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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Whirlpool Corporation hosts annual Pride event
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Phillip-John Puzzo
2014-07-07

This article shared 3250 times since Mon Jul 7, 2014
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On June 28, Whirlpool Corporation held its third annual PRIDE Network's June Pride Month Celebration. The event was located at World of Whirlpool, the corporation's state-of-the-art experience center located in the penthouse of the Reid-Murdoch building on the Chicago River.

The event featured a silent auction of various Whirlpool appliances. All of the proceeds benefitted the LGBTA OutCenter in Benton Harbor, Michigan—a facility that helps develop and maintain youth and adult outreach programs, LGBTA resource, and community-involvement programs. According to Mary Jo Schnell, executive director of the OutCenter, "The center serves three huge counties in southern Michigan, and gay and lesbian people are not as accepted as here in Chicago. The OutCenter is the only safe location directly serving the LGBT community there." The silent auction raised more than $41,000.

Every year, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) releases a Corporate Equality Index. According to the HRC website, the Index, "is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees." In 2014, 304 businesses covering almost all locations and industries earned a top score of 100 percent and the honor of "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality." Brad Gorman, communications and engagement manager at Whirlpool, talked about how the company added transgender employee benefits more than two years ago, pointing out that Whirlpool is the first appliance company to earn a perfect rating from HRC in the history of the Index.

Special guests included Honey Labronx—known as the "Vegan Drag Queen"—and the Hearty Boys, experienced chefs who performed cooking demonstrations throughout the event. Labronx cooked attendees vegan macaroni and cheese, using 17 different organic ingredients to produce cheese not made from any animal by-products. The Hearty Boys, professional and life partners Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, mixed original drinks for attendees like Basil Julep and Naughty Missionary. They were also promoting and selling copies of their newest book, Talk With Your Mouth Full: The Hearty Boys Cookbook.

Whirlpool has an employee resource group of LGBTA employees. Since 1999, the PRIDE Network ( co-organizers of the event ) "has been committed to business development for our LGBTA consumers, professional development for our LGBTA employees, and community empowerment for our LGBTA neighbors," according to the company's website.


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