This Pride Month, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) employee resource group (ERG) Fearlessly You @ Blue is celebrating its one-year anniversary.

“Fearlessly You @ Blue has openly supported LGBTQ+ people at BCBSNE since it started,” said Jody Gernandt, a claims examiner at BCBSNE and Fearlessly You @ Blue member. “We’ve held several events over the last year. On National Coming Out Day, employees were greeted as they came into work with rainbow ribbons to wear and a postcard about the founding of National Coming Out Day.”

The ERG aims to support LGBTQ+ employees and create a safe space for all.

“I feel like the best support for me is the support of awareness,” said Michael Curry, a training specialist at BCBSNE and Fearlessly You @ Blue ally. “I can engage and learn to raise my awareness in a safe, productive space.”

Fearlessly You @ Blue also exists to educate as a form of support.

“The first thing for me is to understand the history,” said Curry. “It is important to know that there was a time that being LGBTQ+ was criminal and even treated like a mental illness. To understand that Pride Month is like a celebration of self-affirmation and so many other things to combat the shame and stigma is also important.”

Pride Month is in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred in response to the discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.

“Pride means celebrating, at last, who we are and what we can do” said Gernandt. “It says don’t be afraid of us, look how fun we are and see how much we love you. Don’t be scared. You have hundreds of friends.”

Employees don’t have to identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community to join the ERG.

“Fearlessly You @ Blue is for all employees to come and learn with and about people who act, think, look and behave different than you,” said Curry.

More than anything, it’s a place to come to learn, talk and grow.

“I want folks to know that if they are questioning themselves, or someone in their family, they have a resource to contact,” said Gernandt. “BCBSNE and Fearlessly You @ Blue is open to all people.”

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