The LGBT Connection group is a group of individuals across BJC from all kinds of diverse backgrounds that are coming together to make BJC a better work environment and a better place for more diverse innovation. I have this passion of wanting folks to know that being lesbian or gay is just like being heterosexual. And so it’s just getting that word out. It is very important for me that I feel that I can be who I am in my place of employment and that I be respected in the same way as I respect everybody else. My son came to me at the age of 19 and shared with me that he is gay and it’s really my way of just supporting him. Even if you don’t identify as LGBT you may know a time where you knew a struggle that you had and all you wished was that you had someone to support you. (Some say) Gender identity, racial identity doesn’t make a difference, that it doesn’t exist. However, you know, it does in our current society. So you know what we can do is to make people feel welcome. Employees — break down those barriers for employees and for our patients so that they feel comfortable. I wanted to be the change that I’m hoping for the organization. We are a group of many diverse individuals, allies, and other members of the LGBT group and we meet once a month, third Thursday of the month, 5 – 7 p.m., and this year we’ve really been focusing on creating our charter, completing our charter, and just really trying to decide what we want our mission to be throughout BJC. This is the first employer that I’ve worked for in my entire life that’s had an LGBT Connection group. And it’s validating. It means I matter to them. It really makes me feel like my employer cares about me. I don’t feel like just another number on my badge. We’re very fortunate to have a very active LGBT Connection group. This connections group gives us a forum to have those very frank discussions and can share experience with their colleagues. That will make us that much better. So embracing diversity, embracing inclusion is just a core value of who we are and who we need to be. We have the connection groups that we have, the posters that are out about pride, that we have the booth at pride. I think that goes to say a lot about what BJC believes about their employees, gay or not.