Pride Month 2023: Thoughtful Lessons from the Synopsys Pride ERG

Synopsys Editorial Staff

Jun 01, 2023 / 4 min read

June is here, which means Pride month is in full swing. But before we talk about the present day, a quick history lesson. Let’s take it back to June 28, 1969, when the New York Police Department raided a gay bar, leading to three days of uproar—now coined the Stonewall Riots. In 1970, the first Pride march was held to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising and celebrate the modern gay rights movement.

Over half a century later, Pride has evolved into a larger movement to celebrate and recognize the impact that LGBTQIA+ individuals have had throughout history. Today, we see rainbow flags waving in the air, parades across the nation, and LGBTQIA+ community members proudly embracing who they are.

To commemorate the movement, we spoke with a few members of the Synopsys PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) to learn more about what this month means to them, how to become an ally, and some advice for embarking on a meaningful career in technology.


Education Is Essential

Jose Luna, a senior software engineer, has worked in the Synopsys Software Integrity Group for nearly eight years in the Calgary office. He believes that his career at Synopsys has helped him become more comfortable with himself and indirectly gave him the confidence to come out. When asked what Pride month means to him, Luna answered, “Not having to think about who I am and having the ability to be myself without thinking about if I’m being ‘appropriate’.”

Luna also shared with us the challenges of being a part of the community and feeling responsible for educating others. While curiosity and the desire to ask someone publicly to answer questions about the LGBTQIA+ community may seem well-meaning, Luna cautioned that allies shouldn’t always rely on others to do the research for themselves. Individuals outside the community should and can take this burden off LGBTQIA+ individuals.

“Be sensitive when asking questions. Sometimes, questions put pressure on members of the community to educate and become teachers on top of other challenges. If you’re unsure about something, there are alternative options: Google it, get a book, or do some research to find the answer.”

– Jose Luna, Synopsys Sr. Software Engineer

Allies Must Amplify LGBTQIA+ Voices

At Synopsys, we prioritize fostering a comfortable and welcoming workplace for all individuals. Whether someone identifies as LGBTQIA+ or they see themself as an ally, we expect everyone to work together to create a safe space.

Public Relations Specialist June Kim shared how Pride month allows her to celebrate that essential part of her identity more freely, which is why allyship is necessary. Understandably, some may feel too intimidated to become an ally; according to Kim, it’s simple to do, and the community needs more people to speak up if someone is being mistreated.

“It’s easier to be an ally than you may think.. It’s small things like adding your pronouns to your email signature to help normalize the community, instead of thinking of actions like that as ‘other.’ True allies give LGBTQIA+ individuals space to share their experiences, let their voices be heard, and help them feel comfortable.”

– June Kim, Synopsys Public Relations Specialist

Prioritize Diversity and Inclusion

We also spoke with Samantha Ireland, a software developer in the Synopsys Software Integrity Group and trans woman, who came out and transitioned while working at Synopsys. Ireland is thankful for her colleagues who help her feel empowered daily, noting that she feels her input is valued and she’s not just a diversity data point for the company.

Companies should keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront of all operations because different perspectives worldwide and across various identities enable better outcomes. For large companies like Synopsys, having a diverse workforce assists in developing stronger products and allows individuals to feel proud of their work.

“Not all people fit into a box, and everyone has their own unique contributions to bring to the table, so you can’t force people to fall under the same bucket. If we accommodate diverse types of individuals and give them a friendly, supportive environment where inclusive language is the norm, they will provide value to the company and contribute to a happy company culture that encourages others to do the same.”

– Samantha Ireland, Synopsys Software Developer

Advice for LGBTQIA+ Individuals

While there is no one-size-fits-all advice in the tech industry, Ireland recommends the following, which helped her lead a more successful career filled with happiness and productivity:

“Make yourself visible and your needs heard. The community’s needs are unique and not initially obvious to those unfamiliar. Additionally, language is super important, so make your pronouns known and stand up for yourself.”

At Synopsys, our PRIDE ERG creates a supportive environment where people who identify as LGBTQIA+ can be their authentic selves and network with others like them around the world. The group strives to foster an inclusive and affirming space for LGBTQIA+ people within Synopsys and the industry by supporting, advocating, and empowering the community.

One of the reasons Luna is proud to be a part of the PRIDE ERG is because it’s important to cultivate relationships by networking and expanding who you know and talk to; being yourself in the office and with your coworkers makes it easier to cultivate relationships. In addition to the PRIDE ERG, Kim also shared that Synopsys encourages discussions in the form of external conferences and programs. Notably, she recently participated in Out in Tech, which pairs LGBTQIA+ youth aged 17-24 with tech professionals to learn a mix of technical and professional skills needed for launching a successful career.

Whether you’re wearing a Pride sticker or supporting LGBTQIA+ colleagues who are “coming out,” our combined impact creates a safe workplace, encourages inclusion, and leads to a thriving company. As we participate in Pride celebrations, we should take the opportunity to elevate and encourage LGBTQIA+ voices and perspectives to be heard during this month of celebration and throughout the year, as Pride is every day!


Samantha Ireland (left) and Jose Luna (right) are part of the Synopsys Software Integrity Group.

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