June is Pride Month at Allspring—a time for celebrating our LGBTQ+ employees and their allies. Maulik Bhansali, senior portfolio manager and co-head of the Core Fixed Income team, and Marilyn Johnson, senior investment content manager on Allspring’s Content Marketing team and co-lead of the firm’s LGBTQ+ Connectivity Group, discuss Maulik’s insights on intersectionality in his life and coming out professionally.
Maulik Bhansali: Intersectionality is something that applies to all of us. I know everyone can relate to the idea that our identities are multifaceted and evolve over time.
Marilyn Johnson: That’s Maulik Bhansali, senior portfolio manager and co-head of Allspring’s Core Fixed Income team. I’m Marilyn Johnson, senior investment content manager on Allspring’s Content Marketing team and co-lead of the firm’s LGBTQ+ Connectivity Group, and you’re listening to On the Trading Desk®. So, June is Pride Month at Allspring, a time when we celebrate our LGBTQ+ employees and their allies. Today, Maulik will share insights on intersectionality, the various dimensions of diversity in his life, as well as his experience with coming out in the workplace. Thanks for joining me, Maulik.
Maulik: Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.
Marilyn: So first, before we get too far along, I think it’s important for listeners to hear why you agreed to this conversation about such an important, very personal part of who you are.
Maulik: Sure. Well, I think visibility is incredibly important for LGBTQ people. Unlike some other aspects of identity, it’s not always obvious who is LGBTQ. So, proactively sharing that makes a difference. Over the past couple of decades, a lot of acceptance in America has been driven by people realizing that they themselves have family members, friends, or coworkers that are gay. That change wouldn’t happen without our being open about ourselves. Speaking only for myself, I actually don’t view this part of me as particularly personal, though I know others may feel differently based on their individual situation. In my case, I’m married. I have a child who has two dads. For me, that’s somewhat incompatible with treating the details of my family as private.
Marilyn: Thanks for sharing that, Maulik. How do you think of intersectionality and what dimensions are present in your life?
Maulik: To me, intersectionality means that all of us, no matter who, have multiple aspects of our identity. Sometimes those different aspects interact in interesting ways. For example, my parents immigrated from India. There was a cultural aspect of my upbringing that perhaps made it more challenging to come out, especially to my extended family in India. But on the other hand, I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and went to high school in New York City, which, of course, is a pretty welcoming place. And for the last 24 years, I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay area, which is one of the best places to live in the world if you’re gay. The companies I’ve worked for have been inclusive, too. So, in many ways I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a relatively easy road along the way. That said, there is also an element of self-selection there. For example, I probably wouldn’t consider living in certain places or working for certain companies. It’s not an accident that I’ve only lived in New York and San Francisco.
Marilyn: So, in thinking about the companies where you’ve chosen to work, from the standpoint of being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, how did you select them? What did you look for? And what has coming out professionally been like for you?
Maulik: I’ve been out since the mid 1990s—basically my entire adult life. Once I made the decision to come out, there was really no going back for me. I wouldn’t have been able to be out in some parts of my life and not in others. So, I’ve always been out in the workplace. There are plenty of ways to figure out how accepting a company is—certainly now, but also 25 years ago. Now, companies actually advertise being gay-friendly and are scored by various organizations. But even in the 1990s, there were clues, such as does the company offer benefits to domestic partners? The first company I worked for actually did in the 90s. So, being out professionally has been pretty smooth for me. I’m sure a lot of that is because of the cities in which I’ve worked. I have never felt outwardly discriminated against at work, but I know I’ve changed some people’s perception of how a gay person can look, act, or live. There are sometimes bumps, though. I’ve been at professional dinners where someone makes a gay joke. Or another challenge—sometimes I’m a bit more reserved with clients because that relationship is just such a different dynamic. Perhaps I shouldn’t be, but that can be awkward and make it harder to connect. But all in all, if I were to tell my 15-year-old self about how things would turn out for me professionally, he would be pretty thrilled.
Marilyn: With the time we have left, do you have a parting thought for our listeners?
Maulik: Well, intersectionality is something that applies to all of us. I know everyone can relate to the idea that our identities are multifaceted and evolve over time. For example, when I was a child, being Indian was probably the dominant aspect of my identity. In my 20s, it was probably being gay. And now, it’s most likely being a dad.
Marilyn: Thank you, Maulik, for being with us today and sharing your insights, and happy Pride Month.
Maulik: My pleasure. Happy Pride Month.
Announcer: Visit allspringglobal.com to receive more market insights and investment perspectives from Allspring Global Investments. To hear the latest from our thought leaders on the ever-changing investment landscape, you can subscribe to the program on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you for listening and joining us on the road to investing elevated.
CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.