At NGINX, we have always taken pride in our LGBTQ+ employees, and since joining F5, we’ve strengthened that commitment to the community even further.
Our main offices in San Francisco, CA, and Cork, Ireland, have always reflected the attitude of both cities towards the LGBTQ+ community and the issues faced by its members. In San Francisco, arguably one of the most gay‑friendly and diverse cities in the world, mentioning a same‑sex partner or being transgender doesn’t raise an eyebrow. In Cork, although a small city on the Atlantic fringes of Europe, the city’s positive attitude towards LGBTQ+ issues harks back to the time when the grassroots Cork Gay Collective started campaigning alongside sister organizations across Ireland for gay rights (as they were then called) in the 1970s.
As a result of our queer‑friendly heritage at NGINX, we’re conscious not to make colorful‑but empty gestures during any Pride Month or local Pride festival. Too often, we hear and see complaints from the LGBT community about companies or corporations splashing rainbow colors all over their products and advertising yet doing nothing for the community they claim to support. As a member of the gay community in Ireland, already a tight‑knit and socially conscious country, I’m personally weary of the plethora of rainbow logos, which can often feel false and performative. That’s why we’re doing things a little differently at NGINX, part of F5.
Recently, I took up a sport that I never thought I’d end up playing – rugby. It’s a very popular sport in Ireland, alongside our more native Gaelic games of hurling and Gaelic football, but recently there was a call for interest among Cork’s LGBT community to set up an inclusive rugby team.
I wouldn’t have considered myself sporty in any way beforehand – the occasional gym visits to keep the waistline in check, maybe – but it’s been a great experience to join a group of people, many of whom total beginners, who want to form a team and learn how to play and train together, to represent their community and better themselves. Within a matter of mere months, we have already formed a close bond, and I’m excited for what’s to come.
That being said, I’ve already learned a lot about the values needed on the pitch (as the rugby playing field is called), and off it, too. In both rugby and work life, you need to communicate, watch out for your teammates, pass the ball when the time is right, own up to mistakes quickly, and forgive just as quickly.
In rugby, for example, if you get into a tense situation with an opposing team player on the pitch, you’re expected to buy him or her a drink afterwards to apologize and make sure there are no hard feelings. In the game known as a ruffian’s sport played by gentlemen (and women!), there are many ways a work team can learn from rugby – the Executive Vice President of our NGINX product group, Gus Robertson, knows that well as a big rugby aficionado!
We have a duty to look after our teammates and our community, and we have committed ourselves to doing just that at NGINX. In the past year, we’ve run our highly successful NGINX Hackathon, fundraised for a UK‑based LGBT mental health charity, and raised a great deal of money in support of India’s fight against COVID‑19. We’ve worked with our broader F5 Pride employee inclusion group (EIG) to raise awareness of issues facing LGBTQ+ employees, ranging from intersectionality and visibility to how including pronouns on our email signatures can make trans and non‑binary colleagues and external stakeholders more comfortable (not to mention how specifying pronouns is helpful when corresponding with people from cultures whose gender conventions for first names are unfamiliar to us). We’re also committed to fundraising for local LGBTQ+ charities, such as The Trevor Project in the US and BeLonG To in Ireland.
Though words and other displays of support are helpful, actions make an even bigger difference. This Pride Month, consider what you can do to help your LGBTQ+ colleagues, family members, friends, or others in your community. NGINX will be there with you, ready to do the same.
Speaking of actions, we’ve a special request for NGINX and F5 employees reading this! Please consider donating whatever you can afford to our F5 Pride Month 2021 Campaign on Benevity. Every dollar (or equivalent currency) you donate will be matched 100% by F5, and will be divided equally between the following charities in the US and across Europe:
- BeLonG To Youth Services (Ireland)
- Human Rights Campaign (US)
- ILGA Europe (EU)
- The Outside Project (London, UK)
- The Trevor Project (US)