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Meet Chris Lee, a Technology Advocate for Armed Forces Bank and proud member of the LGBTQ+ Community. Over the past 6 years, Chris has contributed to the bank in ways that go beyond his role:
He serves on the Pillar Champion selection committee, which recognizes associates who best exemplify our company values in their work and actions. He also served on the Brand & Culture Enterprise Priority Committee in 2022, helping identify areas where we can improve training and communications to make our culture more cohesive and inclusive.
Chris views Pride Month as a time to reflect on how far the LGBTQ+ community has come. Specifically, it’s a chance to celebrate the inclusive representation in municipalities and state houses across the country, the US Congress, and within the current administration.
“Pride is needed to celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community and bring to light the rights we must still fight for. It is also a time for those who’ve had to deal with conditional love to feel a sense of community and celebrate with their biological or chosen families that support them.”
Trish is a Veteran who has worked with Armed Forces Bank for 3 months. As a Corporate Recruiter, they get to recruit candidates to fill roles in every department in our Corporate HQ. Beyond their role, Trish is a carefree, positive person and a Kansas City sports nut who loves cheering for the teams in our town.
For Trish, Pride Month means paying tribute to those who started the gay civil rights movement in 1969 at the Stonewall Riots. It also means celebrating the existing LGBTQ+ freedoms and continuing to resist the laws and bills that are currently being proposed throughout the country. Today in 2023 there are 471 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the US, including 48 in Missouri and 13 in Kansas.
“We must be visible and show we have always been here, and we are not going away.”
Hailey is the AVP, Military Banking Center Manager for Armed Forces Bank on Nellis Air Force Base. She has worked with us for 15 years!
Hailey describes herself as a wife and mother first. She is also a self-proclaimed “geek” and a bookworm who loves reading and will read just about any style of book or comic.
Hailey grew up in a time when the word “transgender” wasn’t known or talked about. She knew she was different since she was very young but couldn’t put it into words. That’s why Pride Month is so special to Hailey: it shows members of the LGBTQ+ community that they are not alone and shouldn’t have to hide who they are.
She hopes that trans children in the future can exist without having legislation being passed to erase them or have their parents arrested for supporting them. Hailey would also like to see individuals stand up for the rights of all people instead of silently watching the eradication of trans rights.
Josh is a Senior Internal Auditor who has worked with us for 8 years.
Josh enjoys athletic activities, including walking his dog (Murphy), swimming, water polo, playing golf, and participating in the Stonewall Kickball and Sand Volleyball leagues (an LGBTQ+ and Ally community-based sports organization).
For Josh, Pride Month represents his freedom and ability to love who he is and openly love the person he chooses without stigma and shame.
He believes that celebrating LGBTQ+ rights is important because it shows community support for those who are struggling or have struggled with their identity.
For the future, Josh hopes that all anti-LGBTQ+ bills are reversed and that protections are put in place so people don’t have to hide who truly are.
Kathleen is a branch supervisor at Nellis Air Force Base and has worked with our bank for almost 8 years
Her main goal in life is to spread kindness everywhere she goes. She enjoys staying at home with her 3 precious furbabies and binging TV shows with her wife.
Pride Month means a lot to Kathleen. For her, it’s the time of year to uplift our peers, spread positive vibes, and show that we shouldn’t be afraid. Throughout June, Kathleen has been attending different Pride festivals and events with her friends and wife.
She believes that having visibility of LGBTQ+ rights encourages people to stand up for each other and also reminds them that they are loved. “This brings a lot of joy and happiness within the community especially knowing there are others who support LGBTQ.”
Myra has been with us for 5 years and works in IT as an Access Management Specialist.
For Myra, Pride Month is a celebration of humanity’s diversity and a wonderful way to bring visibility to groups that some people simply don’t understand.
As a trans woman who has recently started transitioning, Myra emphasizes the significance of visibility of LGBTQ+ rights. She recognizes that knowing someone who has already gone through the transition process can provide invaluable support, guidance, and reassurance to individuals who are considering or beginning their own transitions. She wishes she had this visibility earlier on.
In Myra’s ideal world, a trans woman can walk down the street and be seen as any other person: deserving of respect and the opportunity for meaningful connections. She hopes that gender and sexuality are not defining factors for individuals and that people won’t face persecution simply because they don’t fit into a limited set of predefined molds.
While achieving this vision may still be a work in progress, Myra finds hope in the love and acceptance she and other LGBTQ+ individuals receive in our organization. It serves as a reminder that change is possible and that progress can be made towards a more inclusive and understanding society.
“Society may not be there yet – but we show, every day, that we can get there, given time.”
Neal has worked with us for 24 years and is the Senior Vice President in Deposit Operations.
Neal is a hard-working, determined, and private (yet fun-loving) person. Many would describe him as an “introverted extrovert.”
For Neal, Pride means the LGBTQ+ community continues to move in the right direction. It represents the growing opportunities for this marginalized group to bring attention to themselves as human beings. “While we are all different in our own ways, we are all the same; people trying to do their best and live a life with their loved ones where they can be successful and happy.”
While many people participate in parades and other community events, Neal is content observing in his own low-key way: “To me, every day I go to work, do my best, and love my loved ones, which is a true embodiment of celebration.”
Neal hopes for a future where people can lead their lives freely, without limitations based on their sexual orientation or whom they love.
Our associates envision a future with equality and inclusivity for all individuals. Advocacy, activism, and continued dialogue are essential in driving positive change and bringing about the future that we hope for.
As we close out Pride Month, we thank our wonderful associates for sharing their stories! In addition to serving the military community, we at Armed Forces Bank strive to cultivate a workplace culture that embraces and uplifts individuals from all backgrounds. This is not limited to a specific time frame. Acknowledging and supporting the LGBTQ+ community beyond Pride Month in June is crucial in creating lasting change and brighter futures for our associates and their loved ones.