A pair of unprecedented conferences, with the backing of major corporations, will take place next week in Dallas and Atlanta.


July 19, 2019


Washington, DC – Out & Equal Workplace Advocates announced today that major corporations with workforces in the South have joined together with the organization to bring together business leaders to strategize on creating cultures of inclusion in the unique circumstances of the American South.

These are the first-ever conferences of this type.

The leading corporate sponsors of this initiative are: AT&T, Lockheed Martin, and Cracker Barrel. Dozens of other businesses will be present.  Out & Equal is the worlds’ premier nonprofit dedicated to achieving global LGBTQ workplace equality.

Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates said:


“Diversity and inclusion are not just business terms, they are values that Southerners take pride in. In the South, people talk about hospitality, about caring for one’s neighbors, about standing up for one another. These conferences will draw attention to the gap between these values and all of the ways in which LGBTQ Americans are made to feel like they don’t belong in the South.

 “Businesses have a unique role in solving this problem. They are the place where people of varied backgrounds come together daily as team members who need to work together to solve problems. They serve as ‘embassies of equality’ in an otherwise-complicated landscape.

 “This is not altruism. Our business partners do this work because they understand the impact on the bottom line. When business leaders are intentional about creating a culture of inclusion, they see increased productivity and an improved capacity to hire and retain talent.”


Deena Fidas, Managing Director, Global Stakeholder Engagement said:


“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.

 “Businesses are uniquely positioned to provide LGBTQ-inclusive workplace policies to protect LGBTQ employees who are otherwise unprotected by federal and state policies. They can provide critical resources like healthcare and career opportunities to employees living in these states.

 “Out & Equal exists to foster workplaces where all people are equal, belong, and thrive. Our work in the South is about convening businesses to create the tailored resources that reflect the needs of this region, which is home to a large LGBTQ community and many, many allies.”


The conference in Dallas will take place on Monday, July 22, at the AT&T facility in Irving, Texas. The conference in Atlanta will take place on Friday, July 26, at an AT&T facility in Atlanta, Georgia. Reporters who are interested in attending should contact Noam Shelef at nshelef@outandequal.org.