Love Without Borders: a conversation with James

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James is a People Operations Lead at Wise, as part of our Pride month celebrations we sat down for a conversation to explore what our Queerwise community and Pride means to him.

Thanks for sitting down with us (virtually!) It would be great to hear more about your journey.

Hi, so, I’m James and I identify as a gay male (pronouns he/him/his). And I’ve previously felt unsure about my place within the LGBTQ+ community because I struggled to find someone or something that resonated with who I am. In more recent years, following my last personal relationship, I’ve been shown the incredible depth and breadth of the community and all it can provide, which gave me the strength I needed to understand more about me and my journey.

What are your goals for supporting the LGBTQ+ community?

My goal right now is to ensure we keep our seat at the table after the rainbow flags come down. Pride is a great catalyst for conversation but it’s how we continue the conversation that’s important, and how our allies can do more to support us after the celebration. Simply listening to the lived experiences of our people has proven to be the most powerful tool in driving awareness and progress. It also brings our community closer together. ⁠But for some Wisers, this can feel too soon on their personal journey. That’s where another goal of mine comes in – I want to enable more emotional safety in our community for those who are feeling alone and unsure how to be their true selves.

What is Queerwise?

#queerwise is a Slack safe space for our LGBTQ+ Wisers to connect around the globe, support each other with our lived experiences and struggles, and to find ways to make progress and change within our communities, however small it may be.

How did the Queerwise community come to be?

The origins to me are unclear but the beauty of the community (and other communities at Wise) is the self discovery of finding authentic spaces like these without any performative fanfare, and how it runs itself with community members, advocates and allies all demonstrating incredible levels of passion and care.

What have you accomplished so far?

Our community continues to grow but I wanted to find a way to stay connected on a more personal level, hence introducing the #queer-meetwise initiative to meet with Wisers around the globe for a coffee with a difference. I’m also excited to have been involved in building transitioning at work guidance, ensuring our trans Wisers are supported at every step of the way on their journey. And I’ve shared my own personal experiences at previous LGBTQ+ discussions and events, which have such an impact in the community by instilling bravery in others to reach out and seek support.