Space for All: Aten’s Mission in LGBTQ+ Inclusion

Ate Pride Month blog post illustration: astronauts putting up a pride flag on the moon

Advocacy Rooted in History

All major political and social change is rooted in history, from the civil rights movement to women's rights. That history is fraught with experiences that have left marginalized groups vulnerable and unsafe. Pride month offers an opportunity for both LGBTQ+ and allies alike to reflect on how our fellow humans have perpetuated harm against this vibrant community and to push us all to do better.

One place where Aten strives to do better is in our workplace, where accommodations, understanding, and a welcoming environment are provided for everyone on our team. As an agency, we intentionally support mission-driven organizations committed to making this world a better place for marginalized groups. During this Pride month, we want to express our commitment to diversity in its many forms, focusing on how Aten shows up for its LGBTQ+ employees and partners with organizations that share these same values.

First, though, a part of “doing the work” is understanding and acknowledging the barriers that LGBTQ+ employees have had to overcome and the further advocacy work that lies ahead.

LGBTQ+ People in the Workplace

Did you know…

Employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is federally prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but that was not confirmed until a 2020 Supreme Court case. (source)

Did you know…

One study in 2021 found that over one-third of LGBTQ+ employees in the U.S. have left a job due to negative treatment by their employer. (source)

Did you know…

A 2022 study indicates that nearly 4 in 5 LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. took at least one action in the year prior to conceal their identity to avoid experiencing discrimination. (source)

Did you know…

A study shows that as of 2021, that about half of U.S. LGBTQ+ employees were not out to their supervisors, and over a quarter were not out to any coworkers at all. (source)

Did you know…

Despite all this, many employers like Aten Design Group create open, welcoming, and safe workplaces where all employees can thrive and collaborate without fear of discrimination.

Queer Inclusivity at Aten

The story of acceptance goes beyond large sets of statistics, as informative as those can be. The true impact is felt on an individual level. These are a few stories from our team and the way they have experienced Aten as an inclusive workplace.


When I first joined Aten, I was the only openly out queer person I knew of in the organization; however, over the past four years, we had more amazing and talented queer individuals join our team. I’m beyond grateful for the vibrant community of individuals within our organization who are a source of joy, understanding, and support.

As a disabled queer person, I've never felt such a strong sense of security and appreciation as a professional until I joined Aten. Navigating the professional world as a queer and disabled individual is complex and often challenging, with things ranging from discrimination to physical and mental barriers. Knowing that I can be my authentic self and be embraced by my colleagues has made my experience here not just professionally fulfilling, but personally enriching as well. I absolutely love being able to support organizations that are changing the world while also being able to make these websites more accessible to all types of users.

- Jennifer Dust, Senior Manager of DevOps

At Aten, I’m surrounded by an entire agency of people who see me and my identity as valid and worth engaging with. I feel safe, supported, and appreciated for the unique perspectives I bring to the table because of my identity. This is the first agency I’ve worked at in my 10+ year career in digital project management where after disclosing I was queer, I wasn’t met with the standard, awkward responses of, “That’s cool. [insert long pause]” or “I have a [insert friend or relative] that’s also queer.” Such a relief!

More than that, I get to work and collaborate with other rad, queer humans! I deeply appreciate our little queer community within the broader Aten team. I love how we come together to do great work for clients who feel just as passionate about impacting positive social change as we do.

- Aundrea Billings, Director of Project Management

When initially applying for a position with Aten, I decided for the first time in my career to include my pronouns and chosen name in my resume. From day one, each Atenaut on the team has been welcoming and supportive of my genderqueer identity. Never before have I experienced a workplace that appreciated and validated my experience as a queer person the way I have here at Aten. It is so refreshing to be surrounded by the support of other queer folks at an agency that truly believes in creating work that matters!

I am beyond grateful not only for the freedom to be my authentic self in a professional setting but also for the opportunity to join a diverse team of amazing individuals building digital tools for positive change!

- Eli Frigoli, Senior WordPress Developer

As a team that has been drawn to work with organizations that have missions that inspire us - it’s been such a pleasure to work with people who share the same values, regardless of background, location, and identity. As a cis-het, white, and able-bodied ally, hearing my colleagues’ stories continues to make me more aware of the lived experiences of people outside my bubble.

Particularly when conducting discovery workshops with institutions like universities and libraries, having colleagues that have set the standard for proactively creating an inclusive space for all identities has allowed me to be more aware of how I am -and more importantly am not - creating that inclusive space when collaborating with students of all ages and identity. Particularly for organizations with global audiences and content managers, in which regional definitions of gender rights, equity, ethnicity, and identity vary from country-to-country and state-to-state, creating a space in which individuals feel comfortable sharing the many facets of their identity is a constant inspiration for me in the work I do at Aten.

- Kelsey Boyd, Senior Strategist

Clients Making a Difference

By aligning with mission-driven organizations and supporting their initiatives, we contribute to a more equitable world where LGBTQ+ individuals can thrive. Through partnerships with organizations dedicated to racial justice, environmental sustainability, education, and more, we broaden our reach and deepen our commitment to creating positive change.

We work together to uplift silenced voices and dismantle systems of oppression, fostering a world where everyone can flourish regardless of their background or identity.

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuse happening all over the world. Specifically, they expose abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity and advocate for laws to protect LGBTQ+ individuals’ rights and dignity.

Learn more about Human Rights Watch LGBTQ+ advocacy>>


We are proud to partner with Guttmacher, the leading research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide. In their work, they recognize that reproductive issues are not limited to only cisgender women, but impact folks all over the gender spectrum, including those in our transgender community.

Learn more about Guttmacher’s work to provide healthcare access to trans people>>

The Population Council

The Population Council is working to change systems of oppression against marginalized communities that perpetuate gender discrimination, violence, and neglect.

Learn more about Pop Council’s recent partnership with Princeton University at the historic Queer Demography Summit>>

Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity

Our partners at The University of Minnesota School of Public Health Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity (CARHE) are leading the charge in researching the present health inequities experienced by people of color. It should come as no surprise that there is an intersectionality between that work and its relationship to people who experience harm also due to their gender orientation and identity.

Learn more about CARHE’s research on perceptions of workplace climate as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion>>

The Climate Reality Project

The nature of mission-driven work is that a focus on one issue naturally touches upon the uneven impact on a variety of groups. One such example is the Climate Reality Project, whose core mission is to "catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis." The LGBTQ+ community is uniquely vulnerable to climate change due to existing social, economic, and health inequities. To create an inclusive climate movement, it's crucial to address these disparities and ensure safe spaces and resources for LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly those of color, in the fight against environmental injustice.

Learn more about Climate Reality’s commitment to addressing the disproportional impact of the climate crisis on the LGBTQIA+ community>>

Partnering for Change

If you're looking for a workplace where you can truly be yourself and make a difference, we invite you to join us at Aten. Together, we can continue to build a future where diversity is celebrated and equity is the norm. Whether you're a prospective employee seeking a supportive environment or a mission-driven organization seeking a partner in moving impactful initiatives forward, we welcome you to be a part of our community. Together, let's create positive change, one step at a time.