The Foreign Service Journal, June 2022

42 JUNE 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL A gay FSO working in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion discusses what the initiative means for the LGBTQI+ community. BY THOMAS COL EMAN Thomas Coleman is a Foreign Service officer currently serving as a senior adviser in the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. His overseas postings include Brazil, Turkey, Israel and the Netherlands. In Washington, he has served in the State Department’s Operations Center, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs’ Office of Regional and Multilateral Affairs, Bureau of South and Central Asia’s Office of Regional Affairs, and Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ Office of Transportation Policy. He also served as president of glifaa, a State Department employee organization supporting LGBTQI+ employees. The opinions expressed here are his own, and not necessarily those of the U.S. government. Supporting State’s LGBTQI+ Workforce T he Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (S/ODI) is strengthening existing and developing new policy to integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) into our day-to-day work, which will make us a stronger, smarter and more creative institution. I am a gay employee, and part of my job in S/ODI is looking out for the inter- ests of our LGBTQI+ workforce, which has made great advances since glifaa was founded in 1992. This month we celebrate these successes, but I remain worried about LGBTQI+ employees’ ability to maintain the rights we have gained and pass on our heritage. Speaking as a member of the LGBTQI+ community, I am concerned by the ongoing, often vitriolic pushback against the transgender community living openly and freely and enjoying the same human rights as others. I worry about states banning children’s books because authors address topics like sexual ori- entation and gender identity. I worry about state laws that make it illegal to refer to any part of the LGBTQI+ community in front of children, even though many of those children have LGBTQI+ FOCUS A PROGRESS REPORT ON DIVERSITY