History.

March 1975

AT&T Chairman John DeButts declares AT&T’s sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy in letter to the National Gay Task Force

December 1979

Corporate EEO office sends a “strong recommendation letter” to Bell System affiliate companies reconfirming commitment to sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy

1982

May: Lesbian and Gay Awareness (LGA) group forms at Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ, with bylaws, charter, and regular meetings

October: Lesbian and Gay Awareness group applies for Bell Labs recognition

December: Lesbian and Gay Awareness group denied recognition by Bell Labs, but continues to function without company support or recognition

1983

October: LGA changes name to Lesbians and Gays in Telecommunications (LEGIT) as members are assigned to multiple post-AT&T-Divestiture companies; scope expands beyond company-specific issues in ensuing years

(?): Small electronic mailing list (allegra!gg) formed for lesbigay employees in and around Murray Hill, NJ

1986

September: LEGIT members hold first meeting with Bell Labs affirmative action managers

December: LEGIT members hold meeting with Bell Labs AA counselors, employee counselors, and medical department

1987

June: LEAGUE-Denver began organizing

November: LEAGUE-Denver ratified bylaws, becoming the first LEAGUE chapter

1988

January: allegra!gg e-mail list renamed to research!gg and expands participation

April: Anonymous article, “The Invisible Minority”, published in the CENTERpiece affirmative action newsletter at Indian Hill (IL)

June: LEAGUE-Denver met with Denver Works executives and AA/EO counselors

Two gay employees at Summit, NJ complain of discrimination, speak to Division office and AA committee; they are invited to form a group

September: LEAGUE-Summit forms as recognized EEO group at Summit NJ

Pilot of Brian McNaught workshop sponsored by Middletown, NJ Diversity Management Center

October: Article entitled “Gay at AT&T”; published in the Division Affirmative Action newsletter at Summit, NJ

1989

April: Informal network forms at Columbus Works and considers forming a chapter of LEAGUE; participants join gg e-mail list

June: First Gay Awareness Week held at Summit, NJ

Members of LEAGUE-Columbus meet for first time over lunch and view Denver’s PFLAG video

Precursor of LEAGUE-South Jersey has table at Middletown and Lincroft Diversity Days

July: LEAGUE-Columbus displays gay awareness posters on AA bulletin boards

LEAGUE-Columbus members meet with AA Advisory Committee, which agreed to sponsor McNaught workshop and authorized LEAGUE to continue meeting

LEAGUE-South Jersey adopts charter and applies for Bell Labs Club recognition; multiple “concerns” raised by BL Club Board members

October: LEAGUE-Columbus begins weekly business meetings over lunch

Columbus OH publication, “Alive!”, includes article “Gay Couples Fight for Equal Treatment”, including interview with AT&T employee

November: BL Club Board approves LEAGUE-South Jersey in split vote

December: LEAGUE-Columbus members designed the “safe place” magnet

LEAGUE-Columbus distributed desk-to-desk flyer announcing LEAGUE’s existence and their first noon hour program. Contact person received much harassment

1990

January: LEAGUE-Columbus met with upper management of Columbus Works, who issued a memo of support reiterating the company EEO policy

LEAGUE-North Jersey forms as outgrowth of LEAGUE-Summit

March: LEAGUE member serves as panelist on Life Cycle Panel of prestigious Conference Board conference on Work and Family Policies in NYC

LEAGUE publicizes the 15th anniversary of the company policy on sexual orientation via the AT&T newsgroups on the Netnews electronic bulletin board

FOCUS Magazine prints 6-page article on company and employee initiatives related to AIDS

April: Six members of LEAGUE North Jersey meet with Anne Fritz, Manager of Corporate AA/EEO programs, for the first time and receive her support for LEAGUE

FOCUS Magazine makes first reference to LEAGUE, in editorial response to letter from a lesbian employee (“name withheld by request”)

June: Gay Awareness Week held at multiple Bell Labs locations

Affirmatively Speaking, quarterly newsletter of Middletown NJ Diversity Management Center, includes lengthy article on lesbigay employees

LEAGUE-Northern Illinois granted Bell Labs Club status

July: Panel discussion from Conference Board Conference printed in their magazine mailed to human resources managers throughout America

Bell Labs News prints full page article on LEAGUE and lesbigay employee issues

LEAGUE member presents invited talk at the AT&T Human Resources Director’s Council, at the invitation of Anne Fritz

August: LEAGUE-Northern Illinois granted EO group status and attained a seat on the Indian Hill AA Advisory Council

Chicago subchapter of LEAGUE-Northern Illinois established

research!gg mail list replaced by multiple league!X mailing lists as participation continues to grow rapidly

Sandra Rovira, lesbian partner of a deceased AT&T employee, sues AT&T for a benefit available to legal spouses of deceased employees

September: AT&T Central Florida Employee News publishes article announcing the formation of LEAGUE-Central Florida

Articles about gay employee groups, including LEAGUE, appear in Computing (Australia) and Computer Weekly (England)

October: safe place magnets distributed to all management at all Bell Labs Indian Hill locations

LEAGUE sends invited speakers to 2 meetings of the NPSO management team convened in Atlanta from around the country

November: LEAGUE sends invited speaker to Orlando EO/AA conference of AT&T Technologies diversity counselors from around the country

1991

January: IH and NSC EO published policy adds sexual orientation and marital status at request of LEAGUE-Northern Illinois

LEAGUE produces the “LEAGUE Family Album”, a collection of short autobiographical sketches of members, primarily those in long-term committed relationships, to help overcome society’s stereotypes

LEAGUE members meet with corporate benefits managers to discuss domestic partnership benefits issues

February: “Gay Pride Week” included in 1991 diversity calendar published in FOCUS Magazine

Article on LEAGUE-Metro DC appears in the Washington Blade

LEAGUE-NSC established as an ATTAC Club (AT&T Activities)

April: article titled “Gay Rights, Issue of the 90’s” appears in the NY Times and discusses LEAGUE

LEAGUE participates in ATTAC days at NSC

June: Lesbian and Gay Awareness week at dozens of BL & corporate locations

Lesbian & Gay Awareness Week calendar pulled from Bell Labs News at last minute due to external anti-gay pressure campaign

Article titled “Out of the Closet” appears in “PJ — Personnel Journal” and discusses LEAGUE and Gay Awareness Week

August: LEAGUE-Massachusetts holds first meeting

September: LEAGUE member participates as panelist at first national Invisible Diversity Conference in NYC; a dozen AT&T employees and diversity managers attend the conference

First display by a lesbian/gay bookstore in the cafeteria of the Network Software Center in Lisle, IL

October: LEAGUE-Columbus hands out lots of safe place magnets and cookies at the AA Fair

November: Bell Labs News includes LEAGUE and anti-gay harassment in multipage article on Diversity

Number of subscribers to league!X email lists exceeds 300 mark

LEAGUE-Atlanta holds first meeting

December: LEAGUE members meet with Hal Burlingame and Anne Fritz to discuss the management relocation plan as it applies to non-traditional families

AP Wire Service article on the gay market mentions LEAGUE

Cover article in Fortune Magazine mentions “gay-employee group” at AT&T and talks about McNaught Homophobia Workshop at AT&T

LEAGUE-Northern Illinois participates as one of 8 groups at first Diversity Day at Indian Hill

LEAGUE-Dallas forms, becoming the 15th national LEAGUE chapter

1992

February: First AT&T-wide LEAGUE conference in Orlando, FL

Orlando Sentinel has article covering the LEAGUE conference

March: Column in Time Magazine references “gay employee organizations ‘at companies ranging from AT&T to Xerox’”

LEAGUE-Upper MidWest holds first meeting

1996

January: LEAGUE splits into three groups

April: LEAGUE at LUCENT becomes EQUAL! at Lucent Technologies

May: Last joint LEAGUE conference in Chicago, IL

2006

December: EQUAL! becomes part of Alcatel-Lucent, following the merger of Lucent Technologies with Alcatel

2016

January: EQUAL! becomes part of Nokia, following the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent by Nokia.

2019

June: With the support of Nokia’s corporate teams, EQUAL! launches the OUT Leaders initiative — to enable the next generation of out LGBT+ leaders at Nokia.

2020

October: Expanding on the OUT Leaders initiative, EQUAL! launches Nokia’s first-ever LGBT+ talent development program, with an initial cohort of 14 participants from around the globe and across Nokia’s business groups.


Thanks to Ryk Koscielski for contributing to this history page of EQUAL!.