OOIDA member Shelle Lichti advocates for LGBT community

June 21, 2018

Wendy Parker

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Shelle Lichti, an OOIDA life member and founder of the online community LGBT Truckers, headed out to San Francisco this week to participate in several Pride Week functions. I caught up with Lichti, a 25-year veteran of the road, via phone, shortly after she landed in California. We talked about her vision for the future of LGBT advocacy and support networks.

She describes herself as a lifetime driver who has benefited from the industry.

“I have a deep love for trucking. This industry raised me. I escaped a pretty bad situation by learning to drive young,” she said. “I want others to know they can have the same success in this industry. I want to create a support network, a safe place, where LGBT people can transition, and heal and find their place.”

Shelle sold her truck 12 years ago, and has been very content as a dispatched OTR driver with Hirschbach Trucking. Her praise for the company goes beyond their support of her efforts in the LGBT community. Hirschbach is also indulgent of her traveling companions (three cats) and occasional animal rescue endeavors.

“When I get a new truck, it’s delivered without a passenger seat,” she said. “I don’t even have to ask. They know, and they accommodate me.”

Shelle said she is an advocate for anyone who feels marginalized, or without a voice in the trucking industry.

“Everyone deserves to be respected and feel safe,” she said.

The meetings and activities planned this week include a panel discussion with Uber Freight. Shelle will join other LGBT advocates in what Uber bills as “an honest and engaging conversation that will elevate marginalized voices in the trucking community and foster discussion amongst our carrier base.”

Lichti describes the climate of acceptance among drivers as “better than it has been in the past.” She’s hopeful that companies like Uber Freight will view the LGBT community as a viable and valuable pool for the trucking workforce.

“My ambition is to make life as comfortable for these drivers as possible and to offer support networks for anything they may need,” she said. “I am a better person by helping others.”

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