In LEAGUE with equality

As the employee resource group prepares to turn 25, it celebrates equality gained at AT&T and focuses on anti-bullying efforts

Bates-McLemore.Theresa
Theresa Bates-McLemore

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

As Dallas prepares for the arrival of the national Out & Equal Workplace Advocates convention in October, LEAGUE, the LGBT employee resource group at AT&T, is making plans to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The AT&T group was the original LGBT employee resource group, begun after the first March on Washington in 1987, and is a model that has been recreated since then across corporate America.

LEAGUE held its national convention at the Melrose Hotel in Oak Lawn on Sept. 9, and openly gay Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns spoke at the Saturday night awards program about his “It Gets Better” experience (see story, Page 27). The group is beginning to prepare its own “It Gets Better” materials on behalf of AT&T, and in Burns’ honor, the group made a donation to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Several awards were given to Dallas LEAGUE members during the convention last weekend.

National Executive of the Year went to Gary Fraundorfer, vice president of human resources, who was honored for re-evaluating all company HR policies to make sure AT&T’s policies treat LGBT employees equally.
Fraundorfer recently joined the Resource Center Dallas board of directors.
“Awards from employees mean the most because they’ll hold you the most accountable,” he said.

But Fraundorfer wanted LEAGUE members to know just how committed to equality the company is.

“We mean it when we say we want things to be equivalent for spouses and partners,” he said. “The goal is complete parity.”

Among AT&T’s 11 latest initiatives to ensure parity is the addition of gender reassignment surgery to the company insurance plan for the company’s transgender employees.

John Cramer, LEAGUE’s national public affairs director, was among the recipients of a “LEAGUE Cares about Bullying” award. He said that the company has rallied around the group’s anti-bullying efforts.

LEAGUE President Theresa Bates-McLemore said she’s heard from employees across the company thanking her for the group’s anti-bullying efforts.

“I’ve heard heartfelt stories from straight people who said, ‘We didn’t know how to do this,’” Bates-McLemore said.

Cramer said that bullying is not just a gay issue and the LEAGUE campaign is helping employees across the company and others outside of AT&T as well.

The new chapter of the year award went to Puerto Rico.

“They took the League Cares About Bullying initiative to a new level,” Bates-McLemore said.

That chapter created an “It Gets Better” public service campaign with Telemundo.

LEAGUE has 45 chapters across the country with about 750 members. Nationally, the group provides scholarships to at-risk LGBT youth and contributes to the “It Gets Better” campaign and has awarded about $150,000.

Locally, LEAGUE supports the community in Dallas with Black Tie Dinner tables. Team AT&T will participate in the Lone Star Ride. And earlier this year the group made a $5,000 contribution to Resource Center Dallas to support its communications technology needs.

And the group supports its members.

For LEAGUE member Mark Carden from Atlanta, the group has had a much more personal impact. He was already working at AT&T when he came out.

“LEAGUE made me feel more secure about myself and the workplace,” he said. “It helped me grow personally and professionally.”

Look for Cramer, Bates-McLemore and other Dallas LEAGUE members in the parade and at the festival in the park. They’ll ride in an AT&T eco-friendly vehicle down Cedar Springs and give out T-shirts and beads.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Scott Griggs is running for Dallas City Council

Scott Griggs

Scott Griggs will announce his candidacy for the District 3 seat on the Dallas City Council on Monday, according to a press release we received this morning.

We don’t know much about Griggs, but his publicist is former Dallas Voice staffer Kris Martin, and his campaign coordinator is openly gay former DISD trustee Jose Plata. District 3, of course, is the seat once held by Ed Oakley for three terms until he stepped down to run for mayor in 2007. Since then, the seat has been held by Dave Neumann, who narrowly defeated gay candidate Joseph Hernandez in 2007. From the press release:

What: Oak Cliff resident and community leader, Scott Griggs, announces bid for Dallas City Council, District 3 post.

When: Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 @ 12:30pm

Where: Intersection Fort Worth Avenue and Jacqueline Drive (Northeast corner) near ALDI construction site and Cliff Manor Apartments.

Who: Scott Griggs is a proven business and neighborhood development leader in the City of Dallas. He has served in elected and appointed roles with Fort Worth Avenue Development Group, Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce, City of Dallas Board of Adjustment, Oak Cliff Transit Authority, Stevens Park Estates Neighborhood Association and helped create the Fort Worth Avenue Tax Increment Finance District. The young attorney and his wife, Mariana Tenorio Griggs, are passionate community volunteers who advocate for a livable, safe, sustainable and healthy District 3 and the City of Dallas.

Why: As a Dallas City Council representative, Scott Griggs will provide the strong, responsible, decisive, and trusted leadership that District 3 needs.

It goes on to say that Griggs’ campaign website, www.ScottGriggs.com and Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/ScottGriggs, will go live on Monday. City elections are in May.

—  John Wright

Stafford elected DIFFA/Dallas board chair

From Staff Reports

The Dallas chapter of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS this week announced the election of Mark Stafford as chairman of the organization’s board of trustees.

Vice chairs are Ron Brady and Carol Hatton. Darin Kunz was elected secretary, and Ed Hill is treasurer.

Clint Bradley, Brett Gray, Greg Haynes Johnson, Mark Mayland, Greg Nieberding, Beth Redmond, Dr. Brady Allen, Ferrell Drum and Donna Sedota have also been named to the board.

Stafford, a former trustee and founder/CEO of Revel Advertising said he is honored to have been elected chair of the DIFFA/Dallas board.
“We are all dedicated to supporting the foundation and working hard to raise funds and awareness for the fight against HIV and AIDS, so AIDS services in North Texas can continue to support those living with the disease,” he said.

DIFFA has granted more $4.5 million to local AIDS service organizations since 1988.

DIFFA’s 2010-2011 fundraising season kicks off Oct. 15 with the second annual Burgers and Burgundy, hosted by Chef John Tesar at the roof top pool at The House in Victory Park.

Other events scheduled so far include the DIFFA Holiday Wreath Collection in November and a major spring fundraiser.

For more information or to purchase tickets for a DIFFA event, go online to DIFFADallas.org.

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 08.06.10

RCD names new board members

Chuck MarLett and Linda Moore were elected by current board members to join the Resource Center Dallas board of directors during the board’s monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 2.

MarLett is a former vice president and associate general counsel for AMR Corporation, the parent company of Fort Worth-based American Airlines. He was one of the founders of the airline’s LGBT resource group, GLEAM, and served as its senior officer advisor.

MarLett is also a former co-chair of the board for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, was a founding member and director of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas and served on the boards Dallas Summer Musicals and Dallas Theater Center. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, an MBA from Wharton and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Moore is a former board member of the center who served on the center’s finance committee for five years and was board president from October 2005 to March 2008. She is also the co-chair of the center’s capital campaign.

Moore is a commercial litigation attorney with K&L Gates in Dallas and also served as a board member for Elder Power. Her passion for cocker spaniels led her to serve in several board positions for the American Spaniel Club and American Spaniel Club Foundation, and a black cocker spaniel she owns is currently one of the top 10 dogs in the country.

Gramick to speak in Dallas

Sister Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of New Ways Ministries, and Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministries executive director, will be the featured guest speakers about the movement for equality for LGBT people in society and the Catholic Church on Wednesday, Aug. 11, from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St.

Gramick, who joined the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the 1960s, obtained her masters degree from the Catholic school in 1969 and later earned her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania. While there, Gramick became friends with a gay man, and that friendship led her to begin ministries within the church for lesbians and gays.

Gramick eventually helped create three organizations for lesbian and gay Catholics, including, with Fr. Robert Nugent, New Ways Ministries.

However, in 2000 after more than 20 years of working with the LGBT community, Gramick was ordered by the School Sisters of Notre Dame — under orders from the Vatican’s Congregation For the Doctrine of Faith, which accused Gramick of having made grave doctrinal errors — to end her work and not speak publicly on LGBT issues.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens