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Celebrating Pride Month with Tim Bowman

Tim Bowman (He/Him) 
Operations Executive Assistant

In celebration of Pride Month and our commitment to creating safe and open workplaces for LGBTQ+ employees all year, we want to start by honoring a few outstanding people at FinWise Bank by sharing their stories.

Tim Bowman (He/Him) is an Operations Executive Assistant at FinWise Bank and this is his story.

Embracing Understanding

I started the process of coming out when I was 16. Just to a few friends at first, but by 17, I came out to my mom. At the time, I lived in California, and she lived in Utah, so it was a phone conversation in 1997. Like many young members of the QUILTBAG (that’s the term I use because I like the imagery and it’s easy to say…use whatever acronym works best for you), I didn’t have much experience or understanding of what being gay meant.

At the time, there weren’t a lot of examples in the media, and if I knew people who were part of the community, I didn’t know it. Like many guys at the time, I was told when I was young, “oh, you think girls are icky now, but just wait…that will change.”

I waited. It didn’t. Not that girls are icky…they never were. I just wasn’t attracted to them!

Finding Community

Going to college later that year (I turned 17), I found the Gay Student Union (I’m sure it’s called something else by now, but that’s what we used at the time). Suddenly I found QUILTBAG folks from all majors, all walks of life, and all ethnicities. It was glorious and empowering.

I’d missed Pride because the GSU wasn’t meeting during the Summer when I started. Still, we met, told stories, had coffee, read books, and made costumes to dress as Carmen Miranda for the Mardi Gras parade. I’ll never forget how loneliness and “otherness” melted away as I found people like me. Maybe not exactly like me, but enough that they knew what it meant to feel the way I do.

Unforgettable Celebrations

I have great memories of Pride celebrations from San Luis Obispo, San Jose, Los Angeles, New York City, and Salt Lake City. In 2019, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which is often thought of as the start of the Gay Rights Movement without which Pride wouldn’t be here and living my life openly as a gay man would probably not be possible, I had the privilege and honor of joining with almost 400 members of GALA Choruses from across the country to sing a commissioned piece to tell the story of Stonewall on the stage of Carnegie Hall.

There are no words to adequately encompass the feeling of history, loss, triumph, joy, anger, hurt, and healing that we had on stage that night. It was truly unforgettable, followed the next day by joining the World Pride Parade that lasted from early afternoon until well after midnight with participants and spectators from across the globe.

The Visible Spectrum

Coming out, fighting for equality, equity, and freedom to live our lives, and holding our arms open to other members of the QUILTBAG with struggles similar to but different from our own are all processes that never truly end. I came out when I was 17, but every time I move, start a new job or meet a new person, there is another instance of having to come out.

In some ways, we all do it about the parts of our lives that don’t live in the visible spectrum. Our passions, faith, and talents are all intrinsic to our natures in ways that may not show, so sometimes, we’re shocked when people learn something integral to our being for the first time.

Gratitude and Truth

In the same way, I tend to be taken aback when people are surprised to learn that I’m gay. It’s a big part of who I am. So when I have the opportunity (which sometimes feels like an obligation, let’s be honest) to share my truth yet again, which Pride month often presents ample opportunities, I try to remain grateful.

This year, many of my QUILTBAG siblings, especially those in the drag and Trans sections of the community, are under attack here in Utah and across our country. It is frightening for us to live in a time when our ability to exist seems a legislative pen stroke away from being taken from us. So, if we’re a little louder this year, a little more visible, please understand it is an attempt to remind you that we’re here.

We’ve always been here, and we’ll always be here, even if it is unsafe to be open about it. So, while I still can, and I am truly grateful FinWise allows us to bring our whole selves to work, I have dyed my hair rainbow this Pride month to bring into the visible realm that usually requires a conversation.

Tim celebrates with family

Oh, btw…this year, for the first time in the 26 years since I came out to her, my mom went to the Pride Parade and Festival with me. I couldn’t be prouder of her!

Show Your Support

Explore more ways to get involved all year starting with research. Here are a few ideas to get started:

    1. International Transgender Day of Visibility in March
    2. Pride Month in June
    3. National Coming Out Day in October
    4. Transgender Day of Remembrance in November

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