Imagine facing discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas—even hate crimes—simply because of who you love.
The fight against these injustices was the genesis of the Pride movement, says Linda Bodie, president/CEO at $55 million asset Element Federal Credit Union in Charleston, W.V.
“Our community needs affirmation and inclusion,” she says. “Pride is a celebration of our uniqueness.”
Bodie addressed a virtual Pride event held by CU Pride, an organization formed this year to promote the visibility of the LGBTQ community within the credit union movement.
Nearly 200 credit union leaders and friends attended the event, which featured conversations about LGBTQ issues, Pride-related video messages from credit union people, a discussion of and support for Juneteenth and Black Lives Matter, entertainment, and more.
“We need to amplify the voices of the unheard and underheard,” says Sam Jensen, training consultant at $1.2 billion asset Blue Federal Credit Union, Cheyenne, Wy. “We need to step up and say queer employees, members, and communities matter to us.”
Bodie encourages credit union leaders to include LGBTQ people on the board and on staff, and for the LGBTQ community to display their Pride by being openly gay at work, wearing their desired clothing, and not shying away from conversations about LGBTQ issues.
“I challenge you to start talking and don’t stop,” Bodie says. “Go back to your organization and do something to make yourself feel proud.”
To create an inclusive work environment, start by finding supporters in upper management, advises Lindsey Owen, manager of training professionals for PSCU.
"Gain sponsorship from leaders who can advocate for you and create a budget for you. You’ll need that to move forward,” says Owen, who notes that one in four people identify as LGBTQ. “You can’t do it all yourself. You need to involve allies, otherwise we’re just talking to ourselves.”
The event leaders issued a call to action for participants: