In celebration of Pride Month, we chatted with a few of our LGBTQIA+ colleagues about what Pride means to them.
Vidisha Agarwalla, Superpedestrian’s Communications Co-op, interviewed LGBTQIA+ colleagues to highlight their experiences, and discuss the importance of inclusivity in micromobility and beyond.
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Superpedestrian: Why do you feel it is important to do this interview?
Charles Metzler (Assistant Operations Manager, Jacksonville): In Operations, it’s primarily a white, straight, male tough guy environment, which can be intimidating if that’s not who you are… It’s important to do this interview for visibility. My hope is that as someone who is gay and queer, that speaking and being known can make it easier for the next generation of people who may want to apply for a position like this. To let them know that there are queer people in these spaces too.
Steven Hodgson (Marketing Manager, EMEA): I think that giving face to the LGBTQIA+ employees at Superpedestrian is super important. We contribute a lot to this company and it’s great to have visibility and share our stories with our users and customers who might be excited to see representation here that they didn’t know existed.
Teagan Brendlinger (Senior Electrical Engineer): It’s so important for LGBTQIA+ voices (along with other less represented voices) to be heard in engineering and technical fields. It is problematic that these fields are dominated by straight white men, so hearing more diverse voices is important.
Mitchell Price (Regional Director for Asia Pacific): It’s crucial that we highlight Pride month at Superpedestrian because we live in a world where there’s been too much social inequality. As we are working with cities and communities every day with what we do, it’s important to highlight the people behind the efforts in this global company. We have a long way to go to where we want to be in terms of global equality. But Superpedestrian provides a really safe place for people to be who they want to be and supports them on their professional journey.
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Superpedestrian: How do you feel Superpedestrian and LINK celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community?
Meesh Zucker (Urban Planner and Designer): First and foremost, it’s our approach to these topics. We don’t just change our logo and colors to get mass consumer appeal, but instead, focus on our riders and their needs. For example, programs like LINK-Up provide discounts for underserved groups. It’s not just an aesthetic change. It’s about allowing the LGBTQIA+ community to have affordable access and making mobility more equitable.
Charles Metzler (Assistant Operations Manager, Jacksonville): Something that makes me want to continue and grow with this company is that I do feel like there is space for me and people who don’t always fit the mold… Superpedestrian makes space for people who are queer and who identify across the spectrum.
Mitchell Price (Regional Director for Asia Pacific): After a year of COVID where we’ve been isolated, we are able to bring riders together in an affordable and safe way to visit friends and celebrate Pride. It’s really important this year that we are able to take a stand in connecting people and places. Internally, we have provided a platform for people to be who they are and to be treated respectfully. No matter your race, ethnicity, pronouns, religion, multicultural background, country, or language, Superpedestrian is a safe place for people to be who they want to be while growing professionally. That equal respect is important. When you feel recognized you feel safe and valued, and allowed to do your best work.
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Superpedestrian: How does your identity connect to your work at Superpedestrian?
Teagan Brendlinger (Senior Electrical Engineer): My most visible queerness is my transness. In a lot of ways, that ends up affecting everything I do, because it is top of mind with everyone I talk to… Engineering and design can very subtly influence who can do things, and who things are built for. Someone recently mentioned that because our scooter is bigger and sturdier it feels safer to those who are more risk-averse: women, queer people, and minorities. Having different perspectives on an engineering team is critical to making products that will serve as many communities as possible.
Torri Raines (Software Engineer in Data Integration): Statistically, men are more likely than women to ride electric bikes and scooters. The trend is toward people in marginalized identities being less inclined to take risks in transportation. Superpedestrian prioritizes safety in everything we do, and I’ve seen discussions about how we can improve transportation equity if we acknowledge and work to counteract these trends.
Meesh Zucker (Urban Planner and Designer): As an identified queer woman working in city planning and urban design, it’s important that voices like mine are included. Historically, our cities have been planned from a white male perspective, so it’s important to include diverse voices in that dialogue when we talk about building more inclusive cities.
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Superpedestrian: How do you think the micromobility field can be more inclusive?
Charles Metzler (Assistant Operations Manager, Jacksonville): As a whole, the LGBTQ+ community holds less wealth than our straight counterparts. Scooters are a safe, quick, and inexpensive way to get around. In these ways, micromobility has a very valid purpose for our community.
Teagan Brendlinger (Senior Electrical Engineer): Superpedestrian already provides discounts to underserved populations via our LINK-Up program. From a make-society-better perspective, not a make-profit perspective, we can make the world better by driving inclusiveness both in the cost of our service and in the design of our vehicles.
Mitchell Price (Regional Director for Asia Pacific): The micromobility field in general needs to do a better job at recruiting talented people from diverse backgrounds. There is definitely a tech bro startup culture that exists in some micromobility companies. . This is an exciting industry — we are connecting people and places, helping cities with problems — it only makes sense to have a diverse team that represents the cities we operate in, and Superpedestrian has done a great job of this so far. I’d like to see the same from other industry players. When micromobility can truly represent the communities we serve, the industry will provide a better service.
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Heading to Pride this month? Get there on a LINK scooter!
This month, Superpedestrian launched an initiative to donate to The European Pride Organizers Association to help support Pride both as a celebration but also as a vital human rights movement. This summer, LINK will donate 1€ for every ride on specially marked scooters in Vienna, Rome, Madrid and Stockholm during pride week. The scooters will be denoted with a rainbow hangtag and the money accumulated will go directly to local pride organizers in each respective city. Riders simply take a ride on one of these specially marked scooters as normal, and we take care of the donation!
Dates of the Pride Week in each city:
Vienna: June 19–26
Rome: June 24 — July 1
Madrid: July 1 — July 8
Stockholm: Aug 2–9
Why aren’t we changing our logo to include the Pride Flag? After an engaging discussion on our Super-pride-destrian Slack channel, our LGBTQIA+ colleagues advocated against changing our logo for Pride. In order to substantiate real change, we chose instead to highlight our LGBTQIA+ community and donate to organizations fighting for change.
Are we putting our money where our mouth is? Yes! In addition to our donations to Pride organizers in our European markets, we will also make donations to The Trevor Project and Lambda Legal in the U.S. These groups work to support the fight for equality on the national and political level.
Happy Pride, Superpedestrians!