Outie Awards (the “Outies”) recognize individuals and organizations who are leaders in advancing equality for LGBTQ people in workplaces globally. Outies are awarded at the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit.
This award recognizes an Employee Resource Group (ERG) chapter that has been established within the last two years (the organization’s ERG can have existed longer than that but the chapter must be new). This award recognizes a new chapter that has made a bold impact at their company, federal agency, or non-profit in their first few years.
The 2021 New ERG of the Year Outie Award honorees are below. The Outie winners were announced at the annual Workplace Summit happening October 6-8, 2021.
Boeing Employee Transgender Family Members
The Boeing Employees with Transgender Family Members (BETFaM) was established in 2020 to create a community of support for family members of transgender and nonbinary people at work. The need was clear: family members of transgender and nonbinary people needed a private, safe space to ask questions, share their stories, and connect with other people going through similar journeys. BETFaM was able to provide that and much more. Knowing that family members show up at different places in their journeys – whether they are fully accepting, hesitant, or in need of additional tools – BETFaM aims to meet each member where they are at. One major accomplishment of the group is a broader distributed awareness of Boeing’s transgender insurance and healthcare benefits so that family members receive the best care the company offers. Thanks to BETFaM, employees across the company, from all levels, have connected and can support each other through the transition of a loved one.
In their own words: “Connecting with members and sharing our stories as been extremely comforting not only for me, but for my wife and daughter as well. To many of us, as supportive as we are to our transgender family members, it still comes as a shock to many of us who did not see this life change coming. We’re filled with questions, worries, anxieties, fears, and hopes… all kinds of emotions. With the group, you’re among others who understand. We’re in this together.”
Boston Celtics’s B.A.S.K.E.T.
B.A.S.K.E.T. (Boston Advocates for LGBTQ+ Safety, Kindness, Education, and Tolerance) is the first organized LGBTQ+ ERG to be founded at the team-level within the NBA and the first ERG at the Boston Celtics. It’s no secret that the sports community has a history of homophobia and transphobia. B.A.S.K.E.T. was created to address this troubling history and pivot into a new level of commitment to social justice and LGBTQ+ inclusion. B.A.S.K.E.T. prioritizes intersectionality and cross-collaboration with other marginalized groups within the NBA to foster a culture of belonging and mutual respect. Some of the achievements of B.A.S.K.E.T. in their first 10 months include: introducing an organization-wide pronoun policy, becoming the first and only NBA team to join the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, and conducting an internal audit of all LGBTQ+ benefits and policies to ensure full inclusion.
In their own words: “Our ERG is unique because it is of the first of its kind in the NBA, and because of the nature of the sports industry, which has often unfortunately seen homophobic and transphobic rhetoric. There are a handful of NBA teams with ERGs focused on diversity and inclusion in a broader sense, but we are the first in our league to focus solely on supporting the LGBTQ+ community.”
Emerson’s LGBTQ + Allies
Emerson Electric. Co.’s LGBTQ+ ERG, LGBTQ + Allies, launched in 2019 and continues to grow rapidly. In less than two years, the ERG boasts 12 chapters and members in 31 countries, including regions where the LGBTQ+ community faces significant legal and cultural challenges. Major accomplishments since the ERG was started include an organization-wide pronoun policy, the reexamination of longstanding company values to include inclusion work, global mandatory LGBTQ+ inclusion trainings, and the placement of an LGBTQ + Allies board member on Emerson’s Employee PAC board. Emerson’s LGBTQ + Allies is responsible for starting crucial conversations and enacting policy change for employees undergoing transitions, for those coming out in the workplace, and for the safety of LGBTQ+ employees abroad.
In their own words: “One employee, in his last year prior to retirement, stated that he feels more pride than he’s ever felt at work and wished he could work another 20 years to see what’s next! This year we received countless photos of employees in rainbow Pride clothing from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey to name a few!”