By Elliot O'Glasser, Human Resources Manager, Danaher Corporation
"We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity." George Takei
The month of June is LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) Pride Month in the United States, Europe and across much of the globe. Pride represents an opportunity to celebrate the history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement, raise awareness to discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people, promote equal rights, and increase visibility of LGBTQ communities.
2019 Pride is particularly important as it marks the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, NY which was one of the catalysts that began the modern LGBTQ Rights Movement around the globe.
Pride is also a time for me to personally reflect upon the progress that’s been made towards LGBTQ equality in my lifetime. I was born in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic was at its peak. I was still in high school when the Supreme Court decriminalized same-sex sexual conduct in their Lawrence v. Texas opinion. I had just graduated college and was entering the workforce when “Don't Ask, Don't Tell", a policy banning gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military was repealed. And most notably I didn’t have the right to marry a same sex partner until four years ago this month.
Despite all the progress that the LGBTQ community has made in the last two decades, a significant amount of work lies before us. Most US states don’t currently have laws prohibiting discrimination against students in public education based on sexual orientation. There is no federal law barring employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and in 28 states, you can get fired just for being lesbian, bisexual, or gay. And hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identify continue to increase year over year. In 2017 alone, there were a reported 29 hate crime related deaths of transgender individuals across the U.S., the highest number ever recorded in a single year.
Pride month at Danaher is important this year because we are launching the LGBTQ + Friends Associate Resource Group (ARG), whose mission is to create and cultivate an environment where the LGBTQ community can belong as their authentic selves and realize their potential. While Danaher has a history of promoting LGBTQ inclusive employment practices and has scored a perfect 100% on the Human Rights Campaigns Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the past six years, the launch of the ARG is another important step in our Diversity and Inclusion Journey.
I am proud to chair this ARG, I am proud to be a gay man and I’m proud to work for Danaher, an employer that values a diverse and inclusive workforce. I hope Pride month serves as an opportunity for LGBTQ individuals to share their stories, engage in open dialogue, and collectively develop a level of understanding that helps advance our shared purpose: Helping Realize Life’s Potential.
Wherever you celebrate Pride this year, do so authentically, safely, and proudly. Happy Pride!