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Living Proud as my Authentic Self at AT&T

04 Aug 2016 | Debbie Lang

When I joined the AT&T family in 1995, I decided to stop hiding my authentic self at work. So, I placed on my desk a lovely picture of my partner, Donna, and me from our 1st year anniversary. 

I remember that 1st year reading an email from GLEAM, AT&T’s LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG) at the time. They were looking for members to join.  My first thought was, “Wow, the company is OK with employees sending emails with LGBT information in them?”  But I slowly came to learn that AT&T was fully supportive of its LGBT employees and the community-at-large.

A few years later, I asked my manager if I could use a company-branded truck in the Pride parade.  I was so proud of myself for asking and proud of him for saying “Yes” so easily! I bought a banner that said, “We have partner benefits,” and proudly hung it on the truck. A group of employees walked alongside. I can still hear the crowd cheering and yelling, “Way to go!” and ”What a great company!”

The support our LGBT employees have from our company is totally heartwarming.

We’re inviting friends, allies and members of the LGBT community to participate in Live Proud as we celebrate awareness, empowerment, and most importantly, pride for the LGBT community.

In 2011, I joined the national board of LEAGUE at AT&T, the current incarnation of our LGBT ERG. Since then, I’ve held different roles within LEAGUE at AT&T. I’ve been communications director and was later the PR officer. Since 2014, I’ve served as the National Workplace and Mentoring Chair. I love this role because I help others bring their authentic selves to work. 

I get calls from members who need help with a wide array of issues: inquiries about partner benefits, employees wanting to know if it’s safe to come out to their boss, transgender members wanting to transition in the workplace. In my work with transgender employees, I partner with the employee’s manager, Human Resources, and the employee themselves to make the transition at work as smooth as possible.

AT&T is continuing its support of the LGBT community with our 4th annual Live Proud campaign from June 1 to Aug. 14.

We’re inviting friends, allies and members of the LGBT community to participate in Live Proud as we celebrate awareness, empowerment, and most importantly, pride for the LGBT community. There’s even an exciting sweepstakes where fans of Live Proud can win a trip to sunny Palm Springs, California.

To enter, visit att.com/liveproud. There, participants can share their true colors by taking a quiz to discover the color that best represents them this pride season. Then we’ll combine all participant photos into a single user-generated art piece that will express the power of pride. You can also use #ATTLiveProud on your social media channels to join the conversation.

I’m so very grateful for the opportunities I have with AT&T and the support given to me through our benefits package and strong Diversity and Inclusion programs. I’m so very proud to tell others what a great company this is for LGBT employees.

It’s been 20 years with AT&T, topped only by 24 years with Donna. And yes, I still have a picture of us on my desk.

To learn more about the AT&T Live Proud campaign that celebrates awareness, empowerment and pride for the LGBT community, please click here.

To learn more about AT&T’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, please click here to access the recently released Diversity & Inclusion Annual Report.

About the Author

Debbie Lang

Employee Relations Manager, Human Resources

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Debbie has more than 20 years of service with AT&T, has a passion for the company, and is an advocate for diversity in the workplace.  She currently works in Human Resources as an Employee Relations Manager on the Resolution team where she has a role in removing obstacles for employees so they can bring their "best self" to work.  In Debbie’s volunteer work with the LGBT Employee Resource Group, LEAGUE at AT&T she works as a liaison for members who have HR related questions such as benefit inclusions and workplace issues.

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