No, I wasn't a dancer for Madonna (though there's still time!). Instead, I got to work alongside the LGBT marketing group, also known as the Rainbow TeAAm, at American Airlines.
My job entailed helping American market to the community while supporting it, too. And the company - which has always led the way in recognizing its LGBT customers and employees - partnered with national and local organizations like PFLAG, AIDS Action and the Mautner Project, to support their work and stand alongside them. And even when the airline faced boycott threats from religious extremists, it never backed down.
So it wasn't particulary surprising, but was still enormously inspiring, to see the company take the lead in its industry's support for LGBT equality again today. In a letter sent to Congress, American issued a strong endorsement of federal employment non-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.
"(We are) proud to express our strong support of federal workplace non-discrimination legislation that would extend basic job protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. We are proud to have been the first major airline to implement same-sex domestic partner benefits, first to implement both sexual orientation and gender identity in our workplace non-discrimination policies, and first to have a recognized LGBT employee resource group – GLEAM," the statement said.
“Our endorsement of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is consistent with our longstanding Statement of Equal Opportunity … The principles fostered by ENDA are consistent with our corporate principles in treating all employees with fairness and respect. On behalf of our more than 80,000 employees, we appreciate your consideration and encourage Congress to enact this important legislation.”
The letter was signed by Denise Lynn, American's vice president for diversity and leadership strategies, Michael Wascom, American's managing director of international and governmental affairs, and Betty Young, American's national sales and marketing manager for the gay community.
All of us at PFLAG are proud of American for its strong stand in favor of our families, and proud that our official airline continues flying high in the campaign to secure equality for all.
For more information on how you can fly American and support PFLAG at the same time, click here.