Meet Mindbody: Wellness Through Equality with Mindbody Pride
When I asked Robert Arambel if he could summate what Mindbody Pride means in one sentence, he delivered. “Because like Zeus, I willed it to be so,” Arambel quipped.
Robert, Senior Technical Programmer and Mindbody Pride lead, continued, “[Mindbody] Pride exists to ensure that LGBTQIA+ people have visibility and voice within the company, and to understand that as LGBTQIA+ people and allies we provide valuable insight and diversity.”
Part of our mission to connect the world to wellness means creating an inclusive, uplifting, and welcoming workspace where all our team members feel valued and inspired to bring their best every day. To help make sure this mission comes to fruition, we look to our internal teams to help carve the path to provide wellness to all that seek it, actively or not. Enter, our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).
In this installment of Meet Mindbody, I sat down with Robert, Evelyn Z, and Louise G., members from our Mindbody Pride group and all-around amazing Mindbodians, to discover what it truly means to have a set of intrepid individuals working to support and empower all team members across the organization to be their authentic selves.
Will Price: What does Pride mean to you?
Robert Arambel: Pride is about celebrating the visibility and accomplishments of LGBTQIA+ people. It’s also about celebrating the diversity among LBGTQIA+ people.
Evelyn Z.: PRIDE historically was chosen in opposition of shame. It was considered shameful to have a relationship that did not conform to the heteronormative culture at the time and worked as a self-affirming notion to the culture of the LBGTQIA+ community.
Plus, it was a cheeky or campy way to oppose those who wished to see us commit a "sin" in the eyes of a church that thought we were bad people for being true to ourselves and being loving honest people.
Louise G.: [Pride means] being able to walk in public with your head held high and not have to worry about being accosted because of who you are.
WP: Why did you join the Mindbody Pride group?
RA: I started the Mindbody Pride group because of the work done by Women in Tech*. There was a need to give visibility to both LGBTQIA+ people and allies within the company.
EZ: People thought I needed to be less introverted and needed to socialize more if I'm honest. It helps if you already have one thing in common.
LG: I have a son and daughter who are gay, so I want to know what issues they may face. I won't support political candidates or laws that jeopardize not only their livelihood but their very safety.
WP: Why is the MBPride group important at Mindbody?
RA: Mindbody Pride is important because it helps people in the community and allies feel connected. It gives voice to the continued accomplishment and struggles faced by LBGTQIA+ people.
EZ: We notice where there are gaps in our industry—both the software and the wellness business [in general]—where improvements can be made for accessibility for queer people and other marginalized groups. We tend to intersect among different subsections of culture and bring that to our attention.
LG: We want to accept everyone here. They need to feel that they are valued and safe everywhere, including while they are at work.
WP: Why is celebrating Pride and the LGBTQIA+ community important for the wellness industry at large?
RA: LGBTQIA+ people need to see that there is representation and commitment to ensure that the wellness industry is a safe space for them, and that businesses support their particular needs.
EZ: It makes [the LGBTQIA+] community visible to the wellness industry and creates a perpetual motion machine, allowing the wellness industry to recognize us as valuable members of their community to cater to and care about.
LG: Many LGBTQIA+ individuals suffer from low self-esteem because of societal attacks. Exercise, fitness, and self-care can help rebuild that.
WP: What does the Mindbody Pride group mean to you?
RA: Mindbody Pride means that there is visibility for the community and the diversity inherent in it. It is a space that celebrates that diversity and allows Mindbody to see what this community provides.
EZ: It means there is a space to celebrate achievements, create community, and mourn losses outside of work. It is a place to discuss work shortfalls and triumphs and how we can make our industry better.
LG: It means that I have some insight into that world, so I can be educated and help wherever I can.
WP: Does the wellness industry promote inclusivity?
RA: I think the wellness industry thinks that they already do this, but I don't see a lot of promotion for it. The industry needs to make this visible. There is still discrimination out there, and when people don't see themselves represented, they don't feel comfortable.
EZ: No. A lot of the wellness industry tends to create binaries based on sex, gender, and race and tends to penalize people who are different than them wherever they can. For example, schools in the US don't allow transgendered kids to participate in sports leading to higher rates in children anxiety, stress, and depression. I am sure we will see more drastic repercussions in the aftermath later too.
We see microaggressions in places like salons with non-binary and trans teens and adults receiving haircuts and massages. Gyms are now opening up as safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community, but you never know who you could encounter.
LG: I believe that it does.
WP: What does wellness mean to you?
RA: Wellness starts with equality and visibility, both of which we need more of for the LGBTQIA+ community.
EZ: Feeling safe—body and mind—where you are at.
LG: Wellness means feeling good about yourself, and knowing that you are enough.
To learn more about Mindbody Pride, and how Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity come to life at Mindbody, please visit our EDI Resource Center.
Further, Mindbody, on behalf of our Pride group, is pledging its support for the Equality Act, currently undergoing a Senate vote after passing the House of Representatives.
We believe that part of wellness is feeling equal to everyone else—knowing that you have the same safe access to services and livelihood. Right now, LGBTQIA+ people do not have those protections across the US. Marriage Equality was the first step, and the Equality Act will help continue the process of making sure that our community is guaranteed the essentials of wellness like employment, housing, and education. This Act will put us one step closer to providing that feeling of safety and wellness to a community that continues to fight for equal rights. - Robert Arambel and the Mindbody Pride board
Here are 5 ways to take action to support the Equality Act yourself.