Twelve Aera employees-turned-actors performed a moving collection of true stories about the LGBT+ experience June 27 at Aera’s Bakersfield headquarters.
The event shared 22 real and deeply personal stories of overcoming fear, pain, shame and rejection – as well as finding pride, support, courage and acceptance among family, friends and co-workers.
The stories had been submitted months earlier by current or former Aera employees, who were not named. David Heisler, the last storyteller, revealed his own experience to the audience.
“When I first heard that Aera was forming an LGBT+ Allies employee resource group, I felt like senior management really had my back,” said Heisler, a process supervisor at Aera’s Belridge field. “I’m so proud of how far Aera has come.”
About 100 Aera senior leaders and employees attended the performance. It was also streamed to employees gathered in conference rooms at the headquarters in Bakersfield, as well as at Aera’s offices at Belridge, San Ardo and Ventura.
Directed by Aera Ally Kay Coodey, “Stories of Pride” was sponsored by Aera’s LGBT+ Allies ERG, now in its fifth year.
“Aera has been through an amazing journey over these past five years,” said Emily Fisher, an Aera geologist who helped found LGBT+ Allies and served as one of the performers. “To share these stories is amazing. After seeing today’s event, I hope people can understand the experience of being LGBT or an ally.”