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My Pride Story
Silicon Valley associate Jack Klaren shares his Pride story

Jonathan (Jack) Klaren is an associate in our Silicon Valley office. Along with other colleagues who identify as LGBTQ+ and allies, he has shared his personal #MyPrideStory for global Pride month.

What does it mean to be part of the LGBTQ+ community?
I feel lucky to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. This community is made up of people of all genders, sexual orientations, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, abilities and other traits that both set us apart and bind us together. I have been able to find my authentic self and my place in the world with the support of the LGBTQ+ community. 

My personal journey has also taught me tolerance and respect for people who look, think and live differently than me. Being LGBTQ+ gives me a unique insight into the struggles of others who still face tremendous adversity for being who they are (e.g., Black trans women who are routinely mistreated in our society).

What does it mean to be your whole, authentic self at work?
Authenticity means that I can be who I am without having to worry about judgment on my personal life and true self. When I don't have to censor parts of myself because of what others think or suffer anxiety about how it may impact my career, I'm able to perform at my best.

What does the Firm do to foster a stronger sense of belonging for all?
First and foremost, the Firm does a terrific job recruiting and fostering diverse talent around the globe. I encounter the same values and commitment to diversity in colleagues in all of our offices. 

A Firm is only as good as its people, and ours is filled with some of the best. The Firm devotes significant resources to affinity groups and programming, including the time and attention of Firm leaders. Seeing a commitment to diversity from the topmost levels of the Firm inspires everyone to promote inclusion.

How does your experiences as an LGBTQ+ person positively impact your work and your career?
Advocacy is engrained in the LGBTQ+ community. It's no secret that heroes in our community aggressively fought for the rights we have today, including through victories in the courts. I know what it feels like to be scared because of how you look or sound, and worry that you won't be able to have the life you dream of because your freedoms aren't guaranteed. 

It has given me hope to see our judicial system (albeit slowly) trend toward equality and justice. Seeing the legal successes our community has achieved motivates me to do the best for my clients, particularly pro bono clients, knowing that justice is achievable.

Why is being part of Spectrum important to you?
Unity is critical because the issues that the LGBTQ+ community faces are best addressed together. Spectrum serves as a unifying force for me and many other LGBTQ+ professionals at the Firm. It allows me to engage with mentors who are willing to provide professional and personal support. It also allows LGBTQ+ people at the Firm to collaborate to support our community and the Firm's diversity and inclusion goals. 

What's your advice for the next generation of LGBTQ+ lawyers?
Don't leave anyone behind. It's easy to get comfortable, or believe our rights are guaranteed. As recent years have shown, this is certainly not the case. Our community is a large one (including varying genders, sexual orientations and races). We must not stop fighting until equality means equality for everyone.

How are you planning on celebrating Pride virtually this year?
In addition to taking part in the Firm's Spectrum events, I am also supporting initiatives and events to help the most marginalized in the LGBTQ+ community. After all, Pride started as a protest about civil rights. 

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, there's now a bright spotlight shining on those who need our support most. Pride is the perfect time to mobilize and emphasize support for the Black members of the LGBTQ+ community and the Black community at large.