Embracing the rainbow.
How a same-sex couple teaches their son and others about the value of diversity.
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Ricardo Gattas-Moras has come a long way.
Raised in El Salvador, he came to the United States around the age of 11. But that journey was only the beginning of another one of self-discovery.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t know what was different about me,” remembered Ricardo, now a Consumer Sales District Manager in Austin, TX. “As I grew older, I started learning about what it was to be gay.”
Coming out as a gay man was not easy in Texas as a Hispanic man. “I spoke to my mom about it. She took some time to think, then she said I love you and I’m here to support you no matter what. It was her acceptance that gave me the strength to move forward.”
Ricardo had been with Rob, his partner, for five years when they decided to start a family. “We started going through the process of adoption. The costs can be significant.”
Ricardo and Rob were grateful to discover that they were eligible for Verizon’s adoption reimbursement benefit.
“The fact that the benefit is offered for same-sex couples, I think that’s what makes Verizon such a beautiful place to work,” Ricardo said. “We understand that diversity and inclusion is a benefit in and of itself for the organization.“
After 18 months, they were able to adopt a baby boy. “Having him helped me understand the capacity that a human being can have when it comes to loving another human being.”
Ricardo and Rob looked for ways to give back to the world and settled on two areas: the environment and the LGBTQ community.”
They looked for books for their son that had messages of diversity and inclusion. “It was harder than we thought,” remembered Ricardo. “So we decided to write our own book about a bee with rainbow stripes.”
“Rainbow Bee” is about learning to embrace diversity and the differences that not only make us unique, but make us beautiful too.
“Diversity is something that we are surrounded by every day,” said Ricardo. “But being surrounded by it is not enough. We need to have that conversation. It starts by introducing the language, then the behaviors, then combining the two. We want to start the conversation.”
Ricardo will continue to work toward equity for the LGBTQ community. He urges others to find their own way to make a difference and to then go after it.
“Anything that you feel is important to your cause, you have the ability to do it,” Ricardo said. “Take one action, one step. Next thing you know, you have run the entire race.”