Pride 2021: Pride At Work

Guest post by B.A. Schaaff from the Department of Labor and vice president of Pride at DOL
Guest post by B.A. Schaaff from the Department of Labor and vice president of Pride at DOL
(image via Pride at DOL)

Guest post by B.A. Schaaff

Pride Month is a chance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people to be proud and visible in a world that tells us not to be. Pride Month is a chance to celebrate and honor the work of LGBTQ+ people as we fight every day for equity and inclusion in society, in the law and in our workplaces.

Thanks to the tireless work of advocates, we’ve had many recent encouraging wins at the national level:

  • Last June, in Bostock vs. Clayton County, the Supreme Court affirmed that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • In January, President Biden issued an Executive Order 13988, Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, and  another executive order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which includes LGBTQ+ persons. He also rescinded a 2020 executive order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping that had a chilling effect on diversity and inclusion training programs among federal agencies and contractors.
  • The Biden-Harris administration has stated strong support for the Equality Act, which would amend existing federal civil rights laws to expressly include non-discrimination protection on the basis of sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), providing security and equality to LGBTQ+ people in accessing housing, employment, education, public accommodations, health care and other federally funded services, credit and more.
  • In March, President Biden became the first U.S. president to recognize Transgender Day of Visibility.

In the past year, anti-racism protests have sparked important conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion. The Department of Labor has recommitted to being an inclusive workplace, and continues to offer trainings related to sexual orientation and gender identity, including those related to the use of gender-inclusive language and pronouns. I’ve been proud to provide these trainings and support those efforts as a vice president of Pride at DOL, an affinity group for the department’s LGBTQ+ employees and contractors and our allies.

As part of the department’s efforts to implement the sexual orientation and gender identity executive order, our Civil Rights Center – a member of the Title VI/Title IX Interagency Working Group led by the Department of Justice – will serve on the Title IX and Executive Order 13988 Committee. This committee will serve to provide opportunities for interagency collaboration to advance EO 13988’s goal of protecting individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, ensuring the Bostock decision is applied to Title IX and other relevant statutes, and making federal agencies welcoming to LGBTQ+ people.

The department is also working to reverse the impact of the prior administration’s executive order on diversity training. Our Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs is examining promising practices for diversity training as one component of broader efforts to eliminate bias from employment practices. In addition, the department is conducting an equity review to better understand how well our policies and programs are reaching historically underserved populations, and launched a related data challenge.

But there is still more work to do, and our pride can come at a price. Being visible sometimes means being exposed to harassment, discrimination, and violence. This is especially true for transgender people, particularly those who are women and people of color. Equity and inclusion require creating an environment — through language, policies and practices — that not only tolerates but recognizes and affirms people’s identities and relationships. Only with this can employers create a sense of belonging and value in their organization.

So as we celebrate Pride Month this year and every year, let’s recognize all the work that has been done and that is necessary to keep pushing forward.


B.A. Schaaff (they/he) is an attorney in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor and is vice president of Pride at DOL.

Earth Day 2020: Uniting The World For Climate Action

(image via TheOUTfront.com)

Guest post by Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

While a picture is worth a thousand words, some images tell stories which change the course of humanity and whose values are immeasurable by any standard known to mankind. Such is the case of the photograph taken in 1968 by the crew of Apollo 8 and became globally known as “Earthrise.”

Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains:

Today the Blue Planet marks not only the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but even during a global pandemic and social distancing, the world is coming together in one common goal, Climate Action. The vision is straightforward and simple. From the website:

“Our world needs transformational change… As an individual, you yield real power and influence as a consumer, a voter, and a member of a community that can unite for change… When your voice and your actions are united with thousands or millions of others around the world, we create a movement that is inclusive, impactful, and impossible to ignore… The time is long overdue for a global outpouring of energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to create a new plan of action for our planet. Earth Day 2020 can be the catalyst that galvanizes an unparalleled global collaboration.”

How can you help S.A.V.E. our planet?

For 24 hours “Earth Day Network” will be inspiring change with streaming content bringing viewers together for performances, teach-ins, calls to action, and global conversations meant to empower people to make a better environmental future for our planet.

Earth Day Network LIVE

“We must build the largest, most diverse online mobilization in history in defense of the environment. Our world needs a united response for bold action.

On Earth Day 2020, we say enough is enough.
We say we believe in science. We say that everyone can make a difference.
We say that the protection of our planet and the wellbeing of the people who live upon it are the top priorities.
On Earth Day 2020, we say that we’re committing to vote, we’re registering to vote and we’re showing up to vote.
Human health and planetary health are inextricably linked.
Learn more about Earth Day activities, Climate Change information, and joining forces with others around the world making a difference in their future at EarthDay.org

Our Planet Our Home credit: Ernesto Yerena Montejano)

Lawrence Pfeil, Jr., is a freelance writer/playwright who has reviewed film and theatre, both on and off-Broadway, for media outlets including The Randy Report, the New York Blade, and Edge Publications. You can follow him at TheOUTfront.com.

Guest Post: Belonging With Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg on the campaign trail (all photos – PeteForAmerica)

Guest post by Joshua Grotheer

At a time when it’s “us” vs. “them” or left vs. right or red vs blue, I’m tired.

I’m tired of the fighting. I’m tired of the hate. I’m tired of the divisiveness of politics. I’m tired of losing friendships over who someone voted for or supports. I’m tired of hurtful conversations while sitting in the church pew or around the family table.

As the gay son of a United Methodist preacher and raised with Fox News on the television, I’ve always felt that I didn’t belong. I didn’t belong in my church, in my own home or in my Southern conservative community.

Thankfully I attended a performing arts high school that celebrated those of us who were different.

In college, I knew that my social and political beliefs were different from my family. I also knew it was okay to be different.

Now, at 32 and a self-proclaimed “recovering United Methodist” I am drawn to a candidate for president who has built his entire campaign around inclusion and belonging.

You see, Pete Buttigieg knows what it’s like to be different. An out gay man who is also deeply religious isn’t something I ever thought possible, much less presidential. He sees the differences in humanity and is celebrating our differences by uniting us with shared values.

If the last three years have taught me anything, it’s that I’m ready for a breath of fresh air in Washington.

Pete and Chasten Buttigieg

I’m ready for something different.

I’m ready for an outsider who understands the marginalized.

I’m ready for a president that leads with values.

I’m ready for a president that acknowledges that God does not belong to a political party.

I’m ready for decency to return to the White House and to the Office of the President.

I’m ready for someone better.

I’m ready to vote for a 38-year old Naval Intelligence officer who is a devout Episcopalian from the Midwest who makes me feel hopeful.

I’m ready to vote for someone who is uniquely positioned to bridge the divides tearing this country apart.

I’m ready to vote for Pete Buttigieg for President.

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Follow Joshua Grotheer on Twitter @joshuagrotheer