One of the things that I love most about my wonderful Company is how involved Southwest is in the many communities we serve, including community partnerships with organizations with kindred missions.
And the one most dear to my heart is the partnership between Southwest Airlines and GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. It’s a partnership about telling the truth about my community … but it’s also so much more!
GLAAD focuses on giving a voice to the LGBT community to make sure we’re represented honestly in the media, that bias against the LGBT community is not tolerated unchallenged, and for educating people that we are just like any other communities. GLAAD tells the stories of struggles, triumphs, families, allies, and they tell those stories with integrity and respect.
GLAAD also gives back to their corporate partners, making sure they’re represented correctly and fairly in the media when it comes to LGBT issues—and we LUV them for that. Besides Southwest, GLAAD has wonderful support from all corners of corporate America including competitors like our friends at Delta Air Lines and American Airlines; financial institutions like Wells Fargo, Citi, and Prudential; and large corporations like IBM, AT&T, and Time-Warner. Nearly every major network (both broadcast and cable) on the books is a supporter of GLAAD.
Why is Southwest’s support of GLAAD important? Very simple. They share our basic principles: focusing on the situation or issue, not the person; maintaining the self-confidence/esteem of others; maintaining constructive relationships; making things better; and leading by example.
GLAAD lives by all of these principles that are central to Southwest’s success and Culture. And by adhering to them, GLAAD has become a powerful voice for many various stakeholders.
“Southwest Airlines is an airline by the People, for the People … all People from all walks of life,” said Linda Rutherford, Southwest’s Vice President of Communication and Strategic Outreach. “We get involved in organizations and associations—like GLAAD—that help connect us to people all over the globe so together we can celebrate a commitment to the communities we serve.” Herndon Graddick, President of GLAAD, agrees, saying, “By partnering with GLAAD, Southwest Airlines not only promotes the stories of their diverse Employees and Customers, but grows acceptance and understanding of the LGBT community across America. Every person deserves to be treated fairly and equally, and we are proud to work with Southwest Airlines to make sure that the voices of LGBT people everywhere continue to be heard.”
GLAAD has become a very personal cause for my partner and me. We’ve been fortunate enough to volunteer to attend the GLAAD Media Awards in NYC and San Francisco representing SWA over the past two years, and I can’t tell you how profoundly we’ve been affected by the people we’ve met and the stories we’ve heard. People like Ft. Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, who delivered an incredibly moving “It Gets Better” speech that has gone viral on YouTube. And Growing Pains actress Tracey Gold, who has become vocal in her support of the LGBT community. Or Zach Wahls, the Iowa man raised by two moms who delivered an impassioned speech to the Iowa State Legislature. Besides being contributors, my partner Kent and I have pledged to join with GLAAD as “upstanders” … not “bystanders.”
Southwest believes in GLAAD’s mission to change hearts and minds for our community. You can go to www.glaad.org to learn more about this organization!