Diversity Guides

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

Archive for the ‘Coming Out at Work’ Category

The Unnecessary Revolving Closet Door

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Being gay is hip with straight 30-somethings. Genderqueer is in. Provincetown is cool. Ft. Lauderdale is hot.

Anne Hathaway and James Franco made sure that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people were well represented at the Oscars. In their opening monologue, the 29-year-old actress talked about the big presence of lesbians, with the films The Kids are Alright and Black Swan in contention for awards. Later, when Hathaway was cross-dressed in a tuxedo, the 32-year-old Franco appeared in Marilyn Monroe drag. Billions of people in the world saw him in a blond wig smiling.

Our 33-year-old, straight, Wall Street nephew sends us regular e-mails regarding gay and transgender issues. His wife is trying to get me into her firm to do diversity training with executives on gay and transgender issues. They both love spending the 4th of July in Provincetown with us.

Some straight 30-somethings are hipper with being gay than some gay 30-somethings are. In the latest issue of Out magazine, the editor explained they couldn’t get one young, out gay actor to agree to be featured in their Hollywood-themed edition. Instead, a straight actor who plays a gay character on Glee got the front cover. Aaron Hicklin, the editor, explained with frustration, "It’s the dirty secret of Hollywood that even gay actors have to measure their appearances in gay media, because gay is tough enough. But too gay is deadly." Are we sure of that? Read more…

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…

Captain Bible & Your Safety

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

You are on a plane heading home after a tiring business trip. You have buckled your seat belt in 9C as directed, turned off all of your electronic equipment, and stored your belongings beneath your seat. You smiled at the flight attendant as you listened to the safety instructions you have heard dozens of times before. You have even glanced at the safety instruction card in the seat pocket. What more can you do?

Unbeknownst to you, up on the flight deck, the pilot is heavily distracted as he goes through his safety check. He has just asked his female co-pilot if she is married and she has replied, "Yes, her name is Sharon." He assumes that the male flight attendants are homosexuals but he does not have to have any contact with them. They can’t stay for long in his sacred workspace. But the person sitting close to him for the next three hours is a lesbian. He looks at her and asks, "Have you found Jesus?" This makes the co-pilot feel very unsafe and unwanted. She knew that it was always a possibility, but she hoped she would not ever have to fly with a vocal fundamentalist Christian. 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…