O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) Flight Service Supervisor David Cox has spent greater than a decade trailblazing a path that connects American and the LGBTQ neighborhood in Chicago. He co-founded the ORD chapter of American’s Pleasure Worker Enterprise Useful resource Group (EBRG) representing LGBTQ staff members and their allies in 2010, and since then, he’s constructed significant partnerships with native organizations to strengthen American’s dedication to range, inclusion and fairness.
Along with his day job of supporting nearly 150 flight attendants, David serves because the International Lead for the Pleasure EBRG and oversees 21 Pleasure chapters spanning the US, Europe and South America. He’s passionate concerning the group’s collective mission to coach others and advocate for LGBTQ points. “We will continue raising awareness until the world recognizes that gay rights are human rights,” David mentioned.
David believes there are parallels to the present demonstrations protesting systemic racism and injustice African Individuals expertise with the Stonewall riot of 1969 — when police brutality towards patrons of Stonewall, a homosexual bar in Manhattan, sparked a motion and marked a turning level for the wrestle for homosexual rights.
“Whether you’re discriminated against by race, religion or sexual orientation, every group’s struggles intersect at equal rights,” David mentioned. “The older generation paved our way and we have to continue building on that progress. In the beginning, the LGBTQ community just wanted the right to be open in public without fear of reprisal. Then we fought for gay marriage. Once you have success, you have to keep pushing forward for more.”
One yr after Stonewall, activists led the primary of what’s now often called a homosexual satisfaction parade. Since then, satisfaction parades have been a logo of celebration of the LGBTQ rights motion and largely noticed in June, which has been designated as Pleasure Month. This yr, parades all through the world are canceled as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, leaving a void for the LGBTQ neighborhood and its allies throughout Pleasure Month. However American’s Pleasure EBRGs are celebrating just about, utilizing video conferencing and different on-line platforms.
“When I march in the pride parade, it’s like saying to the world, ‘This is who I am and I’m proud of it,’” David mentioned. “But it’s also an honor to commemorate what took place during the Stonewall riots. All of that can’t stop because of the pandemic, so we’re just celebrating the way we can right now.”
A revered member of the neighborhood, David spearheaded American’s partnerships with the Middle on Halsted and Howard Brown Well being, two organizations devoted to the well being and well-being of LGBTQ individuals within the Chicago space. Each organizations turned beneficiaries of funds from American’s Regional Council, which helps organizations which are necessary to staff members and demanding to the local people. David introduced his mission to life by partaking with a whole lot of individuals in youth and senior packages and rallying staff members to varied volunteer occasions. Of observe, David and Pleasure EBRG deliberate and produced the Middle on Halsted’s 2019 Youth Promenade, an inclusive promenade evening for younger adults within the LGBTQ neighborhood.
David believes studying about different individuals’s experiences will carry everybody nearer, which is why he began the Pleasure EBRG’s annual range seminar in Chicago to give attention to transgender consciousness. The seminar educates attendees on points that can assist them higher perceive American’s transgender clients and colleagues. The seminar featured staff members and representatives from the Middle on Halsted, Howard Brown Well being and a brand new accomplice, GenderCool, that highlights transgender teenagers to assist individuals perceive transgender and non-binary youngsters.
Wanting again on the final ten years, Franco Tedeschi, American’s Vice President of Operations in Chicago, Europe and Asia, remembers when David began the Pleasure EBRG at ORD.
“I’m proud of David’s leadership and all that he’s done to create a strong relationship between American and the LGBTQ community in Chicago,” Franco mentioned. “Even more so, I’m proud of his commitment and ability to inspire others by his own actions.”
David is a 2018 recipient of American’s highest honor, the Chairman’s Award, and he accepted the Middle on Halsted’s Company Spirit Award in 2019 on behalf of the ORD Pleasure EBRG. His fellow staff members are impressed by his ardour to attach individuals and have fun their variations, and David says that’s the important thing to creating neighborhood. “Maybe my greatest accomplishment is being part of a wonderful team that I rely on to accomplish collective change.”
David recollects a time in his life when he didn’t really feel accepted by society for being a homosexual man. He shares his expertise with others, to allow them to recognize the struggles felt by the LGBTQ neighborhood and push ahead for change.
“I’m proud to be part of an airline where I know I can be myself every day. The little things American does to embrace its team members mean so much when you were not afforded the same respect at other points in your life.”