Here at Frontier, throughout the month of June, we are celebrating our LGBTQ team members through our social profiles. Join us as we recognize and honor members of the LGBTQ community and allies here at Team Frontier! We truly 'Fly with Pride'!
Heather Bowers, Flight Attendant, Tampa
Why is Pride Month important? It gives the gay community a chance to be out and be themselves among their peers. It also gives young people a safe space to express themselves.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion means everybody. No divisions, no excuses.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? I grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, in the 1980s before being out was OK. My parents were well known in the community, so I moved away at the age of 17 so I did not embarrass them. My family was very supportive and for that I am blessed. I was more worried about how people would view my family because of me. We have come a long way since then but still have miles to go.
Matt De Michieli, Flight Attendant, Tampa
Tell us a fun fact about you? I have a twin sister. I have been with Frontier for three years and I am so proud to finally call Tampa my home base. My favorite sport to watch is hockey and I’m a huge Tampa Bay Lightning fan!
Why is Pride Month important? Pride month is important to me because everyone deserves equal rights and happiness. To know that there is a month of celebration for our community that allows us to be our true authentic self is an amazing feeling. It’s a reminder that you are loved!
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion to me is that everyone has a voice and everyone’s voice matters.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? I came out to my family when I was 18 years old. I was very fortunate to have a loving and supporting family behind me. Once I was out, I got to be the best me I had ever been as someone who is loving and spreads love in this world. I hope that one day this won’t even need to be a conversation and that you are able to love who you love and not be viewed differently.
Pablo Santos, Flight Attendant, Orlando
Tell us a fun fact about you? I was fortunate that my parents knew how to save money and every year they took us on family vacations. That’s when I flew for the first time at six years old. We were on our way from San Juan to Orlando for a Disney trip. That was when I started to get interested in the aviation industry. As a little boy I would carry my camera everywhere to save memories through my pictures. Photography continues to be a hobby I love, and I was finally able to accomplish my dream to be part of the aviation industry by becoming a flight attendant.
Why is Pride Month important? The importance of Pride Month is that it celebrates diversity around the world. It is designed to help teach tolerance, education about pride history and the importance of continuing to move forward with equality. It’s all about being proud of who you are no matter who you love.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion to me is to not be judged by gender or sexual orientation and to view everyone as equal within the community.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? As a teenager I went through my doubts and fear about who I was and what people would say about me. I got bullied but stayed strong. I was 19 when I came out to my family and friends, deciding to tell them who I really was without caring what they would say. I was tired of hiding in the “closet.” It turned out there was no judgement. I became even more accepted and loved because they didn’t care what I chose for myself. Most of them said, “Whatever makes you happy, we support you and love you the way you are.” That gave me the strength to continue with my life, enjoy my mental freedom and continue to achieve my goals as well as follow my dreams. Like Lady Gaga says, “I was Born This Way.” Things have changed from 20 years ago till now, the LGBTQ have more freedom in expressing themselves based on who they are and progress towards equality has gotten better. My hope is that someday discrimination and judgement towards any ethnicity, race, gender, including LGBTQ, completely fades away.
Connor Henebry, First Officer, Philadelphia
Tell us a fun fact about you? I’d say an interesting fact about me is that I’ve traveled to Antarctica. Although traveling is a part of my job, I’ve always liked visiting faraway places. With 51 countries checked off the list, my journey to that snowy continent blew my other experiences out of the water!
Why is Pride Month important? I am very fortunate to have a loving, supportive group of family and friends. There are so many people I know who are not able to say the same. Those that must keep their identities secret find moments of support few and far between. Pride Month is important because it is a time to recognize the value that each of us has regardless of those identities. Pride reminds all of us, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community, that it is OK to express yourself and do so free from the judgment of others.
What does inclusion mean to you? To me, inclusion means a whole-hearted effort to invite those normally outside the larger group to join. Inclusion is more than the simple absence of exclusion. In a practical sense, inclusion means challenging assumptions and stereotypes. I feel included when co-workers wanting to make conversation about my relationships ask if I have a “significant other” rather than assuming I have a girlfriend or wife. That small gesture shows caring and kindness. I’m happy to see more and more of that kind of inclusive behavior when I’m at work!
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? There was a time not that long ago when I said to a friend “I can’t be gay because gay men can’t become pilots.” I’ve wanted to fly for as long as I can remember. Thinking back to those days before I came out brings painful memories of always being on edge... always watching what I said or did and with who out of fear that my dream would be taken away. That was a time when there was little “hope” or “strength.” Fortunately, that friend pushed me to find out if there was any truth to what I had said. I googled and that was when I found the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA). To make a long story short, that was the day that hope shined and strength began to grow. Learning that NGPA and its thousands of members have spent the past 30 years advocating for the LGBTQ+ aviation community was eye-opening. Now an out and proud gay pilot, the growing support for the LGBTQ+ community by companies like Frontier has furthered my sense of hope and strength. While I strongly believe organizations (Frontier included) can always do more to break down barriers, I am thrilled to see the amount of energy being put towards change.
Ricardo Alvarez, Flight Attendant, Miami
Tell us a fun fact about you? I just recently received my private pilot’s license and I am currently working on becoming a First Officer for Frontier.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is very important to me because it represents the struggle the LGBTQ community has gone through and how far we have come.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion means that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you identify as or who you love, you will always be welcomed with open arms without judgement.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? Coming out as gay as the age of 12 was quite an adventure. When I came out, I didn’t know anything about being disowned or being bullied and I’m happy I didn’t because I probably wouldn’t have come out. I was very lucky because even though my parents assumed it was a “phase,” they still accepted me and tried their best to ensure I felt safe. School was different on the other hand. I did get bullied and had a rough time, so I decided to start a LGBTQ club at my high school because I knew how lonely it was and I didn’t want anyone to feel how I felt. After high school, I began my lifelong dream of becoming a pilot, so I joined the military and, as much as I loved the service, I had a trying time because of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The military learned I was gay, and I was discharged. After the military, I struggled for a few years and then finally joined aviation as a Flight Attendant. Though I do have a few airlines under my belt, as soon as I joined the Frontier family in January 2020, for the first time in my adult life, I felt safe. I felt welcomed. I felt home. Even though growing up was hard, I didn’t let any of it get in my way because I knew what I deserved, and I know who I am. My advice for everyone in our community is that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you‘re from or what you have been through, you are a survivor and do not let any of your trauma define you.
Sean Boeck, Flight Attendant, Las Vegas
Tell us a fun fact about you? Mardi Gras is my favorite holiday to celebrate or, if that is not interesting enough, I can chew gum and walk at 38,000 feet.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is important to me because it gave me the opportunity to feel connected and not like an outcast. The first Pride event I saw helped me understand that I was not alone and that there was a ton of people just like me across the globe.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion is not just everyone having a seat at the table but everyone being given an opportunity to speak and where questions are asked of each other to bridge the gap in understanding of everyone’s viewpoints.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? My life has had its fair share of ups and downs. In some of my darker moments, I always try to remind myself that sunshine is always above the storm clouds. I know that is true because - well - I fly for a living.
Anthony Sabia, Director of Human Resource Services, Denver Headquarters
Tell us a fun fact about you: In 1986, I qualified for the NJ State Championships in Pole Vaulting. In 2001, I was selected as one of The Denver Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 business leaders in Colorado for the contributions I made in business and the LGBT community. As President of the Board of the Colorado Business Council, Colorado’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, our membership increased to one of the 25 largest chambers in Colorado. I was also recognized for my efforts in supporting legal rights for LGBT employees, advancing LGBT-owned businesses, and professional development with the Gender Identity Center of Colorado and LGBT youth. I am currently Executive Secretary of the Board of Directors of The Center on Colfax.
Why is Pride Month important? Live by the Dr Seuss quote: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” I believe it’s important to celebrate everyone, every day, personally and professionally. Pride Month is a time to recognize and celebrate those who identify as LGBTQ and their positive accomplishments. This month also commemorates LGBT history, advances and reminds us that there are some out there who have no skin in the game, but try to limit LGBTQ rights. I am very proud of the younger generation in the LGBTQ community today who embrace who they and others are, unconditionally.
What does inclusion mean to you? I probably have a very different view of inclusion than many. I don’t ask for one’s permission to “include” me. I am who I am and You be You. I believe that if you must make an effort to “include” me, i.e. “accept” me as an equal in the workplace, you may want to reassess yourself and your mindset.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? I knew I was “unique” ever since I have a memory but didn’t know what it was. I achieved very high accolades in sports and education when I grew up but had no role models with whom I could identify. In the late 80’s, I accepted myself as a very good human being, a high performing athlete and someone who could be a role model to others who happened to be gay. It wasn’t a very popular, public position, but I had so many friends and family who celebrated my whole self. I can only hope I lived up to my own expectations and can inspire others to be who they are 100%. On a personal note, my partner/hubby Dieter and I will be celebrating our 32 years together in October. 32 years together and 6 years married.
Candra Horton, Flight Attendant, Philadelphia/Trenton
Tell us a fun fact about you? I taught myself how to roller skate while on leave from work due to COVID in 2020. A few bumps and bruises and lots of falls along the way, but now it’s one of my favorite things to do on my days off.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month shows me that, in addition to my own blood family, I am a part of another family that loves and embraces me, no matter when or how I choose to live my truth.
What does inclusion mean to you? I would love for my F9 flying partners to not only acknowledge the micro aggressions people of color and LGBTQ+ people encounter on a daily basis, but to try to understand what micro aggressions are and work to dismantle their own biases. It’s not enough to just acknowledge these biases exist. Call out your friends and family who express beliefs that run counter to what you know in your heart is right. That is when inclusion becomes real and not just a corporate buzzword.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? Live unapologetically! It’s not always easy but we all deserve to be free to love who we love and live our lives with grace and dignity no matter the opinions of others. A lot of my toughness comes from growing up in New York City but it also comes from knowing my worth, which definitely took me a while to figure out. We all have our own path but my hope is for my LGBTQ+ fam to reach a level of self-esteem and self-worth that they use to live without apologies.
Kipp Lockwood, Flight Attendant, Denver
Tell us a fun fact about you? I enjoy working on my 1886 brick Victorian house in Five Points (in Denver)
Why is Pride Month important? There was a time when gay people hid in the shadows and imagined that they were sick, or wrong, or should be ashamed of what they felt for those to whom they were attracted. Pride Month is a time when we come together to affirm those things are NOT true. As we stand up and take hold of our place in society we also collectively give each person who struggles a way to see and find a community that holds a place for them to be who they are and recognize that each one of us is a gift when we express our natural selves.
What does inclusion mean to you? It means that you have a place and a function within your “tribe” or society. That the nature of who you are has value in some way to those around you so that we feel safe in the human need to care and be cared for, to heighten the expression of our authentic self and raise the experience of the whole connected SELF, and finally to allow for a protected place to be vulnerable because that is where the depths of understanding and acceptance is born.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? There is a technique that artists use when they’re deep into a painting and find that they can’t see the work objectively anymore. They use a mirror to look at the painting. By simply turning the image backward they can see mistakes and flaws in their work that they couldn’t see before and can make corrections that allow them to create a masterful painting. When the subtleties and blatant lies that pervade a society around ideas of prejudice get worked into your own beliefs about who you are, it can be long and challenging work to stand up to the dominant pressure of a powerful communal belief system. The greatest challenge I have experienced as a gay man has been learning to see the stories I’ve told myself about who I am and my place of value in this world. We learn those stories in blatant and covert ways not always aware of the way we hold ideas that are death to our spirit. Learning to hold that mirror up to yourself and your beliefs is vital in a healing process. I’ve had my share of struggles and challenges, maybe more than some and less than others. But the most significant changes and the discovery of my power has always happened with honest self-examination that stops pointing the finger at the world around me and turns my gaze back to the stories I hold about myself. When I ask myself “why am I so trigger-able” rather than blame those who trigger me, I can start seeing the deeply buried stories that have run my life and determined my self-worth. Just like the artist with his mirror, I can make corrections in my philosophy so that what I create for myself is more closely aligned to the masterpiece in progress that I am. And once I can hold that ideal within myself, then and only then can I hold that same loving place for others so they may release themselves from the stories they have held as well. The world no longer determines who I am, I now influence what the world becomes. This is what “gay pride” is for me - that I no longer have to prove my worth to anyone or try to get acknowledgment that I exist from a society that doesn’t want to see me. I truly know it within myself. I am a gay man and I love all that that is.
Charles Melesh, Flight Attendant, Philadelphia
Why is Pride Month important? Pride month is important because it represents a turning point in U.S. history and how far LGBTQ rights have come and, in many ways, how far we have left to go. Most importantly, it gives LGBTQ individuals and our allies a dedicated outlet to express ourselves comfortably and feel united while doing so.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion to me is feeling like I’m part of something with people who share common interests and who are accepting of each other regardless of our personal lives. It means universal human rights and equality.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? For as long as I can remember I was an athlete. My parents put me in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and karate. I wasn’t very good at any of them. When I was about ten years old, my family moved to a new neighborhood. I joined the summer swim team which led me to join the yearlong club team where I was successful. This is important because my world, at the time, was very small. My days consisted of swim practices, school and homework in my free time. I wasn’t allowed to do things like go snow-sledding or other intense physical activities after a certain point in my childhood. I had a ton of friends but swimming, friendships and other relationships outside of the pool were challenging to maintain. Until high school, I had only been exposed to heteronormative tendencies. For the longest time, I [thought] I had crushes on girls, but if memory serves, they were all from the swimming part of my world. I would go on dates and even found myself in “relationships,” but I never felt right. I just kept pouring myself into the pool, literally. I started having realizations that I was finding men attractive and I had a hard time processing these new emotions. In my mind, I started becoming defensive against the thought of people not accepting me for my new feelings. By the time I was 18, I was emotionally burnt out and was plateauing in my swimming career. So, I took a break to do what ended up being some much-needed soul searching in my personal life. Through some networking, I made friends at other schools in the area who identified as LGBTQ and we had a small group who would hang out on the weekends. They took me to my first Pride parade in Baltimore. Over time you start to forget specific details of events, but I have never forgotten the feelings and emotions I experienced that weekend. I was stepping into a world that I barely knew existed and, suddenly, I was no different from any of the other people around me. I was instantly included in this new [to me] lifestyle and together we celebrated each other. I met people that weekend that I still consider some of my closest friends. The summer before my senior year of high school, I came out as gay. I was extremely nervous about the reactions I would receive. I consider myself so lucky to have been met with nothing but love and support from those who matter most to me. Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
AC Proctor, Flight Attendant, Line Instructor, Orlando
Tell us a fun fact about you: Fun fact about me. Most people who are Flight Attendants have always wanted to be a Flight Attendant since they were a young child. Not me. I always wanted to be the 'voice' at the airport making announcements. (Yes, I said that in my interview). I also love collecting Frontier Airlines memorabilia from Frontier aircraft models to Frontier matchbooks. The sky's the limit.
Why is Pride Month important? Living in Florida, we are lucky to celebrate Pride twice, nationally in June and in October, as it's much cooler in temperature for a Pride Parade downtown. I haven't been out of the closet long in my life but it's nice to have a month where it's publicly okay to be me with no shame. There's a lot of history with Pride going back to the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. It is good to remember the people who went through hell to get the steps of equality we have today.
What does inclusion mean to you? For me, inclusion is all minorities and groups are included as one. It shouldn’t matter who we love or the color or our skin. We are all humans and love is love. It makes me sad that our country doesn't appear to be ready for the inclusion of everyone. It takes a lot of energy and effort to have a heart filled with hate. I am glad I don't live like that. We still have so much to do for full inclusion. Marriage equality certainly was a good start. Being a single person, I'm grateful I will have the opportunity to marry just as any of my straight friends or family do.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? I grew up in the church so that had a strong influence on me. I had much shame and guilt for the feelings I had growing up. So, I fought the feelings and tried to "pray them away." It wasn't until my mid 30's that I came out to my family and friends. I was grateful to work for a company (Frontier Airlines) where there were openly gay people for me to become comfortable around. It was inevitable that people at work would find out even if I wasn’t fully ready to share. Back then Frontier was very small. I had several male gay friends but didn’t know of any female gay friends. I had to learn to have tough, thick skin. I had lots of rumors about me. Even now, recently, I heard second hand someone asking if I was still a "Bible thumping lesbian." But I've learned when people spread rumors or call people names, it's about them and their own insecurities. Every day, I am becoming happier to be me. My journey has taught me to focus on me and my goals. I want to make a difference at Frontier. I knew from the moment I went through Flight Attendant Training in January 2007, I wanted to become an Inflight Line Instructor (fly the line and teach part time). I wanted to help mold the new hires. It took 9.5 years for the Inflight Training department to have a need and open the positions. While I waited and flew the line, gained flying experience, I volunteered with Flight Attendant Recruiting. When Inflight Training moved the Initial Training Program to Orlando, I chose to relocate from the life that I knew in Colorado and move to Florida. Leaving my Colorado bubble was the best decision of my life. I took a chance and it has paid off. And I know that my soulmate awaits wherever she is. “She’s the gold at the end of my rainbow.”
Austin Rogers, Flight Attendant, Orlando
Tell us a fun fact about you: I worked in the gift shop on a cruise ship for 3 months. I have been to 7 countries including France, Italy, Slovenia, Montenegro, Greece, Croatia and Spain.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is important to me because it provides the LGBTQ+ community the opportunity to showcase who we truly are without having any fears; without being judged, bullied, harassed. We can be our true selves. We can be free. Pride Month allows us the opportunity to celebrate the incredible community we are.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion to me means acceptance. It means being accepted for who you truly are. Not being outed because you speak funny or look a different way. You are included in life for the true beautiful person you are.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? My life has honestly been a struggle, but I have continued forward and have not let any of my struggles stop me. I lost my dad at age 65 on Oct. 22, 2014 at 5:35 p.m., due to complications from Alzheimer’s. He was diagnosed in 2010. His last two years, his disease accelerated his decline rapidly. I was a senior in high school trying to graduate, deal with high school life all while trying to take care of my dying father. It was the hardest time in my life, but I made it. It took every ounce of strength I had to not give up. I always kept in mind there was a bright big beautiful tomorrow. I never took any day for granted and I made every day count with the little time I had left with him. I had my moments where I broke down, but I had to stay strong for me and for my family. I had no choice but to stay hopeful that my family would get through this and as bad as it may sound, life will go on.
Clarence E. Mitchell, Jr., Supervisor, Inflight Training, Cheyenne, WY
Tell us a fun fact about you: I’m a California State Arts Scholar. It’s an award that was given to me by the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, for performing a Shakespearean sonnet (Sonnet 116). I still have that sonnet memorized word for word even after over 10 years has passed. I went to a performing arts high school, like the movie CAMP. I’ve played the clarinet since the 6th grade and have always had a love for anything creative. Today, I enjoy painting and visiting religious sites around the world.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is important because it’s an entire month that I dedicate to learning how to be outwardly proud of everything I have grown to be. It’s not only about pride in being a gay man, but pride as a human being knowing I have become a good human who understands that love is deserved by all. In loving one another, we can make the world a better place.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion means showing equal respect and kindness to everyone you meet. Each of us, as human beings, have lived our own experiences and formed our own different ideas, but that doesn’t mean that anyone is better or worse than the anyone else. We all deserve the same respect from one another in celebration of our differences.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? I grew up in a single parent household in San Francisco. Even in a liberal city, I was afraid to be truly myself. I fell in love with aviation in 2007 after visiting the San Francisco Airport. Every weekend and days after graduating high school, I began my career in aviation as a baggage handler. In that role I faced personal adversity while growing my career quickly. I began working with Frontier Airlines as a business partner in Fort Lauderdale. I met flight crews, station managers, pilots and others who all worked and treated each other like family, something I was always looking to experience. I knew immediately that I wanted to work for Frontier. In 2014, I applied to be a Flight Attendant for several carriers, and Frontier Airlines invited me for a face to face interview in Denver. I was so nervous when I arrived in Denver, but I left that day with a conditional job offer. Seven years later, I have worked as a flight attendant, full time instructor and now the only supervisor of Inflight Training. I’ve made lifelong friends and family at Frontier. This airline has seen me grow up and become the person I’m proud to be. I find strength in knowing that every class of Flight Attendants that we graduate is giving someone else the opportunity to live the same dream that I have; to find a family. My hope is that Frontier will continue to grow and the work we all do makes us closer to one another as we share in our company’s success.
Drew Ground, Flight Attendant, Chicago
Tell us a fun fact about you: I’m very passionate about are the performing arts, animal conservation and human rights.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is important because it is a celebration of the rights that we have fought so hard to have. It’s a reminder of how far we have come through the years; from the first stone thrown at Stone Wall, to the first legal same sex marriage or the ability to be your preferred gender. These are all rights that should have been a given born right, but instead they were rights that were fought for with blood, sweat, tears, and the lives of so many. For one month out of the year, the LGBTQIA+ community gets to celebrate all these moments in history, and we are seen and validated.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion to me means being treated exactly like any other person no matter my sexual preference or preferred pronouns. Inclusion means being able to walk to my car or down the street and feeling safe no matter my appearance. Inclusion means being treated exactly like any other person because that's exactly what I am.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? My life experience has been just like most, full of ups and downs, good times and bad with much lost and gained over the last 30 years of my life. I've been luckier than most and had a solid support team around me, whether it’s my friends, family or co-workers. I came out as gay when I was 22 and was met with nothing but love and support. My biggest support in life had always been my mother, but unfortunately, she passed away unexpectedly on my 26th birthday. Her death left me feeling empty and alone in life. That moment in life I never would have survived without the love and support from my family, friends and everyone at F9. After my mother passed, I made a lot of realizations about myself, the main one being that I am Transgender. The last two years, I have slowly been fighting my own insecurities and anxiety to learn to love and accept myself in a world that continually tries to tell me I shouldn't exist. I'm incredibly thankful to the people in my life who continue to love and support me no matter what and I am also extremely grateful to Frontier for allowing me and other's the opportunity to be ourselves without judgment. In the words of Frances Wright, "Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it."
Nathan Dang, Flight Attendant, Chicago
Tell us a fun fact about you: I am a foodie and I love finding new places to explore on layovers. I enjoy my layovers with my crews by going out and checking out different restaurants. I like to have a good time with good people.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is important to me because it allows a chance to demonstrate diversity among all the people we work with and serve. People can show off their individuality and be proud of who they are and know that they have the support of fellow crews and others.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion to me means multiple things such as including those who look different than others but it also can include different lifestyles, financial status and even opinions and views. We all should live together as one – as the human race. There shouldn’t be discrimination due to your race, sex, age, gender or sexual preferences.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope?
My life experience – I live my life to the fullest and I have a positive outlook on life - to be so positive in some of the most difficult times and I strive to be a positive role model to my fellow crew members and others.
My strength - Being able to use my positivity around my crews and customers to provide a welcoming and enjoyable work environment. I enjoy my job because I can work with senior and junior crews and learn new things that I didn't know before.
William Nelson, Flight Attendant, Tampa
Tell us a fun fact about you? A fun fact about me is I got the chance to move to St. Thomas, USVI. Living life on an island and learning a whole new culture was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and the second fun fact is becoming a flight attendant, of course.
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is important to me because it’s a reminder of how it all started during the Stonewall Riots. It’s about bringing the LGBTQ+ community and our allies together to celebrate everything we have fought so hard to achieve, and a reminder that we have so much more to fight for equal rights. Pride brings all of us together and unites us in love and acceptance with no judgment.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion means the ability to never judge someone based on differences, accepting everyone for who they are and who they want to be, supporting each other with every victory and milestone they reach in their life, not bringing someone down or tearing them apart, seeing each other as equals no matter how different our race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, social economic status, or education levels may be and allowing someone to be their truest version they can possibly be.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? Growing up knowing I was always “different” than what society always taught me to be was hard and always suppressing thoughts, actions and self-happiness. It came at a point in my life (thankfully when I was young and in high school) that enough was enough. I had to make a choice to finally be true to myself. I had support from my friends; however, my family was not as accepting. It took them many years to come around and understand my life and allowing me to educate them. Now, my mom is always there for me with all the love and support and never judges me when I need to talk to her. For those that have family members that can’t or won’t support you, please reach out to any one of the amazing resources our community offers. Talk to someone who has walked in your shoes before and allow them to help you. If you reach out, you just might be surprised how many people are willing to listen to you. We are never truly alone.
Daniel Cabuya, Inflight Policies & Procedures Specialist, DEN HQ
Tell us a fun fact about you? Something many people might not know about me is that fitness plays a big role in my life. During my free time, I love to teach my Zumba classes right here in Denver!
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is important because it is a time that is dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQ+ voices, a celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and the support of LGBTQ+ rights. It is also important because it commemorates the history and those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS.
What does inclusion mean to you? To me inclusion means that you can be yourself, feel welcomed and part of the group. It is taking diverse opinions and incorporating them in decision-making.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? America is a nation of immigrants and immigration is a theme that imitates so much of our nation’s history. My story is no different.
I came to this country as an immigrant when I was 10 years old from Colombia. I did not speak any English and my understanding of American culture was very limited. Being a stranger in a foreign land at a young age presented many challenges for me. I struggled in school due to the language barrier and making friends was not easy.
My parents worked hard every day, but they always found the time to encourage me to follow my dreams. We lived closed to the observation point in CLT. I would always watch the planes come in and out of the airport. This fueled my passion for aviation.
I worked hard and dedicated myself to accomplishing my dreams knowing that one day I would work for a successful airline. I completed my studies and began my aviation career as a Flight Attendant at Mesa Airlines. I would then go on to become an IOE Flight Attendant Instructor, Inflight Base Supervisor and Inflight Base Manager.
I joined the Frontier Airlines Inflight Experience team in 2017. I have served as a Flight Attendant, Base Supervisor and now as part of the Inflight Policies & Procedures team. This line of work has allowed me to meet some amazing people and learn from outstanding mentors. There are good days and rough days like in any job, but in the end, I am proud to be doing what I love!
Trevor Freel, Manager, Corporate Recruitment, Denver HQ
Tell us a fun fact about you? I love adventure! Anything that gets me outdoors or increases my knowledge about a certain subject, I am all about!
Why is Pride Month important? Pride Month is so important to the world because it sheds light on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion throughout all social spectrums. For me personally, Pride Month did not become an important part of my life until after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. That horrific event had a profound effect on me and solidified the purpose and mission of Pride Month.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion is beyond acceptance. Inclusion means to incorporate the differences along with the similarities of a person into your respective everyday life. Valuing and honoring these differences in the same light you would the similarities, is imperative to inclusion.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? My story is not unlike many others. I had struggles in the early years; there were bullies I had to endure and a lack of self-acceptance as I became aware of the fact, I was gay. Fortunately, I did not let these struggles define me due in large part to my supportive and equally diverse family and friends. My strength is derived from the love and the potential of love that can be shared around my community and beyond. I believe in the hope for a better, equal and more just world. One that “coming out” doesn’t have to be the norm and “straight” isn’t the default. I believe we have made amazing strides and overcome substantial adversity, but the forward progression should always be on the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Rob A. Williams, Captain, Miami
Tell us a fun fact about you? This is my 4th career. I have worked in healthcare, the trading floor on Wall Street, owned two marketing companies and now, the airlines. These professional journeys have taken me to live in four countries and 11 cities.
Why is Pride Month important? For me, Pride serves two important functions. First, it allows us a time to get together with friends and allies to celebrate overcoming current hurdles to obtain equality. Second, to remember those that came before us and the hard work they did to allow someone like me to be able to hold the job I do without the fear of being fired for who I love.
What does inclusion mean to you? Inclusion in the workplace means welcoming each other’s differences, and that you are a team member before anything else.
Would you mind sharing a bit about your life experience, strength and hope? Getting to this position as an airline captain was not the usual path. I was born into abject poverty and was adopted and moved around to a few different families before moving out on my own at 16. I really had to carve out a place for myself in this world.
There was really no one to help guide me from a traditional standpoint. However, I always seemed to find friends and families who would take me in from time to time and treat me as their own. From that, I took the best from each experience to build myself up to become a strong contributing member of society.
People often tell me that becoming a pilot was always their dream. That word carries a very different meaning to me. A dream was all I really thought it would ever be. Flying was for rich kids, not me. Plus, I was gay, and the movies portrayed us as predators in the cockpit. I didn't think I would ever fit in and I was told as such by many people. But I always worked as hard as I could at every job I had with the dream that I would someday prove to myself and everyone that there was a place in the sky for this ward of the state kid from nowhere. It worked!
Coming to work every day at Frontier and knowing that I was picked out of a crowd for an interview at an NGPA event means more to me than most understand. It means the world has changed and evolved so I'm able to work here and represent not just my own dreams but a group of LGBTQ+ professionals that want to be part of this amazing career.
My strength is having this rare perspective. I know how hard this journey can be. From my now strong position, I can reach out to help people in the LGBTQ+ community as well as the often cast aside low-income community. I always make time to volunteer and donate much needed funds to keep dreams alive and moving forward. I hope to be the person to help their career dreams come true just as so many did for me.
My hope is that everyone, in any walk of life or persuasion, will reach out and lend a helping hand to those that are less fortunate. Look at what a few moments of encouragement and a spare room here and there have done for me.