At 3Q/DEPT, we know representation matters, and creating a psychologically safe environment where every individual feels comfortable to be themselves is an on-going commitment. June is Pride Month and it’s a delight to get to share a few stories from some awesome LGBTQ+ humans at 3Q/DEPT. You’ve met Amie Crawford and Shelby Nations, now get to know 3Q/DEPTster Andrew Avrutin!
Andrew Avrutin (he/him), Strategy Consultant
The strategy team works with other internal teams in addition to clients to develop research and insights to best inform strategic direction recommendations. Outside of work, Andrew spends time with friends and his dog. He enjoys reading, watching TV, and is a singer!
If you’re comfortable sharing, tell us about your coming out journey:
My journey was… well, just that. I think Hollywood has glorified coming out, to be this exact moment, and it is not a moment, in fact it feels like a Grecian epic. First I came out to my close friends when I was in my senior year of high school, it was more one by one when the time felt right. Then freshman year of college my mom found a letter I had written to a friend that I meant to mail and in it I had detailed my sexuality. That experience was intense for both of us, and while there were tensions in that, in time we worked through it and became even closer in the end. In the time when the waters were rough, my mom had told family members like my aunts and uncles as well as my brother, which I felt two ways about… on one hand I felt a bit robbed of my journey but on the other I felt a bit relieved that I didn’t have to tell them myself. Next was my dad a few months later, that same friend I had originally written that letter to, ironically did a bit of writing of his own. That friend actually wrote a book that ended up being a source of hot town gossip because he didn’t change any names really and it was filled with highschool rumors, it was very salacious. He was my best friend at the time (and is to this day) and we look back and laugh at that choice he made as an 18 year old kid to publish that book. Included among the roster of characters mentioned was me, he wrote how we both were closeted gay men and how it was something we never talked about growing up, we just knew, which was in fact true. In the end, my dad read the book and called me while I was away at college, it wasn’t until I was on that phone call it had occurred to me, I forgot to tell my dad I was gay. My dad said all the right things, he was very supportive, which made me feel a bit embarrassed I forgot to tell him. After that call and I realized how I had forgotten, I thought about the other people, significant or not, that I had not told, so as one does in the 2009-2011 era, I took to Facebook and publicly came out. It’s not as thrilling and glamorous as the movies, but I enjoyed the ride both the good and the bad.
Who inspires you? Why?
Tying it to pride, I would say I am inspired by the advocates that fight for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Fighting for rights is so important and as I get older that is becoming so clear to me. Also, I am inspired by movies, TV shows that portray LGBTQ+ stories, representation is crucial – lately I have been watching foreign (Mostly Thai, but some Chinese and Japanese) BL (Boy Love) Dramas, I actually came across the genre while conducting some research for a Mainland SE Asia deliverable and I have been hooked ever since.
How will you be celebrating Pride Month?
I will be reflecting on my journey, learning about others journeys and enjoying my time in the city where the movement originated.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride does not mean you are proud of your label, it’s a journey, sexuality is a spectrum… Pride means that you are proud of who you are on that spectrum and proud that other people are on that journey of discovery too.
Of our 4 core values, ‘Accept No Limits,’ ‘Act for the Greater Good,’ ‘Be Inclusive,’ and ‘Own It,’ which resonates with you most and why?
Accept no limits, to me there always has to be a way to make something work. Look at something through a different lens, do not accept an answer if you think it is wrong, prove there is another way. If we just accepted answers instead of fought for the greater good, there would be no such thing as Pride month! I live by this in my work and I live by this in my life.
Inclusivity is an important piece to 3Q/DEPT’s identity. It means we strive to create spaces for everyone to feel comfortable to be their authentic selves. What has inclusivity at 3Q/DEPT, or a different work environment, looked like for you?
Inclusivity is when there is a safe space for someone to share their viewpoints and perspective. They are not shunned form the conversation or written off because of biases associated with who they are.
What does it mean to have people show up as allies in a work environment?
We should all be allies to everyone of every walk of life, it is so much better to love/support than it is to hate.
There are many amazing LGBTQIA+ organizations that are fighting for the rights of queer folk, but they can’t continue without funding. Are there any organizations you’d like to give a shout-out to?
The Tyler Clementi Foundation stands out to me, I am from a town over from Rutgers and we were the same age, so it really hit hard when he killed himself.
Finally, do you have a favorite queer anthem?
Anything Mariah, Adele, Whitney, Lana, Gaga, Amy or Christina, as a singer myself, I love me a singer/songwriter with a powerhouse voice