A new mom supported by her colleagues and American’s benefits for LGBTQ team members

Charlotte Pride Visionary Sponsor American Airlines takes seriously their responsibility to support their LGBTQ team members and their families

A note from Charlotte Pride: At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew there may have to be changes to our organization’s programs and community events. The result was a first-of-their-kind virtual festival and parade livestreams, as well as other virtual events. We’re grateful to American Airlines for their continued support during the pandemic, allowing Charlotte Pride to continue presenting a wide variety of community events, programs, and projects. We’re excitedly looking forward to 2021, when we hope in-person events can begin again and we can welcome you once again to the Charlotte Pride VIP Experience, presented by American Airlines!

Senior Communications Specialist Lauren Farruya was on her honeymoon with her wife, Courtney Jackson, when she found out she received a job offer from American Airlines almost four years ago. “I almost missed that call because I was out of the country. I just happened to check my voicemail and heard, ‘We really need to hear from you by the end of the week if you’re still interested.’ I remember running around the resort trying to get a good signal, so I could get back in touch with the hiring manager immediately,” Lauren said.

It makes sense that Lauren would want to work for an airline. She and Courtney fell in love while traveling the world together. The couple went abroad a month into dating and knew they were meant for each other by the time they returned home. It’s been a decade since the pair first met, and in that time, they’ve gotten married and started a family. Lauren benefited from American’s maternity program while embarking on her motherhood journey.

“It feels great to be supported,” she said. “Because American has such a diverse community, I’ve always felt welcomed, I’ve always felt that I could be open. I’ve never felt like I’ve had to hide my sexuality, my family, or my family aspirations. And even once I was pregnant, I was completely comfortable.”

This year, American received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. This is the 18th consecutive year that American has achieved this benchmark, making it the only airline to do so every year since the CEI was instituted in 2002. American is committed to maintaining an inclusive workplace for all team members, including those who identify as LGBTQ.

American offers all team members who are new mothers, regardless of their sexual orientation, access to the maternity program. New fathers can also take unpaid family leave to bond with their baby.

Lauren worked right up until she gave birth to her first child, Maxwell Farruya-Jackson, born July 10, 2019. In addition to her 10 weeks for recovery, she also used some of her vacation time to spend more time at home. She appreciated having that time with her son while she and her wife adjusted to becoming moms.

“It’s a humbling time,” Lauren said. “And I was so thankful to be able to take extra time with Max after he arrived, just to get nursing down, learn about my baby and build my own confidence as a new mom.”

Her benefits were helpful, but so was her team. Lauren helps produce flight service communications for our frontline team members. She said everyone on her team has been supportive from the beginning. They threw her a beautiful baby shower before she left on maternity. They went out to lunch and got to meet baby Max after she gave birth. And on her first day back to the office, breakfast was waiting at her desk. When she got emotional talking about sending her son to daycare that first day, her colleagues gave her space but also checked in on her to make sure she was OK.

Max is now 10 months old and getting ready to start walking. He has two moms who love him dearly, as is evident by the pictures they have posted of him at home and work. Lauren wants all same-sex couples to be proud of their families and to be unafraid of showing them off, but also understands why some choose to keep their relationship statuses private. Lauren emphasized the importance of walking in your truth — whatever that looks like for you.

“I understand and respect people’s desire for privacy but sharing who you are and being your authentic self also allows you to build genuine relationships with people, which I think can only have a positive outcome,” she said. “If you’re willing and able to share who you are, you never know the people you may be touching and inspiring to share their own truth.”

“Becoming a first-time parent can be overwhelming, but it can be especially hard in this current environment. When do we talk about race? When do we talk about equality? Same-sex marriage? These are the type of conversations I’m preparing myself for now. While I have a little bit of time, I do know one thing. My wife, Courtney, and I will teach our son Max to love everyone, no matter if they are gay, straight, black or white. And to make an impact, that is something we ALL need to be teaching our kids, the next generation.”

Visit our Newsroom to see the other stories American is sharing for LGBTQ Pride.