LIT team established at Hanscom Published Aug. 8, 2022 By 1st Lt Amelia Leonard 66th Air Base Group, Public Affairs Office HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- A Group of Hanscom military members and civilian employees recently formed a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Initiative Team to identify and address issues impacting diversity and inclusion here. The Hanscom AFB team, known as LIT, focuses on identifying issues within the LGBTQ community. “We evaluate any barriers that may affect members or civilians who are part of the LGBTQ community here,” said Zacchaeus McEwen, Hanscom LIT founder. “It’s turned into a mentor and networking opportunity as well. We’ve been able to build a little community since the Pride events that happened here in June.” The formation of the Hanscom chapter falls in line with the Department of the Air Force and Air Force Materiel Command teams. The DAF LIT has been credited with pushing changes to improve the quality for life for Airmen and Guardians in the LGBTQ community since its inception in 2021. One of the most recognized changes implemented was the use of gender pronouns in signature blocks, as of December 2021. “An inclusive force is a mission-ready force, and I’m thankful to the LGBTQ Initiatives Team for helping us realize this opportunity to be a more inclusive force,” said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones. The Hanscom LIT is currently focusing on how to capture demographic information and how that information could be useful if aggregated. “The initiative I've been trying to work on at Hanscom is how we identify our demographics,”McEwen said. “How are we able to accurately support, document and create some type of database or system for members who want to share their information about themselves? People have other identifiers such as race, ethnicity, or sex and gender, and we think it’s equally important for people to be able to have their sexual orientation be known.” McEwen is hopeful other installations establish local installation-level teams to identify and implement local changes that could be shared force-wide, he said. “I think there's a lot of things that people don’t talk about when it comes to sexual orientation, identity and gender identity,” McEwen said. “I think the most important aspects of having a local LIT chapter are the education and networking pieces. When you have local resources accessible to you, you're able to have these conversations comfortably.” The Hanscom LIT meets on the second Thursday of each month at the Minuteman Commons Tavern at 4 p.m.