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Inclusive Diversity & Equity

'Hi! I'm non-binary'

Artist Christine Suggs documented their coming-out journey via comic. Now they want to help colleagues tell their stories too.

Comic panel showing artist Christine Suggs talking about being genderqueer/non-binary.

Christine Suggs wrote and illustrated the comic 'Hi! I'm non-binary.' The comic explores how Suggs came to terms with being genderqueer during the pandemic. It's the first in the 'Portraits of PRIDE' series, which Suggs created to help fellow Allstaters tell their stories.

June 4, 2022

When the pandemic began in 2020, Christine Suggs easily transitioned to working from home.

Christina Suggs Headshot.

The visual designer on Allstate's user experience team collaborates with teammates and business partners in multiple locations to make the Allstate® mobile app more user-friendly.

Suggs didn't miss the commute to Allstate's talent center in Irving, Texas. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Suggs and husband Kyle bought their first home in the Dallas area, where they live with their two cats, Remy and Higgins, and a dog, Copper.

Then something else happened to Suggs during the pandemic: They came to terms with being genderqueer and came out to their husband and family.

'How much of my presentation is for other people?'

Suggs has been part of the LGBTQ+ community since college. But coming out as genderqueer/non-binary was a new experience spurred in part by working from home.

Suggs began to feel more comfortable in their skin. "I had the ability to wear whatever I wanted," they said. "I'm a plus-size person, and there's a lot of pressure to look a certain way and to present very put together. I began to wonder, 'How much of my presentation is for other people?'"

Suggs started wearing clothes that felt good, originally just for physical comfort. "But then I realized, there's something else going on here, because I feel really good."

A common transgender narrative is about people feeling dysphoria and being uncomfortable in their bodies, Suggs said. "But my experience was on the euphoria side," they continued. "I felt great, and I wanted to figure out why those choices made me feel so good."

Suggs documented their coming-out journey in a comic called "Hi! I'm non-binary."

Suggs is a prolific illustrator and comic artist, active on Instagram and published in The Lily and the Washington Post. They're also working on a young adult graphic novel, a memoir about spending summers at their grandmother's home in Mexico as a teen. The book is due to publish in spring 2023.

Portraits of PRIDE

"Hi! I'm non-binary" is the first story in the "Portraits of PRIDE" series, a collaboration between Suggs and the PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Allstate.

PRIDE is one of 11 ERGs at Allstate, where employees with a shared interest can connect. Allstate PRIDE's mission is to "enable our workforce and agency force to offer the best experience possible for LGBTQ+ customers, consumers and employees." Allstate PRIDE has been a resource for employees since 2009. There are 18 active Allstate PRIDE chapters across the United States as well as chapters in Canada, Northern Ireland and India.

Suggs joined the PRIDE ERG as soon as they started working at Allstate and found it helped them adjust to the corporate environment.

"It was all new to me and different from my previous jobs. I remember being really nervous," Suggs said. They cut off the dyed part of their hair and bought professional clothing to wear to the office. "But I found the PRIDE organization, and I went to a meeting. Someone there had cool colored hair, and I felt a lot better."

Suggs now serves as brand director for Allstate PRIDE and leads efforts for how the ERG shows up across Allstate. For example, Suggs designed Zoom backgrounds for Allstaters to use during Pride month in June 2021. In 2020, Suggs designed pronoun pins for employees to use in their email signatures.

"Christine is my silent warrior," said Shamaill Ross, Allstate PRIDE president. "They work tirelessly behind the scenes, but they have really used the ERG to find their voice within the community."

Suggs believes the "Portraits of PRIDE" comic series is another way they can help Allstaters connect with the LGBTQ+ community. Suggs is aiming to publish new Portraits of PRIDE comics once per quarter.

Supporting the LGBTQ+ community at work

When it comes to representing the LGBTQ+ community at work, Suggs said they try to be an open and available resource. Suggs has led ally training for their user experience teammates and has become a mentor for other members of the PRIDE ERG.
Want to be an ally for the LGBTQ+ community at work? Suggs' suggestions:

  • Honor people's pronouns. "Being misgendered feels like someone you've known for a long time forgetting your name, or forgetting something very basic about you," Suggs said.
  • Ask respectful – not invasive – questions. Not sure about what's appropriate? "Do a Google sometime!" Suggs said. In other words: Do your research and keep the conversation professional.
  • Offer acceptance. "You don't have to completely understand my situation. Just offer your support," Suggs said.

Employee Resource Groups at Allstate

Allstate PRIDE is one of 11 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at Allstate, where employees connect with other colleagues who share like-minded interests and backgrounds. See how ERGs help drive Allstate's inclusive culture and help inform business practices.

Explore Employee Resource Groups
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