To celebrate Pride Month, AWL is shining the spotlight on some of our LGBTQIA+ employees, starting with Dayetron Hardin.
Dayetron Hardin was born and raised in Austin, TX before moving to Manor, TX where he’s been residing for the last 10 years. Dayetron has been with AWL for almost a year and is currently the agency’s Mail Specialist. Dayetron lives at home with his mom and 3 out of 4 siblings: he’s the oldest of 5 children. There’s never a dull moment within his household with that many personalities!
What’s your job title and how long have you worked at AWL?
My job title is Agency Operations Mail Specialist and I’ve been with AWL for just under a year.
What inspired you to work in your field?
I was looking for an opportunity to join a company and learn and grow from the ground up.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
The most exciting part of my job is being able to see my wonderful coworkers! They’re all friendly and accepting so it’s a comfortable work environment.
Do you have any words of advice for people looking to enter your field?
My advice to anyone would be to go after what you want and be assertive. Do not sell yourself short.
How has your identity shaped the person you are today?
I’m a lot more confident and comfortable in my skin. Since I came out and fully accepted myself, I don’t allow anything to stop me from going after what I want, especially outside opinions. Some people are intimidated by others who are confident and comfortable in their own skin. They may even try to put you down or belittle your accomplishments, but I recognize that those are their insecurities so I ignore it and don’t let it bother me.
What are some interesting hobbies or talents that most people may not know about you?
I have a couple different hobbies I enjoy but my favorite one is karaoke. When I’m on stage during karaoke it’s like the music and the people watching me bring out my alter ego and I just become this star. My favorite artist is Nicki Minaj. I know her entire discography!
Another hobby would be doing drag. When I get dressed up and have my makeup done, I’m able to express myself fully and allow my femininity to come out.
What’s your favorite book or podcast?
My favorite book would have to be The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The main character, played by Logan Lerman, represents who I used to be: quiet, introverted, shy and protective of my loved ones.
What does PRIDE mean to you?
Pride is accepting yourself and being okay with whatever your sexuality or gender identity is. Even if you haven’t come out and told others, if you take time to accept yourself and focus on your own opinion of yourself that is what matters.
One of the most difficult challenges for LGBTQIA+ youth is the question of family acceptance. How was your coming out story?
I knew I was gay ever since I was 5 or 6, but nobody else in my family was like me. I waited until I was 21 and I told my mom. She cried happy tears and told me she always knew. It did frustrate me that she didn’t approach me and talk to me about it, considering she knew, but in hindsight it I’m glad because I wanted to do it on my own once I was ready and she respected that.
What do you want the readers to know about LGBTQIA+ people?
LGBTQIA+ people are not all the same but we are the same as people who are not LGBTQIA+. We as people all have different ways of expressing ourselves, talking, dressing, etc. The same way you wake up in the morning is the same way someone as LGBTQIA+ wakes up in the morning. The only difference is who we are attracted to, but that doesn’t make us any less of a person. We’re all the same and most importantly… LOVE IS LOVE. Like my mom always told me you can’t help who you love, you just have to accept it.