Community Impact

Legacy celebrates Pride Month with Matthew Klein

June 18, 2024

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Matthew Klein was living in a small Colorado town nine years ago when he and his husband decided it was time to live someplace where they felt comfortable holding hands in public.

Their search led them to Portland when Matthew landed a job at Devers Memorial Eye Clinic as an ophthalmic technician. He has since joined the Enterprise Project Management Office where he is a project manager working with clinical, operational and support teams to create change across our organization.

He recently took time to talk about what Pride Month means to him, how to support our LGBTQIA2S+ coworkers and what Legacy is doing to be more inclusive.

How do you support the LGBTQIA2S+ community in your personal and professional life?

During the last year, I have been lucky enough to help with a project dedicated to our patient's demographics, and the terms they can use to describe their lived experience. Some of the most powerful and generative moments that I have felt through this work have been through the engagement of our employee resource groups and of course our Pride ERG.

Taking the time to ask tough questions and sit through honest feedback has been some of the most rewarding work during my time at Legacy. My hope is that we can partner with our Pride Education and Advocacy Committee in new ways in the coming years to make Legacy the safest place to give and receive health care for queer people.

What are some of the challenges or barriers that LGBTQIA2S+ employees face in the workplace and how can we overcome them?

There are many barriers that LGBTQIA2S+ people face in the workplace. I have found that many of them seem to stem from the perception of professionalism. The rules for what it meant to be professional in the workplace were set at a time when the only type of person capable of being considered professional was rather limited.

I have found through my own experience and through the stories of our coworkers that when our queerness is more visible, we are seen as less professional. This often leads our queer coworkers to feel as though they have to over perform to make up for this perception. Recognize and celebrate the work of your coworkers who show up to work as themselves each day. It takes resilience to do that. And our patients and community members who get to see those people, showing up as themselves, find greater resiliency to do the same!

How do you think our company can promote a more diverse and inclusive environment for LGBTQIA2S+ employees and allies?

During the last few years, Legacy has made incredible strides. Updating our personal appearance policy to be more open and inclusive. We recently published a Name Recognition Policy! I have been heavily influenced by my experience during this last year of working with our ERGs, I cannot recommend highly enough what a great opportunity joining an employee resource group would be. And while this brings such incredible value to the participants, it brings so much potential to the organization as well. Our Pride Education and Advocacy committee is filled with people who showed up to ask and answer tough questions, to look after our LGBTQIA2S+ community, and who are willing to engage. Our organization should be partnering with this group on several efforts where the LGBTQIA2S+ community is concerned.
Photo of Matthew Klein

Matthew Klein (he/him)
IS Project Manager 2,  Enterprise PMO

How can we foster a culture of respect for LGBTQIA2S+ employees?

I am a firm believer that cultural work starts at the top. So, leaders, what is the form of your allyship and advocacy? If that question gave you pause, here are some other questions to consider. When was the last time you joined a Pride meeting? Would you know where to grab the invite? Do your employees know for a fact that they are allowed to carve out space and time to engage in their ERG meetings? Can you name some of Pride's advocacy goals for 2024? Do you know how you are going to leverage your position to assist in at least one of those goals?

You cannot be an ally to the LGBTQIA2S+ community by waiting for an opportunity to be wrapped up and handed to you. Join a meeting. Ask how you can help. Volunteer when a show of hands is asked for. When our people see you showing up, making your allyship and engagement a priority, others will follow, I promise! Respect from a distance is no longer enough, we need you to stand next to and with us in this moment. What is the form of your allyship and advocacy?

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