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Department of the Air Force creates two new barrier analysis working groups for LGBTQ, Indigenous Nation members

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) --

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Initiative Team (LIT) and the Indigenous Nations Equality Teams (INET) were recently formally established by the Department of the Air Force under the umbrella of its Barrier Analysis Working Group (BAWG).

The establishment of these two teams builds on the successes of the Department of the Air Force’s other teams and allows the Department of the Air Force to identify and address the issues impacting diversity and inclusion for Airmen and Guardians.

The LGBTQ Initiative Team focuses on the LGBTQ community and identifies and works to resolve the issues that disproportionately impede the success of LGBTQ Airmen and Guardians.

The creation of this team comes 10 years after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the legislation that prohibited LGB service members from serving openly. For many of the senior-ranking military members, some of whom served under DADT for nearly two decades, the creation of LIT is a watershed event.

Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback, one of the group’s founders and its military officer champion, reports a lot of excitement about the LIT, “I expect our group will grow–our community and allies want to help!”

The INET, a play on words for the term Innit which is a slang term among tribes meaning, “yes, I agree,” will review and analyze guidelines, programs, data and other information for barriers to employment, advancement and retention of American Indian/Native American and Alaska Native employees and military members.

“We are looking forward to representing our Airmen and Guardians who are a part of the indigenous nation’s community,” said Col. Terrence Adams, INET champion. “We are hoping to identify changes that will eliminate barriers affecting members within these groups. We cannot be aware of things that need to change unless we are talking about them with an open mind.”

Both of these teams may also serve as an initial member/employer resource group for both of their communities.

The Department of the Air Force created the BAWG in 2008 to analyze data, trends and barriers to service for the civilian workforce. Since then, the focus has broadened to include military personnel.

“Once again, our Airmen and Guardians are leading the way. With the addition of these two groups, we will have a better understanding of barriers to service which allows us to enhance our diversity and inclusion,” said Gwendolyn DeFilippi, assistant deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “Our Airmen and Guardians are the pulse of our Department’s culture and the diverse backgrounds. Inputs from these volunteer groups is vital.”

As of March 2021, the Department of the Air Force has established the following teams:
Black/African American Employment Strategy Team, Disability Action Team, Hispanic Empowerment and Action Team, Indigenous Nations Equality Team, LGBTQ Initiative Team, Pacific Islander/Asian American Community Team and Women’s Initiatives Team.

Airmen or Guardians interested in getting involved with the Barrier Analysis Working Group should contact SAF/ODI at SAF.ODI.Workflow@us.af.mil.