By Lorelei Erisis | August 3, 2018 | 2 Minute Read
As a queer, trans woman, and Massachusetts native, I’ve personally been involved in activism for trans rights and organizing within the LGBTQ community. And wherever I’ve been, Eastern Bank has been there as well.
They’ve stood solid as a committed partner and supporter of the LGBTQ community. In addition to marching in both the Boston Pride Parade and the North Shore Pride Parade, Eastern Bank’s LGBTQ efforts are visible and run deep into the community.
When Eastern reached out to me to write for them, I had no hesitation accepting. I felt like Eastern Bank was already a trusted friend—an ally, in the best sense of the word.
When we were fighting to win basic civil rights protection for transgender people in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Eastern Bank was there. They sat with us through gruelingly long days of testimony at both statehouses, on multiple occasions. Representatives of Eastern Bank personally testified in support of transgender rights.
Nancy Stager, Eastern Bank’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources and Charitable Giving, said that Eastern Bank has been so committed to the LGBTQ community and the struggle for transgender rights, “Because it’s the smart and right thing to do. As a company, we need to access the broadest talent pool and we can’t afford to have populations of talented individuals feel less than,” she said. “In my experience over the last 10 years of supporting trans rights, I’ve seen and heard stories that are just heartbreaking. And we’re personally and organizationally committed to doing whatever we can to make it better because it’s just wrong.”
Beyond supporting the transgender community, and marching in the Boston Pride Parade, Eastern Bank seeks to serve the entirety of the LGBTQ community. For five consecutive years now, they have had a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index. Their “Equality Under the Blue” employee network meets regularly with senior leadership to discuss issues that are of importance to their employees and the larger LGBTQ community. As an organization, Eastern Bank was an early leader in providing health insurance coverage for their employees that covers gender-related care and transition-related services and surgery.
And of course, as co-founders of the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Stager shared that they have, “…actually gotten some really wonderful resonance. We’ve got 45 small businesses already signed. And we have 12 large companies that are putting in $25,000 each to join as a founding sponsor. And we’re nowhere near done.”
Eastern Bank is right there, joining us for good. When President Donald Trump signed a discriminatory directive banning transgender people from military service, Eastern Bank put up a billboard that read, “Good salutes all those who serve our country. All.” with the letters in “All” representing the colors of the transgender flag.
Eastern Bank continues its long commitment to serve the transgender community as a co-chair, along with Harvard Pilgrim and Google, in the business campaign with Freedom For All Massachusetts. They stand with us to fight against the attempted repeal of our still new, and popularly passed law providing, or rather affirming, those basic rights and protections for transgender people that were placed on the state ballot this coming November.
Eastern Bank’s LGBTQ efforts are neither new nor surprising. They were the first company in the country to sign GLAAD‘s brief asking the United States Supreme Court to strike down the pernicious Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as “DOMA.”
“Eastern’s revenue and bottom line have grown every year,” said Stager. “And our commitment to help protect the rights of people who want to live an authentic life doesn’t diminish our business at all. In fact quite the contrary—people appreciate a company being willing to step out and say what everybody’s thinking.”
That’s a business sentiment so sensible, and kind, that my Yankee-Irish grandmother would have heartily approved. I do too.
Join Eastern Bank in supporting the LGBTQ community generally, and the transgender community specifically, as they continue to fight with us to protect our rights and enrich our lives.