Safe Spaces and Workplaces

James David
June 13, 2023

HEALing Communities Study Senior Project Director James David speaks in his own words about creating supportive, safe work environments, and what those mean to him.

As a 25-year old, I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for an article titled, “Twentysomethings Wrestle With Coming Out of the Closet at Work.” 

In my mid-20s as a gay man, I was unsteady and unsure as I built my career. It’s been almost 18 years since that article was published and my words serve as a personal time capsule. The intervening years had highs such as the Supreme Court ruling on marriage and lows such as attacks on the queer community meant to erode our rights.

At the time, I said about my career that “…the truth is what you have to go through every day is important and I've gravitated to places I'd feel comfortable at.”

Now in my 40s and in my role as Senior Project Director of the HEALing Communities Study, I lead operationalizing the landmark study. I also continue to have the honor, privilege, responsibility to co-create a healthy workplace culture like the one I was seeking in my twenties. In my current role, I’m able to help create an environment that’s safe for my queer colleagues by talking openly about my husband, and build a healthy culture for all my colleagues through openness, active listening, and making sure good work is noticed and praised.

I want to continue to work with my colleagues to create and maintain a space where people can be their authentic selves and grow their careers; not just a safe space but a place to thrive. I am steady and sure of my commitment to this.

My wish this Pride and every Pride is that with all the fun, parties, and parade, we take a moment to also be filled with gratitude and joy for our own safe spaces and recommit ourselves to creating and expanding spaces where queer people can thrive. 

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