***Update 6.28.22 – Article has been updated with the TVA’s response to our inquiries.***
Image Credit: Background Image – NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive / Public Domain & Screenshots by Tennessee Conservative source who wishes to remain anonymous
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in keeping with their Pride wish for “everyone to celebrate their authentic selves” during the month of June, live streamed two drag queens for an hour during the workday on Wednesday according to our source.
Lindsay Sneckenberger, an “ally” and Senior Consultant in Financial Services headed up the event which featured one of the drag queens dressed up as the devil. A website devoted to teaching children about transgenderism through Gender Unicorn was also promoted in a live chat.
Sneckenberger who is listed as a “Diversity and Inclusion advocate and champion” on LinkedIn, and whose responsibilities include “building relationships with colleges and universities to attract and develop business professionals” helped host a LGBTQ+ Student Summit last year on behalf of TVA in a joint sponsored event with BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
The Student Summit was a two-day virtual gathering of LGBTQ+ students and allies at colleges and universities across the Tennessee Valley designed to “provide students the opportunity to learn about different companies, network with peers and professionals, and gain insight on bringing their authentic self to work.”
The agenda for the event included such topics as Identifying as LGBTQ+ in the South, Navigating a Dual Identity – Being a LGBTQ+ Person of Color, and How Do You Come Out at Work?
TVA created an employee support group in 2015 called Spectrum for gay and transgender employees, and those that wish to support them, that “focuses on increasing visibility and education about LGBTQ+ issues” and is “especially active in June, during Pride Month.”
TVA produced a series of Pride Videos in 2020 to demonstrate how supportive and inclusive the work environment is for LGBTQ+ employees.
Since April 2021, TVA has been increasing the focus on inclusion across the organization and established an Inclusion with Diversity Council, which is comprised of executives and advisors representing every area of TVA.
As part of the their equity action plan which seeks to align with President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 13985 calling for equity principles to become an integral part of how the government operates, TVA operates a free legal services program.
Last year, through the Generating Justice Pro Bono Program, TVA employees, in partnership with the TVA Office of the General Counsel provided pro bono legal services to more than 80 people, the value of which was estimated at $40,000.
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In TVA’s own words, they are “committed to Inclusion with Diversity” and are taking “deliberate steps to close the gaps” they have identified. They created a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position to drive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) initiatives and have “enhanced recruiting, hiring, training, promotion and employee retention practices to advance DEIA” within the TVA workforce.
Diversity and Inclusion training is also mandatory for all employees at every level of the organization.
While Congress no longer appropriates annual funding for TVA (their funds come from rate-payer fees and interest) their funds are still considered Federal funds as TVA’s existence is authorized by Congress.
The Tennessee Conservative reached out to TVA to ask if participation in the Drag Queen show was optional for employees and how the “performers” were compensated.
A spokesperson from the TVA replied:
“For almost 90 years, TVA has provided low-cost reliable power, protected our natural resources and helped provide good jobs and attracted businesses to the Tennessee Valley.
Since our inception, TVA has been a force for positive change in the communities we are privileged to serve. Employees are our most valuable assets, and we want our workforce and culture to reflect the Inclusion with Diversity principles we so strongly value – as well as the diversity across our seven-state region.
TVA invests in Inclusion with Diversity because, first and foremost, it is the right thing to do. Only by embracing diversity of thought and talent among team members and stakeholders will TVA achieve its vision for the future – one centered around innovation and service to others.
Inclusion with Diversity is the path that leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes. As a result, TVA is proud to support our diverse workforce by celebrating the various recognized cultural awareness months, which help us build cultural understanding in our workplace. For example, check out Mason Mathis’ story which will post on our social channels on Monday. Mason chose to work at TVA because of our Inclusion with Diversity efforts.
June is Pride Month, and TVA does participate in awareness activities. To be clear, all activities are voluntary and scheduled during break periods when it is most convenient for employees.
Read our DEIA Report for more information about how we are embracing Inclusion with Diversity.”
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.