Workplace advocates Out & Equal will hold their 6th annual gala on April 25 to celebrate heroes of the LGBT equality movement. ‘Momentum’ will be staged at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco with Brigadier General Tammy Smith receiving the organization’s Advocacy Award.
Smith is the highest ranking openly lesbian officer in the US military, boasting 26 years of service. Out & Equal’s Chief Marketing Officer Teddy Witherington told 429Magazine that he was “just thrilled” that she would be honored.
“We already have a relationship with Tammy, she was a keynote speaker at our annual workplace summit in Baltimore last year. When she spoke you could hear a pin drop,” said Witherington.
Out & Equal settled on the name ‘Momentum’ given that it’s a word at the forefront of the community following the two recent marriage equality cases heard by the Supreme Court, supported by President Obama.
The event aims to build on the current acceleration in discussion on LGBT equality and celebrate advances made in the prior year, according to Witherington. However, he warned that equality in marriage was not the “last barrier,” as current discourse may imply.
“There’s now a growing awareness among our community and society in general that there’s the whole area of workplace equality that needs to be addressed,” Witherington added.
There are currently 29 states where it is legal to be fired for being lesbian, gay or bisexual. There’s 34 states where this is the case for transgender employees.
“We would obviously like to see no state [with this situation]. We will be working in a variety of ways with employers to ensure their employees can work within this,” Witherington concluded.
In advance of their event, Out & Equal will host a 2-day symposium aimed at bringing together LGBT executives. This will be a forum for a group which is “often without peer support” and will offer a chance for attendees to discuss what it means to be an LGBT leader.