At Arlo, we invite our guests to come as they are and make themselves at home. The same ethos applies to our team members — our family. Everyone is welcome, and we recognize the strengths that make each of us an individual. This month, as we celebrate and honor all that Pride stands for, Richard Tucker, Hotel Manager at Arlo Midtown, shares what Pride means to him, personally and professionally.
Pride: In Being Me
When I was younger, I was always very hesitant when Pride came around. I grew up on a very conservative island— Bermuda —which is heavily influenced by religion. So, as a gay man in my early twenties, Pride made me very anxious. I wasn’t really comfortable with my sexuality. Fast forward 10 years and it’s a time of year that I really look forward to. It’s a time that allows our community to come together and celebrate our differences and learn about our individual and shared experiences.
My most memorable Pride celebration was Pride 2019 in Bermuda — the very first Pride there. My younger sister is a lesbian, and she came out before I did, so I wanted to go home and support her as the country took this huge step forward. So, I went there to surprise her, not knowing that I was going to be surprised. My mom and my dad and my grandparents all came to Pride with Pride shirts and flags. It was such an incredible moment. I’ve spoken with my family about my sexuality, I came out to them, but we never really got into the details of my life. So, to have that moment with the people that I care about most in my life, walking a Pride parade with them, knowing their upbringing and their values but challenging that in support of myself and my sister… it was really special.
It’s important to me to work for a company and with people who appreciate you for who you are. A huge part of my personality is to express myself through my clothing. I remember a time working for a different company, about seven years ago, when I wore a red, white and blue, checkered, pinstriped suit to work. I had to present our financials in a big meeting and one of the senior managers there made a comment — something to the effect of, “you should have toned that down a bit more.”
I thought, Hmm, I’m being challenged on a part of me that I can’t change. It’s uniquely who I am. That moment laid the foundation: I wanted to find an employer that truly cared about who their employees were as individuals, not how they looked, or how they sounded.
During my interview process at Arlo, it was important for me to understand the values of the company. “Embrace your DNA” is my favorite of Arlo’s values, because for such a long time, I was looking for a place where I could be my true, authentic self. Arlo affords a unique opportunity for those in a community that faces a lot of adversity and challenges. The brand provides a safe space to be who you are as you interact with your team members, but also as you interact with guests. I think that’s why people like staying here, because it invites everyone to be themselves. It also creates this energy of inclusivity and acceptance, and ultimately that translates into love and respect for the people you work with. (Thank you, to my fellow Arlo team members, for creating a space where we can all come together, no matter our religion, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and have fun and do what we love!)
For Pride this year, we’re partnering with Mark Fisher Fitness, which is an LGBTQIA+-owned fitness and wellness company, based locally here in Hell’s Kitchen. As a brand, Arlo is very wellness-centric, and I wanted to make sure that we did something that spoke to that. Mark Fisher Fitness all about embracing your DNA and expressing yourself. The event is a great opportunity for people to get in a last-minute workout right before Pride and make sure those bodies are in tip-top shape for the parade. I can’t wait to participate in the workout alongside our guests and team members.
As we look to the future of Pride, I would like to see a bit more grace and understanding for the transgender community. There’s still much that I’m learning myself about this part of our community, and I take my hat off to the courage, the pride it takes to walk that walk every day.
Thinking about how we can live the ethos of Pride year-round, I would offer this to anybody who’s reading this: Lean into what makes you uncomfortable or scared. Tap into that. Because it’s in those moments that you get to explore and understand who you really are as a person. You are so special. You are so loved. You are uniquely you, and that is the most beautiful thing ever.
In celebration of Pride Month, Arlo Hotels will be donating to The Trevor Project. To learn more about The Trevor Project, click here.