Pride for FEW’s Veterans and LGBTQ+ Members

Pride is a word often heard in both the military and LGBTQ+ circles. FEW is an organization that supports both. How does the notion of Pride impact each of these groups and how can we better serve our members in both communities?

The word Pride has several helpful definitions. According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary, one such meaning is, “consciousness of one’s own dignity.” Merriam Webster adds a different emphasis with, “pleasure that comes from some relationship, association, achievement, or possession that is seen as a source of honor, respect, etc.”

As a woman in the military and now in federal civilian service, I personally and professionally relate to both definitions of Pride. Overcoming barriers (such as gender stereotypes) women expect to experience in the armed forces, I am aware of my own dignity as I pushed through every display of discrimination and every injustice. Pride in myself and what I knew I could accomplish allowed me to patiently earn the trust of my U.S. Army platoon. I am proud of my military service and achievements, as I am proud of each of you who has served your country in this capacity.

For those of you in the LGBTQ+ community, you know too well your own experiences of injustice, discrimination, and displays of hatred in and out of the workplace. And yet, each of you continue to rise with a zest for life and a tenacious spirit. You remind us of the continual need for advocacy; the colorful rainbow flag gives us a clear picture of the diversity we all aim for. I am proud of each of you for understanding your own worth and challenging the status quo.

We have learned that our allyship makes us stronger, as we work to eliminate inequity in the federal workplace. Let’s continue to amplify all our unique voices. During May, we lift up the work and service of our active duty and veteran members. In June, we honor the lives and legacies of our LGBTQ+ colleagues. None of us are alone as we continue with the bold grassroots efforts of FEW. While we place a special emphasis during these months, we know the fight for equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging continues every day, all year long.

Happy Military Appreciation Month! • Happy Pride Month!

Yours in Service,
Pamela H. Richards
National President
Federally Employed Women