The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) stands with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) community year-round, but June is nationally recognized as Pride month, and it’s a time to celebrate. As we close out the month, we’re reflecting and also turning our thoughts to the future.
On May 31, 2023, President Biden issued a proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month that “call[s] upon the people of the United States to recognize the achievements of the LGBTQI+ community, to celebrate the great diversity of the American people, and to wave their flags of pride high.”
On June 7, for the third consecutive year, DOE raised the Progress Pride flag—which signals inclusion of LGBTQI+ people of color, transgender people, and those living with and lost to HIV/AIDS—at its buildings in Washington, D.C., and Germantown, Maryland, as well as at the 17 national laboratories. The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., performed at DOE headquarters, and Secretary Granholm and federal staffers offered remarks supporting our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. For the first time, members of DOE’s LGBTQI+ employee resource group, Energy PRIDE, marched in the Capital Pride Parade with the Pride in Federal Service float.
“It is important to take time not just to acknowledge but to celebrate those core characteristics that make each of us who we are, especially in the face of a history of discrimination and repression,” says Acting Assistant Secretary of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Alejandro Moreno. “Doing so helps us build trust and understanding among all of us, making us a stronger team and moving all of us closer to a more equitable, sustainable future.”
“I am incredibly grateful for the many LGBTQI+ Americans who have worked in public service before me, because I would not be here without them,” says EERE Senior Advisor Jeff Marootian, President Biden’s nominee for EERE Assistant Secretary. “Their leadership and courage broke down barriers for people like me who want to serve their country.”
Diversity and Inclusion in EERE and Beyond
While we have made progress since the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, there is still work to do to ensure LGBTQI+ people are safe and respected in the United States. At a time where laws and proposed legislation in parts of the country directly target the LGBTQI+ community, DOE and EERE strongly support LGBTQI+ rights.
DOE weaves diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility into the fabric of the nation’s energy landscape, and that work starts at headquarters. For example, EERE hosts listening and communication sessions to obtain employee feedback from on any improvements that would make the office a more welcoming place to work.
Energy PRIDE connects LGBTQI+ staff and allies across the Department to promote diversity and inclusion through continuous learning. The group works closely with DOE leadership and the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity to ensure DOE’s culture and policies are inclusive of LGBTQI+ individuals.
“It is so empowering to know that our community is valued and supported at the highest levels of the Department,” says Margaret Kotzalas, president of Energy PRIDE.
Inside and outside DOE, community engagement is foundational to ensuring an equitable transition to clean energy. For this reason, DOE is hitting the road to visit diverse communities, starting in the Gulf Coast and the Southeastern United States, on its Energy Justice to the People Tour.
“I think meeting people where they are is the key to successful community engagement, because it increases understanding on a human level,” says EERE Senior Advisor for Diversity Terrence Mosley. “From there, we can create change together that advances equity, environmental justice, and economic revitalization to make life better for all Americans, especially those who have been disregarded or worse in the past.”
On this tour, DOE hosts workshops and community listening sessions where industry leaders, local governments, community stakeholders, and local businesses interact and share information about funding and support for disadvantaged communities. Read about our visit to the Rio Grande Valley.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility help deliver innovative ideas that can improve access to affordable clean energy for all Americans.
Happy Pride from EERE!