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My Pride Story
New York associate Rhys Bortingnon shares his Pride story

June 2021: Rhys Bortignon, an associate in our New York office, shares his thoughts on being out at work, how the Firm supports the LGBT+ community and allies and how he will celebrate Pride this year.

What does it mean to you to be part of the LGBT+ community?

To me, being part of the LGBT+ community means being part of a welcoming, loving and supportive community—a safe place where you are accepted and celebrated for who you are, without judgment. To many of us (including me), the friends we make are more than just friends; they are our chosen family. It gives me immense happiness and joy to be connected to people who have the courage to be out, be proud and be their true and authentic selves.

What does it mean to be your whole, authentic self at work?

I am lucky to be a part of an open and accepting workplace where I am treated the same as all of my colleagues and peers. White & Case is a place where I am encouraged to express my true self, without the need to hide any part of who I am. This freedom gives me the confidence to develop lasting relationships with clients and colleagues.

What does the Firm do to foster a stronger sense of belonging for all?

During my involvement with the Spectrum Network, I have seen White & Case's dedication, especially from the White & Case Diversity & Inclusion team, to continually advocate and advance the rights and well-being of LBGT+ lawyers and business services professionals. White & Case's excellent pro bono program and the many truly wonderful LGBT+ organizations and causes that we support send a powerful message, both internally and to clients, of the Firm's values and commitment to the LGBT+ community.

How does your experience as an LGBT+ person positively impact your work and your career?

White & Case attracts a panoply of people from different nationalities, cultures, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. We are exposed to varied, individual viewpoints and experiences, and this helps to create White and Case's authentic, accepting and welcoming culture. I benefit from the distinct views, perspectives and ideas of my colleagues and peers, both personally and professionally.

Why is being part of the Spectrum Network important to you?

After moving to New York, I wanted to become more involved in the LGBT+ community. Being part of the Spectrum Network has given me the opportunity to form some truly amazing friendships and to also help me get involved with initiatives both within and outside White & Case. Being actively involved is truly important to me because I get to be part of the conversation, have my views heard and effect positive change.

What's your advice for the next generation of LGBT+ lawyers?

Change comes about incrementally. LGBT+ rights have come the furthest they have ever been; however, we cannot be complacent, because the pendulum can swing back before it moves forward again. We should be vigilant and continue to stand up for the rights of the entire LGBT+ community, in particular transgender, Black, indigenous and people of color minority members of our community. There are many ways to volunteer and make a difference or drive change—a great way to get started is to support and get involved with the many LGBT+ organizations in White & Case's pro bono network.

With most Pride events still being virtual this year, how do you plan to celebrate?

As COVID-19 related restrictions are lifted in New York, I will be celebrating with a mix of virtual Pride events, like the White & Case Pride event, and in-person celebrations with my husband, Ravi, and our family and friends at local LGBT+ bars and restaurants in order to support local businesses that were heavily, and disproportionally, impacted by the pandemic.