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Accepting His Authentic Self - Joshua's Story

Joshua A. (He/Him) - Team Member, Taco Bell Corp.

Accepting His Authentic Self - Joshua's Story

Joshua A. (He/Him) - Team Member, Taco Bell Corp.

Published 07-01-24

Submitted by Yum! Brands

Joshua's portrait on a purple background. Text: Celebrating Pride Month: Joshua A., TEAM MEMBER TACO BELL CORP.

Originally published by Taco Bell

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. Today, celebrations include parades, picnics, parties, workshops and more – unifying millions of participants around the world for a month of solidarity. Not only is Pride Month a time to celebrate diverse backgrounds and unique experiences, but also a time to recognize the worldwide impact and accomplishments that LGBTQIA+ individuals have had and continue to have.

This year’s NYC Pride theme is “Reflect, Empower and Unite”. To honor this month and our people, we’re amplifying the voices of those in the LBGTQIA+ community who are growing their careers at Taco Bell.

“Right before my mother passed away in March, she accepted me, and she helped my dad do the same. It became a promise for my dad, and that’s why it’s very special for me.”

Joshua hadn’t been able to celebrate Pride Month before, because he didn’t come out until this year. It took him seven years to be comfortable and safe with who he is. That’s why he feels patience is key to this journey.

“I tell people not to worry, because you are not alone; you have us, a whole community of people supporting you. Be patient with yourself... you will have a moment to shine bright, break free, and be who you really are.”

Not only does Joshua identify with the LGBTQIA+ community, but also with those who are deaf. Although Joshua struggled to accept himself into these two communities, he eventually learned to love himself with the support from both groups.

“I am unable to hear anything without my hearing aids, and although the technology is amazing, we still end up hearing ‘beeps’ that people with normal hearing do not encounter. So when I got into the LGBTQIA+ community, they helped me accept myself for who and how I am... and taught me to love myself even more, including being deaf. Being part of these communities has made me realize that we need to celebrate our differences.”

Currently, Joshua is a student at Irvine Valley College where he participates in the LGBTIQIA+ club, spreading the same message of love and acceptance. When he’s not at school, you can find him at a local Taco Bell working as a Food Champion!

“I joined Taco Bell three years ago during a low point in my life as my grandma had just passed away; I didn’t have motivation or goals for my life. But since joining, I’ve grown so much, learned many skills, and have become a better communicator... most of which I utilize outside of work, too.”

When it comes to inclusivity in the workplace, Joshua feels comfortable to be his authentic self.

“Taco Bell has an inclusive environment and made a safe place for me to be who I am. My peers never question me about my sexuality, instead they just treat me as they would anyone else. They show lots of respect and support, not only with me, but also the entire team.”

Looking to the future, Joshua hopes to follow in the footsteps of his mother, the person who’s had the greatest impact on his life.

“Now that I think of it, I want my legacy to honor my mother, who was the one that taught me to be kind to others. She told me to always give others kindness no matter what they go through in their lives. And to add, I want to be remembered as the person who continued spreading love because I believe [that is] something very powerful that will never go away.”

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Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, has over 54,000 restaurants in more than 155 countries and territories, operating the Company’s brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. The Company’s family of brands also includes The Habit Burger Grill, a fast-casual restaurant concept specializing in made-to-order chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and more. Yum! Brands was named to the 2021 Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and was ranked on Newsweek’s list of 2021 America’s Most Responsible Companies. In 2022, Yum! Brands was named to 3BL Media’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens.

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