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When Navy Federal Training Instructor Levi M. (he/him/his) came out and started his transition in 2010, there weren’t a lot of resources available in his small rural town. The strength and courage this took was tremendous. As one of the few transgender people in the area, he was in search of a safe space—one that brought other LGBTQ+ individuals, family and friends together for support and education. When he discovered that no such space existed, he knew he had to create it himself. Frustrated and determined to expand the community's understanding and acceptance, he and a like-minded neighbor took matters into their own hands and their PFLAG chapter was born.  

In celebration of Pride Month, we sat down with Levi to talk about PFLAG, resources available and what Pride Month means to us.

Joining Forces With PFLAG

The movement for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States has been ongoing for at least 100 years. The Society for Human Rights is the first documented gay rights organization, established in 1924. But that was only the beginning of a wave of bravery that has changed the lives of millions in the last century. 

In their own words, PFLAG—founded in 1973 by a mother and son—is the nation's largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. Fifty years later, their mission is stronger than ever, fighting for the at least 20 million adults in the United States who identify as LGBTQ+, as found in a 2021 report from The Human Rights Campaign. 

“Thinking about what we could offer in an area like this, we ultimately decided it was best to tap into PFLAG and utilize some of the resources they have,” Levi said. 

“We want to make sure [PFLAG's] presence is known, so that if someone doesn't know what to do or needs answers to questions, they know that we're available to help.”

Since getting started, Levi and his co-founder have started monthly support meetings, participated in panel discussions and so much more. Their newest project, Safe Zone, trains people on concepts like gender pronouns and identity. Once trained, anyone—including businesses and classrooms—can proudly display their stickers identifying the location as a safe space in the community. It’s a small gesture that goes a very long way to make people feel protected and accepted.

We asked Levi what hopes he has for the chapter and his community. His answer? Growing their network and being a support system for others. Whether it’s through education, or just being a place for family members to ask questions, Levi hopes they can build enough trust to become a go-to resource. If you’re looking to get involved in your own community, you can find your local chapter and join PFLAG’s network of more than 325,000 members and supporters. 

Unexpected Lessons Learned 

“I’ve been surprised in some ways and not surprised in others to learn just how accepting people can be,” Levi shared. 

Since coming out, he’s always been big on educating people about being transgender. If it comes from a place of love and a genuine desire to educate yourself, Levi is admittedly open. After starting the chapter, he said he’s learned so much about advocating for the best interest of the LGBTQ+ community. From learning about policies and fighting back against blatant discrimination to helping families be better informed, the journey has been nothing short of enlightening. But what about when the fight feels unmoving?

“For me, I do get burned out sometimes,” he explained. “But at the end of the day, it’s something that’s really important to me. I had to deal with prejudices as well as limited access to resources and I don’t want the kids coming next to have to go through it, too”. 

It’s also more than just about him. 

“My daughter has a transgender father, and that will never change. I don’t want her to grow up in an environment where this has to be a concern.”

Showing Up for the Community and at Work at Navy Federal 

Being active in our communities is something that Navy Federal not only supports but encourages. Knowing that your company’s mission is to serve their members and the groups they represent is reassuring and inspiring. Navy Federal is also a proud sponsor of PFLAG. 

“I think Navy Federal goes above and beyond,” Levi responded when asked if he feels supported to be his authentic self at work. 


Feeling safe enough to be your true self—especially in the workplace—is a special thing.
Navy Federal fosters that environment for their team members. 

“When you feel safe, you’re able to be who you are without trying to hide it, worrying about what other people are going to think or trying to mold yourself into what you think everyone else wants to see. When you have that psychological safety, you’re comfortable in the fact that you’ll be accepted where you are, as who you are,” he went on to explain. 

And, as Levi affirms, feeling empowered to be himself means he can show up and do the same for others. As a training instructor for new member service representatives, he’s able to share his experience and start dialogue about leading with empathy and understanding. This level of care and compassion is the foundation required to provide excellent service—always remembering that our members are the mission®.

Becoming a Better Ally

The biggest question most people have is what does it truly mean to be an ally? Sure, an ally provides support, but it’s more than that. 

“The best advice I heard was actually from someone in the Navy Federal training department. They said the best way to become a great ally is to put skin in the game,” Levi shared. “It matters how much you’re willing to show up, be there and be involved.” 

“The best way to become a great ally is to put skin in the game.”

For those that don’t know where to start? Educating yourself is really important. There are lots of great resources out there. For starters, PFLAG has information on how to be a better ally and support for family members and LBGTQ+ people.

The Significance of Pride Month

This June marks 54 years since the first Pride celebration in honor of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. The riots were a turning point for members of the LGBTQ+ community. It began a massive movement for change. For Levi, it’s a chance to celebrate his individuality. He’s proud of who he is and what he has accomplished. He has a successful career, a happy family with his wife and children and is actively involved in standing up for his community.


For us, Pride Month is a celebration of our LGBTQ+ friends and family. It’s a moment to recognize the milestones we’ve achieved as a society and acknowledgment that there’s still more to do. On behalf of Navy Federal, a heartfelt thank you goes out to Levi for opening up and trusting us with his story. We have a duty to continue to learn and get out there and show up. To all our LGBTQ+ family and friends, we’ll always fight for your equality. Happy Pride!

Navy Federal is insured by NCUA.


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