The Summit will focus on creating a 21st century workplace that is fair to all working families, including LGBTQ families. According to the White House, the day-long gathering will spotlight “how we can strengthen our nation’s workplaces to better support working families, boost businesses’ bottom lines, and ensure America’s global economic competitiveness in the coming decades.”
The U.S. workforce contains approximately 5.4 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) workers and LGBTQ people currently face high risks of job discrimination with no adequate remedy under federal law. A lesbian couple (Julie and Betsy) from Michigan who are struggling to make ends meet and support their two-small children in a climate that is economically hostile to LGBTQ families like theirs, will accompany Family Equality Council representatives to the summit to share their story with other participants and urge policy changes that will help all families including families like theirs.
“We are a working family, just trying to stay afloat at the moment,” said Julie and Betsy. “We would not be able to pay our bills these past two months without help from family and friends. We are amazingly blessed to be able to attend The Working Families Summit and are looking forward to sharing our story to remind decision makers not to leave LGBTQ families out of policies affecting working Americans.”
In addition, actor Dan Bucatinsky, of the hit series Scandal, married father of two children, and a volunteer leader at Family Equality Council, will be part of one of the many Huffington Post Live Breakout Sessions throughout the day during the Summit. Dan will discuss his real-life journey to become a father through adoption, which is highlighted in his book, “Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?”
Attending as part of Family Equality Council’s contingent are: board vice-chair, Nancy Lyons, who will participate on a panel about workplace structures, Executive Director, Gabriel Blau, and Director of Public Policy, Emily Hecht-McGowan. Lyons is the is co-founder and CEO of Clockwork Active Media, a Minnesota based company known for its exemplary workplace practices and for fostering a collaborative, idea-driven culture that nurtures creativity, brain power and work/life balance.
“As Family Equality Council’s vice board chair, as a partner and a mom to our son, and as a conscientious business owner, I am thrilled to join the White House Summit on Working Families,” Lyons said. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with other leaders and sharing information on how my company recognizes, prioritizes, and focuses on the whole family – parents and children – in how we operate and interact. By empowering and enabling all employees, including LGBTQ workers, to make decisions about their life and their work, we create autonomy and greater commitment, as well as a shared value system. Feeling good about home and work creates a positive environment, reduces stress and improves performance.”
Only eighteen states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In all other jurisdictions, LGBTQ Americans must be wary of taking leave because their employer could use that as the “final straw” and fire them.
“At the foundation of every happy, healthy family is economic security – the ability to earn a living and the economic stability to provide for a dependent partner and children,” said Family Equality Council Executive Director, Gabriel Blau. “In addition to laws and policies that make it easier for working parents to provide for their families, LGBTQ parents need workplace protections to ensure they can’t be fired just for being who they are. We are pleased to have a seat at the table at this crucial Summit, so that we may educate political leaders, business owners, and family advocates about the disparities facing LGBTQ working families and the need to enact policies that protect them.”
To learn more about the White House Summit on Working Families, visit: workingfamiliessummit.org