Diversity Guides

Brian McNaught's Gay & Transgender Issues in the Workplace Blog

Archive for the ‘Corporate Equality Index’ Category

It’s So Pretty, It Could Be Plastic

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

In the classic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life, George and Mary walk home from the school dance in borrowed football attire and bathrobe. When George accidentally disrobes Mary by stepping on her garment, she hides in one of the two large, fully-flowered, hydrangea bushes that border a pathway. As an avid gardener, I assure you that the bushes were plastic, as are the flowering plants in most idyllic films. If everything is in bloom at the same time, and there are no yellowing leaves, or browning blossoms, you know for certain that nothing there is real. It’s all plastic make-believe.

Because plastic flowers, or those made of silk, are so perfect, people sometimes see real flowers and comment, "That’s so pretty, it could be plastic." If someone is always smiling the same way, regardless of the situation, they are said to have a "plastic smile."

This raises questions. Are our lives, our homes, our religion, our jobs, and our friends real, or are they so perfect that they’re plastic? When we step back and honestly assess ourselves, can we say with integrity, "It’s a wonderful life"? Read more…

Making Rhyme & Reason on College Grads Coming Out at Work

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Jack and Jill came out in school,
but went back in the closet.
Jack was sad, and Jill was mad,
and their employer lost ’cause of it.

A writer for Jungle Campus, an employment magazine aimed at college students, asked me:

Should gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender graduates come out at work?

A better question, I suggested, is how and when—not if—they should come out on the job. Read more…

Transgender People in the Restroom

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Starting next year, companies that seek a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index will be required to provide health care coverage that includes the cost of sexual reassignment surgery. For many transsexual employees, such a benefit is the most compelling personal issue for them at work. For most non-transgender people, especially for women, the most compelling related issue is the use of the women’s restroom by transsexual women and cross-dressing men.

Though I can hear the collected groans of frustration from fellow transgender-friendly folks across the globe, there is no getting around the bathroom issue as it relates to gender identity (transsexuality) and gender expression (cross dressing). Read more…

What’s a Perfect Ally?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

An AT&T office in Dallas recently denied a gay employee 12 weeks of leave to attend to an ailing spouse, despite a policy that allows heterosexuals to do the same. AT&T gets a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on its Corporate Equality Index (CEI) and there are many people, including perhaps some at HRC, who questioned the legitimacy of AT&T’s rating, given the fact that despite responding to the CEI survey that they did grant such leave to gay employees, they were claiming the law did not require them to do so.

AT&T has reversed itself and has granted the 12-year veteran leave to attend to the physical needs of his partner of 30 years who had suffered a debilitating stroke. Few of us will ever know what happened behind the scenes to prompt the Fortune 50 corporation to back off its initial decision, but all of us should recognize that what matters in this instance is the end result. Bryan Dickenson is on paid leave at the bedside of his beloved Bill Sugg. Read more…