I have been a VA employee since 2005. I have always been open and honest with my co-workers about my identity as a gay woman (possibly because I just never was clever enough to do otherwise). I have always had pictures of my spouse with me, and I am more than happy to share about family vacations with interested colleagues. When my spouse and I were legally married three years ago, several colleagues attended the ceremony at the District of Columbia courthouse. I am happy to say that I have never been bullied, shunned or otherwise excluded because of my candor.
As an openly gay employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Serving with Pride” means many things to me:
- I can serve America’s Veterans with pride and confidence on a daily basis, without having to fear job loss or discrimination in hiring or promotion due to my status as a gay woman.
- As the daughter of a Veteran who knows fully who I am and is proud of me, I can use that insight to better serve other Veterans who contact VA.
- I can talk to my colleagues about my legally-married spouse in the same way they talk about their spouses.
- I don’t have to feel the constant stress of monitoring or censoring myself when I talk (appropriately) about my personal life.
- I don’t have to feel as though I am somehow inferior to my colleagues, and can enjoy their friendship and support for who I am.
- I can enjoy the same benefits – such as joint insurance – as all my other married colleagues.
Full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people within the VA workforce is a stated goal of the VA Office of Diversity and Inclusion. I am happy to work with VA toward this goal and to increase awareness of the contributions of LGBT employees to our Veterans’ well-being. Serving as co-chair and M.C. of the VA LGBT Pride Celebration has been a wonderful opportunity to advance that goal and meet many other people who are also serving with pride! We look forward to seeing you on June 12 at noon!
Dr. Amy L. Rose has been a VA employee since 2005. She has worked under both the Veterans Benefits Administration and VA Central Office (Office of Information and Technology). She has a doctoral degree in sociology (U.C. Santa Barbara, 1999) and project management professional certification. She currently lives in North Beach, MD with her spouse, Wanda, whom she legally married three years ago. Dr. Rose is also an ordained nondenominational Christian minister, and she and her partner are very active members at All Saints Episcopal Church, Sunderland, MD.