Pride Month: ‘Working Here is a Place of Support’

June 21st, 2021 by
Austin Landers, MINI of Wichita


MINI of Wichita’s Austin Landers isn’t shy about acknowledging some division when it comes to LGBTQIA+ support and the Wichita community. In a recent interview, Landers, a service advisor who joined Walser in 2017, said, instead, it’s Walser that truly feels like a place of support. Landers is a founding Chair member to Drive With Pride and shared more in this Walser Pride employee spotlight.


  • How do you identify within the LGBTQIA+ community?
    I identify as gay, queer.


  • How do you celebrate your identity at Walser? What’s been your proudest moment here?
    I truly bring myself to work, which has taken some time. I used to be more quiet and kind of hid myself. I’ve definitely come more out of my shell and become more comfortable. Working here is a place of support. I’ve been able to make a good friendship with others. Also, being part of Drive With Pride has made me more comfortable in the work environment. Sometimes the inner saboteur comes into play and makes me feel like someone might be dismissive of me, but I’ve always felt support here.


  • More broadly, what is one of the proudest moments you have had as someone in the LGBTQIA+ community? What contributed to that moment?
    There have been times I have been shy about bringing up my boyfriend, but I’ve brought it up to some customers, especially those I have a good relationship with, and it’s been great. Knowing that I wouldn’t be shamed or get that look like “I want to work with someone else.” That has been an inner proud moment. Going back, there has always been that fear for me to not share. Not that I’ve ever had any shame from family or friends, it’s just the worry that makes me stop from sharing.


  • As Pride began through efforts to establish more equity and inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community, what do you want to see next for the community?
    There needs to be more involvement. It feels pretty divided here in Kansas. While those within the LGBT community are connected, it would be nice to see more people be celebratory and supportive from outside the community.


  • “Acceptance” and “affirmation” are important, what does that look like and feel like? What about at work?
    It would be someone who is truly accepting and showing no sense of judgment with whatever you provide whether it’s talking about others who are gay, myself, or even my relationship. It feels like a sense of relief once you feel accepted. When you feel accepted, you can just be yourself and not have to worry. This is true for work as well. When it comes to a specific action, verbal affirmation is something I find important. Verbally hearing from someone is so helpful.