GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

GSBA Meets the CIA

We have had some really exciting connections with members of the federal government over the last few months.  Senator Patty Murray spoke at an April veterans roundtable about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, Gautam Raghavan delivered the keynote at our Scholarship Fund Awards Dinner in  May, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Commissioner Chai Feldblum met with community members to discuss the progress on LGBT employment issues in September.

Michael Barber, the LGBT Program Manager and Community outreach and Liaison for the CIA, recently reached out to GSBA.  He met with a small group of Board members and staff to introduce himself and talk about the opportunities within the Central Intelligence Agency.

Did you know that the CIA has been officially celebrating Pride since 1996?  Did you know that Don't Ask Don't Tell did not apply to the CIA (or FBI)?  The CIA is a founding partner of OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT personnel.

Echoing many of the same comments that we have heard from the business community in support of marriage equality, Mr. Barber told us that diversity is imperative in order for the CIA to attract the best people for the job.  While homosexuality was formerly seen as a security risk, due to the perceived risk of blackmail, the agency now fully welcomes a workforce "as diverse as America itself."  The CIA even has an official LGBT employee resource group called ANGLE.  It is widely recognized by both the business community and federal government agencies that equality and inclusiveness are necessities to attract and retain the best and the brightest employees.  Despite that recognition, employment practices inevitably come up against the hard wall of DOMA.  Working with the Obama administration, the CIA is currently investigating the possibility of tax gross-ups for same-sex couples who would otherwise be enormously disadvantaged by the lack of recognition under DOMA.

Mr. Barber will be returning to Seattle in the future to hold an event for the wider community.  Keep following the GSBA for details over the next year.

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