Pride Month Spotlight: Andrew Niquette, Division Chief - Publications

The month of June marks the celebration of Pride Month, a whole month dedicated to recognizing LGBTQ+ culture and history, support of LGBTQ+ rights, and uplifting the voice of the LGBTQ+ community. As a part of our mission of diversity and inclusion, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary proactively supports all of our proud Auxiliarists who have answered the call to serve as America’s Volunteer Guardians and as an integral force multiplier of Team Coast Guard.

A five-year member of the Auxiliary joining when he was 19, Andrew Niquette, who is both AUXPA1 and AUXOP qualified, currently serves as the National Division Chief – Publications, overseeing the Auxiliary’s largest national division, which produces the Navigator annual magazine and the Navigator Express e-magazine. Never imaging to dive into the world of public affairs, he was appointed as the Flotilla Staff Officer – Publications in Savannah, Georgia. AUX Niquette's dynamic and contemporary newsletter design of Savannah Underway led to several appointments as a Publications Officer, including as Branch Assistant - Navigator Express, the Auxiliary's National e-magazine, as the Layout/Design Editor. During his tenure, AUX Niquette spearheaded a complete modern overhaul to Auxiliary national publications, and in the process, produced 12 editions of Navigator Express and has contributed dozens of articles to various Auxiliary and active-duty publications. AUX Niquette served in this role for over two years before his promotion as Branch Chief - Publications Support, where he served for a year until his current appointment as the Auxiliary's National Division Chief - Publications. Throughout the years, AUX Niquette has also served in various other appointed offices on the national, district, division, and flotilla levels.

A proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, we interviewed AUX Niquette on the highlights of Pride Month:

What does Pride Month mean to you as an Auxiliarist?

To me, Pride Month is simply a highlighted extension of our mission to be all-inclusive to everyone that has taken the leap to become America's Volunteer Guardians. Our diversity efforts and commitment to showcasing this diversity at all levels of the Auxiliary never starts or ends on any particular day or month, because pride is absolute. But what Pride Month accomplishes for us all is showing our peers, our teams, and our leaders that no matter our pronouns, orientations, or identities, it will never negate any of our abilities to contribute our various backgrounds and talents to #TeamCoastGuard.

How can your fellow Auxiliarists show respect and inclusiveness during Pride Month, and always?

The ability for all of us, no matter any of the factors that define us as diverse, to be who we truly are without the fear of retaliation is a staple topic we can all relate to in some form. We are in the year 2023, where our technological, scientific, and societal advancements continue to progress in such large strides, sometimes it is hard for us to keep up! Yet somehow, we continue to experience the harsh realities of discrimination, almost as some sort of buffer to all of the

amazing advancements we make on a daily basis. Respecting someone's incredible commitment and passion for the Auxiliary also means respecting who they identify as a person, full stop. We are all volunteers to this organization, and the most beautiful part of that is we all have something of value to bring to the table. For some of us, just with a bit more flair.

Why do you think it is important to celebrate Pride Month in the workplace?

Any opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our members should always be welcomed with embracing arms! What Pride Month's (tagging along to other months aimed at celebrating diversity) true purpose consists of is to celebrate a group of people who have historically been oppressed, neglected, or abused by governments and society, which in many parts of the world, the LGBT community certainly still is. And instead of harnessing the harsh reality of how those of us who identify as LGBT in some sort of negative way, we instead use Pride Month to spread and celebrate the most important thing that we fight for every day of our lives: love.