Category Archive:   GLBTAM

June is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Awareness Month. The EQUAL! EBP (Employee Business Partner) provides activities to celebrate the contributions of the GLBT community and to raise awareness of the issues faced both within and outside the workplace that impact the lives of GLBT employees and employees with GLBT friends or family members.

EQUAL! encourages all employees to watch our pre-recorded events during June. Managers in supervisory positions are extremely encouraged to take the “Creating a Safe Workplace for GLBT Staff – A Class for Managers”.

GLBT Webcast Classes presented by EQUAL! on Alcatel-Lucent University (for ALU Employees)

Class descriptions and presentation slides are also available for each class at the above links.

Other Pre-Recorded EQUAL! Events

Choose from archived Webcasts from previous GLBT Awareness Events, National Coming Out Day Events and World AIDS Day Events: EQUAL! videos and other online archives

General Information

EQUAL! is an educational and support group that strives to help Alcatel-Lucent achieve its goal of an inclusive workplace for all employees. To learn more about the mission, goals and history of EQUAL!, visit the EQUAL! Home Page.

For any questions about GLBTAM events, feel free to contact Ryk Koscielski (EQUAL! GLBTAM Chair).

by John Fredette, EQUAL! Vice-President

I am left-handed. I always have been. I don’t know why. No one else in my family is left handed. I must have been born that way. When I began school I noticed other left handed people and I felt a connection with them even if never verbally acknowledged. I realized early on that society is set up for right handed people. That is the expected norm. But I have been able to make accommodations. Aside from being unable to use a fountain pen because my hand smears the ink as I write I do not find being left handed a liability.

I know in the past being left handed was seen as very bad. In fact, people were forced to change their natural left handedness and were made to write right handed. This often caused emotional distress for those unfortunate former left-handed people. The word sinister is derived from Latin for left handed which gives some idea of historically how people viewed the condition. On the other hand, it has also long been seen as an attribute of creative people – both Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo were left handed. It is estimated that about 10% of people are born naturally left handed.

In addition to being left handed I am also gay. With the exception of the comment about fountain pens, everything listed above about being left handed could also be said about being gay including the two great artists. I did not choose to be born gay, it is just who I am and have always been.

Fortunately for me, being left handed is no longer seen as sinister or even worthy of notice or comment . Unfortunately that is not the case with being gay. Some people not only notice, they feel compelled to comment upon and take action against people being gay. Being gay can still elicit very strong negative judgments.

Which is why the recognition of June as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Awareness Month is important. The movement to equality for the GLBT community has come a long way in the decades since the Stonewall riots in June of 1969 marked what is considered to be the start of the modern equality movement. Back then being actively gay was illegal. Less than 50 years later, gays can be legally wed in the same neighborhood where the Stonewall riots took place. But such equality is not available everywhere and there seems to be brewing a last ditch effort to limit equality rights. That is very unfortunate.

Alcatel-Lucent has taken an emphatic stand on the right side of this issue. We have a very comprehensive Global Human Rights policy which is explicitly clear in protecting the rights of individuals. EQUAL!, Alcatel-Lucent’s internal business partner organization has a full month’s worth of activities (internal link) available for people who want to increase their knowledge of the issues important to the GLBT community in our company. There is something for everyone to learn no matter what side of the issues one finds oneself on. I am delighted that, Christel Heydemann, our HR leader has offered her full support for the EQUAL activities:

“Alcatel-Lucent supports diversity programs in the workplace and embraces ensuring that all employees have a supportive work environment. Our Global Human Rights Policy was written to support these values and states that we prohibit discrimination against any employee or job applicant on the basis of age; disability; race; sex; color; religion; creed; national origin; citizenship; sexual orientation; gender identity, characteristics or expression; marital status; covered veteran status; or any other protected class and will treat everyone with dignity and with full respect for their private lives. June is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender awareness month. I encourage to participate in the events during the month.

Some day raising awareness will no longer be necessary and being a member of the GLBT community will be as unworthy of notice as being left handed. No one will even think to question why someone was born “that way.” The events EQUAL! is offering this month help to bring that day closer.

June is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Awareness Month. EQUAL! is planning activities to celebrate the contributions of the GLBT communities and raise awareness of the issues faced both within and outside the workplace that impact the lives of employees, friends or family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

Events during the month will include live events and webcast presentations. All employees are invited to attend.

The following activities are planned:

  • Live events & webcasts (live events from Naperville, Murray Hill & Velizy)
  • Icon guessing game
  • GLBT webcast classes (GLBT 101, GLBT 201, Creating a Safe Work Environment for GLBT Staff, Transgender 101)

Detailed schedule can be found on the internal pages.

Hope you enjoyed reading about the GLBT Awareness Month icons which were posted in June.

Did we miss one of your favorites? If so, feel free to share it with us.


Ryk Koscielski and Glenda Childress

Every week day in June, EQUAL! is posting information on a GLBT icon.

Today’s GLBT Awareness Month icon is Ruth Ellis – Activist.

“I never expected I’d be 100 years old. It didn’t even come to my mind.”

Ruth Ellis, who lived to be 101, was credited with being the oldest known lesbian and GLBT civil rights activist.

Ellis was born in Springfield, Illinois, at the end of the 19th century—the youngest of four children and the only girl. Her parents were born in Tennessee during the last years of slavery. Ellis’s father was the first African-American mail carrier in Springfield.Ellis attended Springfield High School at a time when very few African-Americans enrolled in secondary education. She was aware of her sexual orientation by the time she was 16. Ellis remembered her high school gym teacher as her first female attraction.

In the early 1920’s, Ellis met Ceciline “Babe” Franklin. They became friends and lovers for more than 35 years.
When Ellis moved to Detroit in the 1930’s, Babe joined her. The couple bought a house and Ellis started a printing business. She was the first woman in Michigan to own and operate a printing company.

Their house became the local hangout for African-American gays and lesbians. Known as the “gay spot,” Ellis opened her home for parties and dances, and never turned down a gay or lesbian friend who needed a place to stay.

In the latter part of her life, Ellis became a well-known figure in the GLBT community, first locally, then nationally.  She attended events and programs across the country, often as a speaker or special guest. She enjoyed dancing and socializing, even in her old age.

In 1999, Ellis’s life was made the subject of the documentary “Living With Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100,” directed by Yvonne Welbon. The film was screened at film festivals worldwide, and won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in 1999.

Ellis lived in three centuries; she passed away in 2000. The Ruth Ellis Center honors her life and is dedicated to serving homeless GLBT youth and young adults.

This information is sourced from

(photo source: Wikimedia)

Becoming an EQUAL! member is free and easy, simply go to EQUAL! membership page