IBM at Austin’s PRIDE Parade

This year, 150 LGBT IBMers and allies will march in Austin’s PRIDE Parade on Saturday, September 30, 2017. Spearheaded by a small group of OUT@IBM Austin members, the IBM parade experience will highlight IBM’s historic and industry-leading commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Last year, thousands marched in Austin’s PRIDE Parade and IBMer True Nguyen expressed the desire to see IBM take a role in Austin’s PRIDE parade: “I want some 8-bar Pride!”

PRIDE comes on the heels of the defeat of the Texas “bathroom bill” legislation — a discriminatory bill that IBM openly opposed. In fact, multiple teams of senior IBMers met with members of the Texas legislature over 130 times in recent weeks to advocate against the passage of the bathroom bill and discussed how it could impact the 10,000+ IBMers in Texas.

[Image description: 20 IBM leaders pictured at the Texas capitol building. They are all wearing rainbow 8-bar #InclusiveIBM t-shirts.]

IBM’s presence at this year’s Austin PRIDE Parade will include signs displaying key moments from IBM’s history of inclusion, pictured below. Parade marchers will wear a rainbow tie with a white button-down shirt, as a conceptual nod to IBM’s corporate status.

[Image description: An animated .gif of the below timeline.]
1899: IBM hires first women and black employees
1914: IBM hires first person with a disability
1935: IBM champions bringing women into the professional ranks
1943: IBM names Ruth Leach its first female Vice President, one of the nation’s youngest executives
1944: IBM is the first to support the United Negro College Fund
1953: IBM writes its first Equal Opportunity policy — a decade before the Civil Rights Act
1984: IBM includes sexual orientation in global Equal Opportunity policy
1984: IBM launches Global LGBT Council
1996: IBM provides same-sex domestic partner benefits for US employees
2002: IBM includes gender identity in its global Equal Opportunity policy
2012: IBM is proud to have over 40 openly Out Executives around the globe
2012: IBM appoints its first female President and CEO Ginni Rometty
2017: IBM launches official rainbow logo
2017: IBM scores 100% on Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for 14th year in a row
2017: IBM stands against discriminatory “bathroom bill” in the state of Texas

OUT@IBM members have been hard at work planning the parade, from organizing volunteers to float design and building. The float will feature an IBM Radio DJ as well as a light box with IBM’s iconic 8-bar logo that sequences through rainbow colors.

[Image description: Several IBMers building a parade float from wood and other materials.]

To register for the PRIDE parade, visit ibm.biz/atx-pride — and hurry! Slots are filling fast. Non-IBMers are welcome to join as long as you have at least one IBMer in your party.

Mia Moore is a Content Developer at IBM based in Austin, Texas. The above article is personal and does not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.