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
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.