Diversity Guides

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

Archive for the ‘Diversity Training’ Category

What Makes a Woman a Female?

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Like the Star Trek Voyager, corporations today are going where no man, woman, or transgender person has gone before. They are exploring how to understand, value, and include the diversity represented on the gender continuum. Many companies pioneered by forging the right non-discrimination statements covering gender identity and expression, but as might be expected, few of them realize the full scope and implications of their policies. Many Human Resource, and Diversity and Inclusion, professionals are still uncomfortable explaining to others the enormous difference between gender identity and gender expression, and most corporate executives appreciate being able to just say "LGBT" rather than the word "transgender". Despite this current lack of complete understanding and comfort, companies around the globe are light years ahead of the rest of society in charting this new territory. Read more…

The Best Way to Put Out a Fire Is Not to Start It

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Without all of the facts, it is difficult to understand what the City of San Diego was thinking when it required firefighters to participate in the 2007 Gay Pride Parade. Four Catholic firefighters objected, saying that they experienced sexual harassment during the event, making their workplace feel hostile. The California Court of Appeals has concurred.

Employees, whether in the public or private sector, and whether straight or gay, should not be forced to participate in a city’s gay pride parade, unless it is their job. Police officers, for instance, line the routes of civil rights marches and of those for Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Although the City of San Diego, and others who seek to create public support of gay and transgender rights, had the best of intentions, their requirement of participation started a fire that the firefighters shouldn’t have been required to put out. Although the firefighters’ claims of headaches and irritable bowel syndrome as a result of seeing half-naked gay men simulate sex seems silly to me, they nonetheless shouldn’t have been in the parade unless they were working to providing public safety. Read more…

Frank Dobbin Was Absent and Unaccounted For

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Frank Dobbin never sat in on one of my diversity presentations. If he had, he would not have stated so confidently that diversity training does not work. Any Human Resources (HR) professional who cites Dobbin’s research as their reason for eliminating diversity training on gay and transgender issues is either disinterested in the company’s gay and transgender employees, or has never attended a good presentation on the topic. Read more…

The Script to My Drama

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

When I told my pain management doctor that I was heading to Tokyo and India to work with Merrill, he asked me if "Merrill" was my sister. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our own dramas we forget that not everyone has seen our script.

Merrill is Merrill Lynch, the investment banking firm, more accurately known today as Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. My sisters’ names, for the record, are Kathy and Maureen. They are not coming with me to Asia. Ray is.

The script for this trip is well worth seeing. The synopsis is that Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs are bringing me to Japan to work with their senior executives on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues. After two presentations in Tokyo, I am going with Merrill to Mumbai for another groundbreaking talk with their senior executives in India.

For me and others working on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues, the invitation by Merrill and Goldman is enormously significant. These historic talks are the first efforts being made by corporations to ensure that their workplaces in those cultures are as welcoming for gay and transgender people as they are in New York, Toronto, or London. Besides the immediate effect of building the confidence and competence of the senior managers in my trainings, there is great potential for rippling effects upon diversity efforts in other local companies, as well as on attitudes in the culture. A person educated about gay and transgender people is more likely to be an ally when someone comes out in the family or the neighborhood. Read more…

Religious Beliefs: What Do You Do in This Situation?

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

One of the most powerful tools we have to help men and women in the workplace become confident and competent in proactively including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender colleagues in corporate life is reading or watching a dramatization of a typical problem and creating a good course of action.

For the next three weeks, I’m sharing scenarios that help illustrate common challenges that gay and transgender employees face in feeling truly valued. Twenty-five years ago, when we first began corporate diversity training on these issues, the unwelcoming experiences of gay and transgender people were more dramatic, such as seeing offensive graffiti in the restroom, or finding their workstation or personal property vandalized. As more and more people have put faces on being gay or transgender, the open hostility has been replaced by subtle but no less alienating behaviors. Read more…

A Parent’s Love Trumps Bias

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

It appears likely that I’ll be doing some work on gay and transgender workplace issues with corporate senior managers in Tokyo, Japan and in Mumbai, and Delhi, India this year. Anyone who is attuned to the potential power of education and love shares my excitement about the possibilities this presents for positively impacting the lives of gay and transgender people and their families there. As has been true throughout all of history, commerce has provided one of the primary vehicles for cultural change in the world.

That is not to say that I see these Marco Polo voyages as means of secretly engaging in social engineering. I’m just aware—as happened with my trips to Singapore and Hong Kong—that professional presentations on the need to value diversity at work have a way of enlightening the lives of people in their homes, too. After my two-hour presentation in Singapore, I spent two more hours standing with women from the workplace who wanted to talk about their children and other loved ones. It is indeed the heart of the mother and the father that prompts breakthroughs in attitudes and beliefs. Their innate desire to protect their offspring makes them more open to hear about the challenges their children face in the world. Read more…

After ENDA, How Do You Get an “A”?

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

In order for any organization in the future to get 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index (CEI), they will need to require that all of their senior managers go through my training on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues in the workplace.

I just made that up. It’s not true. I threatened Daryl Herrschaft, my Ever-Ready buddy who pioneered workplace issues at HRC, developed the CEI, and is nearly impossible to get a hold of, that if he didn’t call or e-mail me with the information I requested I would say what I just said. The truth is, he did get back to me, but we’ve been wrestling for so long on the importance that should be given in the CEI to diversity training that I decided to say it anyway. Read more…