I’m proud of our United Way for our focus on diversity and inclusion, and it’s one of many reasons why I choose to spend my days working here. Over the past several years, we’ve changed our policies to be more inclusive of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community by requiring all agencies that we fund to sign a sexual orientation non-discrimination policy and providing domestic partner health benefits for our own employees.
Now, we’re embarking on outreach into the GLBT community. This past week, we participated in the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (agliff). The festival always has an impressive showing of international films and this year featured 120 films from 21 countries. My personal favorites were The Bubble, an Israeli-Palestinian love story set in Tel Aviv, and Poltergay, a hilarious French spoof on ghost flicks and 70s disco fever.
We were involved in the film festival in a couple of ways. United Way Capital Area placed an ad in the agliff program book, distributed materials at the festival, and sponsored two films which included speaking for a few minutes to the film audience. We were paired with Through Thick & Thin, a documentary about seven bi-national gay and lesbian couples whose lives are dramatically affected by the current US immigration laws, and My Super 8 Season, a story of the friendship between two young activists in Paris in the early 1970s.
Our future plans for GLBT inclusion & outreach include distributing our materials at University of Texas at Austin Pride and celebrating National Coming Out Day on October 11 with an internal Lunch & Learn where staff will tell their stories of coming out as GLBT themselves or having a family member who is GLBT.
Every day in Austin, we’re working to ensure each child has access to high-quality education, every family has the tools they need to be financially stable, and health and human services are readily available for all.