Diversity Guides

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

Archive for October, 2009

What Makes You So Special?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Next June, I suspect there will be considerable interest in the release of The A-Team, a film version of the popular television program from the mid-1980s about a group of Special Forces men, each with his own skill, who work together to solve problems. We see the same format in today’s most popular television programs such as NCIS, The Mentalist, CSI, Bones, and Law and Order. Teams are pulled together based upon the unique contributions of each member. They succeed because they value each other’s gifts.

If you were in the corporate role of Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, the A-Team leader whose favorite line was, "I love it when a plan comes together", would you add to the team a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person because they had unique skills acquired from their life experiences? Do gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people imagine themselves as perfect choices for the A-Team, or do they feel they belong in the B-Team? Read more…

Two Steps for Transgender Competence

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Many (if not most) gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in the workplace don’t have a clue what the word "transgender" includes, what people who are transgender need in order to feel safe and valued, nor what is considered proper terminology. ("Transvestite" and "Hermaphrodite" are no-nos.) Neither do most Human Resource (HR) and Diversity professionals have answers to their questions, and the majority are afraid to ask. If that’s true for them, imagine the anxiety or antipathy of the organization’s senior executives and middle managers. The "T" has been added to the "GLB" by many companies to secure a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index. Appearing to be inclusive is essential in the war for talent. But the "T" is often privately experienced by the "GLBs" and others as an unwanted second-cousin, forced into the family at an inconvenient time, whose anticipated appearance or behavior creates feelings of embarrassment or dread. Read more…

Flowers & Dinner for Coming Out at Work?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Attending a large conference can initially exacerbate one’s inherent sense of isolation and loneliness, even one the focus of which is your wellbeing. The first day that I spent at the Out and Equal Conference in Orlando last week was like that for me, despite my many years working in the field of workplace equality for gay and transgender people.

But like our experiences at a new school, when we connect with friends, old and new, the awkward feeling of being unknown disappears, as it did for me when I started running into familiar faces and hanging out with my buddies Bob Witeck, Wes Combs, and Todd Sears. Read more…

Old Enemies, New Friends

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

So, guess who I heard from regarding their diversity initiatives on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues? Here’s a clue: In 1991 the firm announced a new employment policy that barred people “whose sexual preferences fail to demonstrate normal heterosexual values, which have been the foundation of families in our society”. At least 11 gay men and lesbians were immediately fired. The policy was rescinded in response to public protest, but the employees were never re-hired. If you guessed Cracker Barrel, you’re right! Read more…

Why We Won’t Come Out

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The reason that there are so many gay and transgender people in the closet in firms that receive perfect scores for their diversity initiatives is that they know their issues are not taken as seriously as those of women and people of color. Read more…