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As part of the School of Medicine's recognition of Pride Month this June, in which we are showcasing the exceptional voices, programs, initiatives, patient care, and research committed to the well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, the UAB Pathology team is proud to have one of our members share her personal experience.

Cheryl Moore, HR Administrator in the JNWB Administrative offices of UAB Pathology, tells her story in her own voice. Cheryl has been with UAB Pathology for four years and serves on the department's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

Cheryl Moore 2021 2 

In Her Words:

My name is Cheryl Moore and I identify as a lesbian, happily married to my wife Michelle. We have been together for nearly 10 years and were married in 2016, one year after the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling for all states to recognize same-sex marriages.

From 2003 until the court ruling in 2015, many states took action to allow for same-sex unions, but my home state of Alabama strongly opposed it. As I reflect on this life experience, I remember the tense social climate and media coverage of what translated into love versus hate. I realize the sacrifices of all those for decades before me and for all of those still to come. My heart is heavy for those who endure hate, discrimination, and more. Although I have encountered instances of discrimination and am fearful in certain circumstances, I see progress and am hopeful for the future. I recognize that because of so many before me who fought for a voice and for equality, I have the privilege of freely being myself.

For my experience at UAB, I was faced with a decision when I was hired of whether I would be open in my new career. I think this is a decision that most people take for granted. For example, I weighed the decision of placing a photo of my wife and me on my desk. I was fearful that I may be treated differently. I expected that UAB was a diverse workplace, but I didn’t want to be “boxed” into any one person’s expectations built from biases. I wanted others to know me beyond this one identifier and feared it could become a barrier. I knew that being honest and open was the best approach for me and fortunately have had a positive experience. It was important for me to be an example of someone from the queer community with opportunities in the workplace.

Representation matters and I haven’t always had much exposure in my life. Everyone in the LGBTQ+ community will have their own “coming out” stories (family, social, work) and they should do so when they are comfortable. I hope to help foster a community or safe environment for anyone if and when they are ready to express themselves.

Some members of the UAB community have approached me in a curious nature regarding the legality of my marriage or what term I prefer regarding my spouse. I welcome these questions as it opens a dialogue and comes from a genuine desire for understanding. Even as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I humbly admit there is and will always be more for me to learn and areas for growth. Pride month is an important time to reflect on the history, challenges we still face and also a time to celebrate each other just as we are.

I was very proud to see many UAB groups participate in the Birmingham Pride parade when I attended in 2019. To me, UAB as an employer doesn’t simply check boxes when it comes to equality but is a leader for other employers, the state, and beyond. Their zero tolerance policies and welcoming culture have made me proud to be a Blazer!