LGBTQ & Ally Voices of MiQ is an interview series that’s part of our Pride celebrations. In this blog, we’ll hear from MiQ people who are in different roles, in different countries, with different experiences. They’ll tell us about their story, how they’re celebrating Pride and what it means to them. This is just one of the ways we’re supporting the LGBTQ+ community and raising awareness. It reflects how far society has come, but how far we still need to go.
Name: Claire Janik
Pronouns: She / her
Role: Trading strategy and development director
Do you have a favorite Pride memory?
It makes me cry when I see parents standing outside Wellesley station (in Ontario, Canada) with signs saying things like ‘free parent hugs to anyone who needs one’. I spend most of Pride crying happy tears.
What does LGBTQ+ Pride mean to you?
To me, Pride is about celebration for the sake of community, love, and visibility. When I say visibility, I mean education for the sake of equity and change. Pride is about listening to, centering, and standing with the communities who are disproportionately impacted by discrimination, inequity and violence. It’s about demanding a world where everyone can thrive.
Who was the first LGBTQ+ character/celebrity you remember seeing?
I grew up listening to Pet Shop Boys, and then in high school it was very much Le Tigre. I think ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ was the first movie I remember that didn’t have a disappointing or straight up horrific outcome for the LGBTQ+ protagonists.
Do you have a LGBTQ+ hero or role model in your life?
I’ve learned a lot from Kai Cheng Thom’s writing on social change, intersections, hope, and mental health.
What messages do you hear about LGBTQ+ people in your daily life, and from your family, friends and colleagues?
I’ve been very lucky as I’ve always been surrounded by positive LGBTQ+ messages in all areas of my life. I’ve got really inspiring friends and family to learn from.
I follow a lot of LGBTQ+ figures and media, and while there is a lot of positive stuff out there, there’s also an insight into how different my reality could be. It makes me realise how privileged I am to work somewhere that genuinely values community and discussion, and encourages and celebrates diversity. I’ve been surrounded by wonderful people with the same values, so in over seven years, I’ve never once worried about ‘coming out’.
How will you be getting involved with and celebrating Pride this year?
For the first time in three years, I’ll be in Toronto for Pride. I can’t wait for the 519’s Green Space Festival, where everyone comes together to party for a cause.
What advice do you wish you had growing up and what would you say to a young LGBTQ+ person now?
This isn’t necessarily advice, but I’m glad we have biodegradable glitter and I’m happy LGBTQ+ kids now have TikTok. It gives them the community that they might not have had otherwise.