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CIA Celebrates Pride Month

Throughout the month of June, CIA is hosting a series of events, panels, and activities celebrating the progress toward equality for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

During our keynote event held at CIA Headquarters the first week of June, Director Haspel introduced Major General (MG) Tammy Smith, the highest ranking and first openly gay general in US history. Director Haspel described MG Smith, saying, “She refused to give in to discrimination, stayed riveted on her goals, and proceeded to blaze a trail that will go down in the history books. Today, Major General Smith is widely recognized as a pioneer in helping LGBT men and women to fully contribute—and fully belong—to the Army family.”

This event is one of several CIA activities celebrating Pride Month, including participation in the Capital DC Pride Festival and the 7th annual IC Pride Summit, of which CIA was a founder. CIA hosted the first IC summit in 2012, and the summit has grown each year. This year also marks the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Agency Network for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Officers and Allies (ANGLE), CIA’s Agency Resource Group for LGBT employees.

A History of Pride at CIA

Before 1995, LGBT CIA officers were considered a security risk for potential blackmail by foreign intelligence services and officers could, and did, lose their jobs if they admitted to being, or were thought to be, LGBT. This began to change when President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order (EO) 12968 banning the withholding of security clearances from members of the LGBT community.

The EO sparked the push for diversity and inclusion inside the CIA and inspired three courageous LGBT officers to found ANGLE in 1996. The officers, two lesbians and a transgender woman within the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, stood up and banded together to try and create a working environment that was equitable to all employees regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The journey was not always easy and the evolution of changing the embedded internal culture of the CIA to be more diverse and inclusive was a monumental tasking.

Throughout the years, ANGLE sought out senior champions and allies, collaborated with other Agency employee resource groups, worked with policy offices, and educated the workforce on LGBT issues and concerns. In addition, ANGLE worked closely with the Diversity and Inclusion Office and its predecessors on community outreach efforts to LGBT professional groups and organizations outside the CIA to share their experiences. ANGLE was also instrumental in creating IC Pride, a resource group made up of members from agencies across the Intelligence Community (IC).

ANGLE today has hundreds of members, including allies and senior champions, and is one of the longest-standing employee resource groups in the IC. The theme of this year’s Pride Month is “Generations of Pride: Leadership at Every Level” and it will examine the impact an individual can have in the LGBT community, or in any community, when they exude leadership and successfully work with others to accomplish a common mission or goal. Whether a Major General in the US Army, intelligence officers at CIA, or an athlete swimmer at Harvard University, we all have something unique to contribute and can lead from wherever we may be.

For more information on ANGLE, CIA inclusion efforts, and CIA Pride, see:

Posted: Jun 25, 2018 11:29 AM
Last Updated: Jun 25, 2018 11:46 AM