Celebrate Pride Month.
First things first – what’s Pride Month? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. Nowadays, celebrations include parades, picnics, parties, workshops and more – unifying millions of participants around the world for a month of solidarity, recognizing the worldwide impact that LGBTQIA+ individuals have had and continue to have, as well as, reflecting on those impacted by hate crimes, suicide, or HIV/AIDS.
In addition to raising the Pride flag last month, Taco Bell Corp.’s Live Más Pride Business Employee Resource Group (BERG) collaborated in the OC Pride Festival and Parade along with our sister brand The Habit Burger Grill! We’re also sharing information and ways to honor this month across our organization as well as sharing our very own Taco Bell team stories.
However, the celebration and work doesn’t stop there. Taco Bell allies are living the Pride Month celebration all year long through educating, activating and advocating. They strive to encourage inclusive perspectives, act as a proponent for Taco Bell’s LGBTQIA+ population, and allies and help serve as a cultural partner to amplify our community through education and open communication.
To honor this month and beyond, and lead with action-oriented allyship, we’re amplifying the voices of those in the LBGTQIA+ community who are growing their careers at Taco Bell.
Patrick H. - AGM at a Taco Bell Corp. Restaurant
From celebrating Pride to honoring Juneteenth, June allows underrepresented communities to take a moment to reflect on what has been accomplished and what’s to come. For Patrick, June is a moment for him to honor this intersectionality that he celebrates every day. “To me, [June] means inclusiveness. It means being able to celebrate who you are without judgment. As a Black man, it means freedom. It means my story is different from the story they gave,” he said.
But Patrick has not always been able to celebrate who he was. “I grew up in a loving household where I was welcomed and accepted but was also questioned about my sexuality, which caused [a lot of confusion for me]. Throughout middle school and high school it was always the topic of conversation. ‘Is Patrick this? or is Patrick that?’ and it took a toll on me for a while. Over time, I started to gain my sense of confidence and realized no matter my sexual orientation, I can do anything I put my mind to,” Patrick said.
As Patrick got older, he took this confidence with him to his first quick service restaurant job and eventually landed a role at Taco Bell, where he was able to continue to grow and find himself. “Sometimes, I do find myself a little closed off because I fear judgment, but Taco Bell has been a welcoming environment through and through,” he said, “no matter who you are, [Taco Bell] will make you feel welcomed.”
Quickly after joining Taco Bell, Patrick made his way up to Assistant General Manager (AGM), thanks to the support and representation in his restaurant. “Representation matters. Seeing someone who looked like me in a high-up position is what showed me what I’m capable of.” Those within his restaurant helped him grow in a work setting, but outside of work they encourage him on his journey and path to success, “Taco Bell has changed my outlook on most things in life. I believe [the company has] unlocked potential that I didn’t know I had. [My coworkers have] pushed me in the right direction, and I am where I am today because of it,” he said.
One of the ways the Taco Bell community has supported Patrick is by encouraging him to go back to school. Patrick is currently enrolled in Taco Bell’s education program with Guild, and is expected to earn his Bachelors of Science (BS) in Psychology. Once completing his BS, Patrick hopes to get his doctorate and eventually open his own clinic to help youth to find their voice.