Jun 8, 2021

Pride Against Prejudice

This month, Medtronic is raising a new flag in support of the LGBTQ+ community

The rainbow flag is a globally recognized symbol of hope and solidarity within the LGBTQ+ community.

But this June, Pride month, Medtronic is replacing that flag with a new one: the progress flag.

Progress Flag
The progress flag flying at a Medtronic facility in Mounds View, Minnesota

In addition to the traditional rainbow, the progress flag features five colors that represent the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and transgender communities: black, brown, blue, pink, and white. The change is a response to ongoing challenges facing these communities, and it underscores the company’s firm commitment to fostering belonging and intersectional representation. 

By highlighting historically marginalized groups, Medtronic is helping combat racism, transphobia, and social injustice — both inside and outside our walls.

“I always say it’s important for the LGBTQ+ community to be more vocal and more  visible,” said Medtronic Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer Dr. Sally Saba. “This flag is a visible symbol to our employees, our customers, and our business partners that Medtronic is committed to fostering a sense of belonging for all.”

Dr. Sally Saba, chief inclusion & diversity officer at Medtronic.

Time to change our stripes

Progress flags are being raised at 40-plus Medtronic sites around the world, where they will serve as a powerful reminder that inclusion, diversity, and equity are ingrained in every facet of the company.

The flags are also an unmistakable symbol of the company’s support for LGBTQ+ employees and their allies.

With ongoing incidents of hate crimes against members of marginalized communities, this public show of support couldn’t come at a better time, said Brian Felton, vice president and chief legal counsel for the Americas at Medtronic, who has a transgender son.

“I think most parents of transgender children want them to be safe and treated fairly,” Felton said. “And while hanging a flag certainly doesn’t guarantee these things, it sends a signal that we’re making a strong commitment to inclusion. And that means everything to me and my family.”

Brian Felton
Brian Felton, vice president and chief legal counsel for the Americas at Medtronic.

Embracing inclusion

The launch of the new progress flag comes just in time for Pride month, a month-long celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. At Medtronic, the PRIDE Network employee resource group (ERG) is organizing numerous virtual events and activities aimed at promoting unity and community across the company and around the globe.

Shawn Monaghan, chair of the PRIDE Network, says this year’s Pride month theme, #UnitedWithPride, reflects the hope that all employees will join the fight for social justice.

“The LGBTQ+ community has come too far in the fight against intolerance to not go farther,” said Monaghan, vice president of Americas customer experience and business transformation. “And we know that we are stronger when we have the support of our allies.”

The company’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equity goes far beyond a single month, though. Some of the recent actions we’ve taken to support the LGBTQ + community include:

  • Joining nearly two dozen North American companies in signing up to mentor LGBTQ+ refugees and prepare them to find jobs while overcoming obstacles like discrimination in their new homelands. Employees have committed to mentoring at least 50 LGBTQ+ refugees, which will total approximately 1,250 people over the next three years in the United States, Canada, and Mexico
  • Signing the Human Rights Campaign’s business statement on anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation
  • Establishing a partnership with the Out & Equal organization

For more information about the progress flag, please watch the video below.

Putting Purpose into Action
View 2020 Integrated Performance Report