bp employees share why they decided to speak out in support of the Equality Act, having discussed their personal stories with staff members of the US Senate as part of the Human Rights Campaign’s Freedom and Opportunity for All Equality Act Advocacy Day on April 21.
The Equality Act is legislation that would add to existing laws that currently protect people based on race, sex, religion and other characteristics to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
My journey began as a child and has been progressing ever since. As kids, our parents taught us to seek out differences or unknowns and then learn and grow, together. The chance to explore the ‘other’ was beautiful and fascinating – whether it was knowing how rocks formed or why the new family down the block seemed to have a bonus mom. When I stop to think about it, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know someone in the LGBTQ+ community.
Soon after joining our bp Pride resource group, I learned that our government didn’t protect LGBTQ+ people in the same way it did others. What I do know, however, is that allies are critical in the journey for progress, equity, fairness and inclusion.
I was psyched when I was invited to join the Human Rights Campaign advocacy day and speak with the staffers of Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to share the bp journey in implementing non-discrimination protections at our offices and sites and why the Equality Act is important for all businesses and communities across the country.
I believe everyone can contribute to a stronger, brighter future for our nation and ourselves, and equal protections under the law will be key to that future – so however you feel you can contribute – go for it! Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) recently said “The truth of the matter is this nation’s ideals cannot be real for anyone unless they’re real for everyone”.
I know bp has my back and my LGBTQ+ colleagues’ too, as do Senators Durbin and Duckworth. I’m hopeful more of our elected representatives will join the inclusive arc of our nation and play a positive role in laying this needed foundation by passing the Equality Act.
Robin Hicks is a performance and OMS analyst for bp's Production & Operations
As a gay married man, being and feeling safe is a necessity I don’t take for granted. When considering the company I work for and where we live, I must think about how I will be received. I must also consider how legally protected my family and I will be if we were to be harmed. I work for bp at the Cherry Point refinery in Washington state. I work at bp not only because of its inclusive culture, but also because in most cases, it operates in states where my family has legal protections. Sadly, I know this isn’t the case for all my colleagues at bp.
That is why I was honored to be able to share my story with the staff members of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) when I joined the Human Rights Campaign’s Freedom and Opportunity for All Equality Act Advocacy Day on April 21. During this meeting, I was able to voice my support for the passage of the Equality Act, which would add to existing laws that currently protect people based on race, sex, religion, and other characteristics to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
My advocacy: Sharing my story was emotional, but important to me because I wanted the senators and their staffers to know what passing the Equality Act would mean to me and my family. I left that meeting asking for our stories to be shared with their fellow senators with the aim to create protections across the entire United States.
My hope: Speaking up is necessary to create action. I hope my story and the stories of others who participated in the advocacy day will make an impact and drive the nation to consistent protections for LGBTQ+ Americans.
Sal Paredes is the People & Culture Manager at bp's Cherry Point Refinery