBTQ in Brazil, especially in Curitiba. Pipefy is a special company who is leading as an example for other companies in Brazil to follow. In a start-up ecosystem, this is something exciting. I have posted about our initiatives in Instagram and people are getting interested in our work environment because these measures.
What kinds of things do you hope will change in Brazil regarding the LGBTQ community?
Brazil’s Supreme Court just voted days ago to criminalize homophobia, which is an important step in the right direction. [Currently, there is one LGBT death by suicide or murder every 19 hours in Brazil.] Anyone practicing homotransphobia or transphobia will now face prison. This will hopefully help people who are afraid to be comfortable coming out. In the coming years, I hope to see the LGBTQ community and people of all races and cultures embraced more. We have a large mix of people from all over the world in Brazil and we need to be more inclusive and respectful to our diverse population.
Has there ever been a time where you or someone you knew faced harmful prejudice?
I have been lucky to not face a lot of problems myself. Sometimes, someone might give a look for holding hands like it’s something I shouldn’t be doing. I had a boyfriend a few years ago who was afraid to go to public bathrooms because he was attacked before…guys tried to force themselves on him while he was in there because he was gay. I was afraid to tell my own family and actually let them know in an email. I remember that feeling before I hit send. Thankfully, they respect me for who I am. I knew since I was a boy. You never decide to be different. You just are. That’s why it’s important to accept people and respect them.
What advice would you give to someone who is afraid to be themselves?
Some families are not very supportive. Some parents throw their children on the streets for this. But we should never be afraid of who we are because it just gives more power to those who hate and discriminate against us. Some places are definitely more dangerous than others to be openly gay, but the more people just come together and love who they love, and the more common it becomes, the more likely it is that people who are against it will be afraid of being openly against it.