Diversity Guides

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

Archive for December, 2008

Where to Focus Attention for Next Four Years

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Many, many years ago, when as young teenagers we and my Jones cousins were vacationing together in my grandparents’ camp on Pleasant Lake in New Hampshire, my Aunt Margaret announced that she was going to clean out the bookcase to make room for new books. She then asked my brother Tom and his cohort in crime, my cousin Pat, to let her know which books they would like to read. After they made their selections, Aunt Margaret immediately threw away the books they had chosen. She knew, without even looking at the titles, that Tom and Pat would have picked out the sleaziest, trashiest books on the shelf to keep.

Sometimes it saves a lot of work to let others tell you what they want.

Conservative Evangelical Christians have just done so for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and our allies. Read more…

Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas

Friday, December 19th, 2008

It’s at this time of year that employees in corporations throughout the United States and in other Western cultures wish each other "Happy Holidays." The inclusive term takes in Hanukkah, the Jewish eight-day festival of lights that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and of spirituality over materialism, which begins this year on December 22, Christmas, the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus that takes place on December 25, Kwanzaa, the celebration of traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement, that begins on December 26, and The First of Muharram, the most sacred month of the Islamic calendar next to Ramadan, the beginning of the Liturgical calendar and one of the four months during which fighting is prohibited that begins on December 29. There may be other days at this time which are of significance to other groups of believers of which I am regrettably unaware.

Simply saying "Merry Christmas" to a crowd whose faith is unknown would be, I think, as inappropriate as wishing everyone on the street "Happy Birthday." Read more…

Rock the Boat, Don’t Rock the Boat, Baby

Friday, December 12th, 2008

The political struggle between Harvey Milk and David Goodstein in real life and in the film Milk continues today as some young gay men and women enter the workforce and confront some older gay and lesbian employees with their expectations. It’s not really a matter of age but of world view and perspective.

Harvey, the streetwise political aspirant, felt the best strategy for equal rights for gay people was through the front door as an openly gay politician. David, also a former Wall Street banker and the new owner of The Advocate newspaper, felt that talking about "human rights" would make it easier to get in the side door of the civil rights movement.

Young gay men and women who are used to dating openly in college expect to dance with their same-sex partner at corporate functions. Some of their older colleagues are still reluctant to put pictures of the people they love on their desks, feeling it causes unnecessary attention to themselves and the issue.

Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat, baby. Read more…

Are “Religious” Views Sacred?

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

There was a full-page ad in The New York Times today entitled "No Mob Veto" that was signed by people, mostly Evangelical Christians, who feel that the Mormon Church is being unfairly bullied because of their public campaign against marriage rights for gay people.

While I agreed with much of what these folks had to say—especially their condemnation of the terrorist who has sent white powder in the mail to Mormon churches—I found their last sentence disingenuous. They said "Furthermore, beginning today, we commit ourselves to exposing and publicly shaming anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry—against any faith, on any side of any issue, for any reason."

What is anti-religious bigotry? Read more…