PRIDE Month 2018
The past year has been filled with milestones and disappointments for the LGBTQ+ community. These events have affected colleagues in the workplace and our communities, and our “need to know” is essential to provide support and understanding. It is difficult to dispute that the current administration has chosen to oppress the rights of this community. The president announced that the military would “not accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve – fortunately, this gesture was short-lived after being struck down by four federal judges. Next, Attorney General Sessions made claims that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not provide protections from discrimination at work for transgender people. What policies are in place in your organization?
Despite the tumultuous social and political milieu emboldened by the current administration, the LGBTQ+ community has continued to make enormous strides. In recognition and celebration of PRIDE month, we would like to reflect on the strength and resilience of this community by outlining but a few of the historic political gains and positive shifts in representation and visibility seen throughout the past year.
Political Gains Domestic and International 
Virginia’s Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person to serve in the House of Delegates; Danica is one of nine transgender people who were elected into public office in 2017.
Seattle ushered in Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan (D) as their first lesbian mayor ever and the city’s first female mayor in almost a century.
Allison Ikley-Freeman (D) became the first openly LGBTQ person ever to be elected to the state senate in the deeply conservative state of Oklahoma (Tulsa County).
The Palm Springs City Council became the first place in America to be represented by an all-LGBTQ city council. After an election past November, the five council members now represent every letter in the acronym.
Slovenia, Germany, Malta, Taiwan, Austria and Australia legalized same-sex marriage in 2017! Same-sex marriage is now legal in more than two dozen countries and regions globally.
Media Representation 
Although LGBTQ+ characters are still underrepresented with people of color and transgender people particularly absent, there has been a positive shift in Hollywood – Moonlight became the first LGBTQ film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. LGBTQ+ visibility in shows and film such as Doc McStuffins, Black Mirror, Will and Grace, and Battle of the Sexes provides an arena for visibility unseen in the past. The stage continues to be set for success in 2018 with LGBTQ+ films like A kid like Jake; Love, Simon; and McQueen in the works or recently released.
LGBTQ+ representation in business leadership is also improving and was emboldened by Tim Cook from Apple who came out at the first openly gay CEO in 2014. CEO World Magazine recognized the top LGBTQ+ business leaders of 2017. Among the list includes Alan Joyce (CEO, Qantas airlines); Stacey Friedman (General Counsel, JP Morgan Chase); Jim Fitterling (COO for Material Sciences, DowDuPont); Gigi Chao (Executive Vice Chairman, Holdings Ltd); and Dr. Vivienne Ming (Managing Partner, Socos LLC).
Like many of our “identity” months, PRIDE month is a reminder of the marginalization of individuals who are making contributions and leadership to businesses, universities, political domains, and the advancement of inclusive policies. Employee Resource Groups in organizations are advancing LGBTQ+ interests and career planning. Find out what your workplace provides.
In closing, we invite you to review the Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ individuals for 2018. These corporate contenders span a multitude of industries and businesses and include companies such as American Airlines, Tesla, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Pearson, and the University of Phoenix to name a few.
- Brammer, J. P., & Sopelsa, B. (2018, January 2). For LGBTQ community, 2017 was a mixed bag. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/queer-year-review-2017-was-mixed-bag-lgbtq-community-n831851
- Grant, A. (2017). World’s 100 most successful LGBT executives and business leaders, 2017. CEO World Magazine. Retrieved from http://ceoworld.biz/2017/10/26/worlds-100-most-successful-lgbt-executives-and-business-leaders-2017/
- Human Rights Campaign. (2018). Best Places to Work 2018. Retrieved from http://www.hrc.org/resources/best-places-to-work-2018