Contributed by Mike Stephenson, an EO Vancouver member who is co-founder and CEO of addy, which uses the principles of crowdfunding to make real estate investing accessible to everyone, including Black, indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ2S+ and other underrepresented groups. Mike recently shared the importance of finding (and keeping) a monogamous co-founder on EO on Inc. We asked Mike about his experience in taking a stand for inclusivity by overcoming his fear of coming out as a gay entrepreneur. Here’s what he shared.
When I came out professionally, there was no big party or public announcement. It happened gradually.
I’d lived in places where the laws dictate not everyone is equal, and I was all too aware that in some situations, it is dangerous for people in the LGBTQ2S+ community to be themselves.
While I knew coming out in Vancouver, Canada, wouldn’t mean risking my life, I still had fears. I worried for my husband’s safety and my own. I worried I’d lose friends–and business. My coming out wasn’t momentous, and that was a privilege. For me, with privilege comes the responsibility to help make space for those who face more adversity.
Why I’m “out” at work
Growing up biracial and gay, I experienced life through the lens of being different. It gave me what I like to think of as my superpower–empathy.