FORT MEADE, Md. — At the National Security Agency (NSA), we recognize the diversity within our workforce
, and the inclusion of all people, drives the success of our foreign intelligence and cybersecurity missions. This National Coming Out Day we recognize the experiences among members of NSA's LGBTQIA+ community, who come to work authentically every day to help them meet their potential while in service to ensure the nation's security.
Each LGBTQIA+ employee comes to NSA with their own stories - their own version of what it means to be their true, authentic self. At NSA, our goal is to create a welcoming environment where the norm is for each person to work as their whole self, authentically, and without reservation.
"Coming out is a process, and something the people in our community do every time we start a new job, move to a new neighborhood, or meet someone new in the office," said Heidi Fosnaught, former Co-Chair of the Pride Employee Resource Group. "We hope that by sharing our experiences, we can encourage others to live authentically, and to know they are not alone."
Each level of leadership of the agency echoes the sentiment that inclusion is mission essential. Diversity in the workplace has demonstrated benefits and improves mission outcomes.
"I was utterly astounded by the welcoming reaction of the Agency. I came out to my tour mentor first, who helped me to ask the rest of the team to use my new name and pronouns," Kayden M. explains. "I found that I now feel confident at work. I feel like the person who I always was meant to be, and I am so grateful for the support and acceptance I have experienced."
Sharing experiences from the Pride community allow those outside to hear and see new perspectives from their colleagues, challenge societal norms and help bolster compassion in the work space.
"Connection on a personal level is key to true inclusion. This can translate into happier, more motivated teams that produce greater results," said Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility Director, Kathy Zuback."Creating that initial connection, or coming out, can be a celebratory and an anxiety-inducing activity, but it allows us to be all in with our self and with our community. At its most basic level, it is an incredibly brave act."
This Coming Out Day, we want to thank the strong, courageous, and generous members of our workforce that continue to share their stories, and choose to help the Agency understand what it means to bring our whole selves to work.