The American South presents rich opportunities for deepening LGBTQ and Ally engagement in workplaces to address the everyday realities of working and living in this region. A seeming patchwork of contradictions, the 13 states that make up the Southern region are the very states that do not have basic protections for the LGBTQ community in employment, housing, public services, and other key aspects of life. At the same time, there are many businesses committed to LGBTQ inclusion throughout the region.
Through the Southern States Initiative – launched in 2019 – Out & Equal builds upon regional momentum to support, protect, and advocate for the LGBTQ community. We convene businesses and workplace advocates at events. We generate tailored resources that reflect the needs of advocates in the region. We support efforts within companies to solidify their own LGBTQ+ policies and practices. (These provide important protections where state and federal laws are absent for our community.) And we support corporate advocacy efforts to impact public policy.