NSA Philadelphia employees celebrate LGBT pride

By Shaun Eagan DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Employees at Naval Support Activity Philadelphia recognized the history, progress and achievements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community during an LGBT Pride Month program June 28.

The event focused on raising awareness, promoting equality and learning about LGBT culture.

Zachary Wilcha, Independence Business Alliance executive director, served as guest speaker. The Independence Business Alliance is Philadelphia’s LGBT chamber of commerce.

“LGBT Pride Month is a commemoration of the Stonewall riots in 1969, with the celebration of our triumphs and the memorial of our losses in the presence of the global community,” Wilcha said.

Wilcha shared statistics regarding demographics, living and workplace environments, and gay and civil rights progression, while expressing concerns on legal protection.

“There are no federal laws right now that consistently protect LGBT individuals from employment discrimination,” Wilcha said. “There are no state laws in 29 states that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there are 32 states that do based on gender identity.”

Wilcha referenced a recent Human Rights Campaign publication identifying Philadelphia as one of the best cities for LGBT individuals to live in. The city was rated on laws against discrimination, municipality services, law enforcement services and the relationships between the municipality and LGBT community.

“In Philadelphia, we have a 100 score from the Human Rights Campaign on the Municipal Equality Index for what the city can do to be LGBT friendly,” Wilcha said. “If they were able to score more, they would have because Philadelphia received bonus points for enforced mechanisms in services provided to LGBT youth, LGBT homeless people and LGBT elderly.”

Navy Capt. David Ludwa, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support deputy commander, spoke about the observance and its tie to the military.

“The theme for this event is having pride in all who serve,” Ludwa said. “To me, this means officer, enlisted, civilians and families. It recognizes all who serve as equal contributing members of the total force.”

Wilcha praised federal employees and military members for their role in progressing LGBT rights. He said in almost every important Supreme Court case relating to LGBT, a federal employee or service member was involved.

The annual program recognizes LGBT military members and civilians for their service and recognizes the importance of diversity in the workforce and the achievements of LGBT individuals.

The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support and NAVSUP WSS equal employment opportunity advisory committees hosted the event.

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