Diversity Guides

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

Archive for April, 2010

Heading Home

Friday, April 30th, 2010

We laughed throughout the long elephant ride in the thunderstorm that drenched (but cooled) my favorite city in India, Jaipur. I uselessly held an umbrella over our heads like Mary Poppins as Ray and his bad back bounced, camera in hand, in all directions.

"You should see the elephant’s ear," he said sitting side-saddle, looking down from the front.

"You should see his ass," I replied leaning down off the back. Read more…

Mumbai & Delhi

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Delhi, the nation’s capitol and the Indian state that last year decriminalized homosexual intimacy, was a complete surprise to us when we landed here today. Despite knowing that it is the seat of government, we expected to see the same abject poverty along the route from the airport as we had seen just two hours earlier on our sad exit from Mumbai. Instead of shanty towns along rutted roads, we saw a clean and elegant city with the classy feel of Washington, D.C. We were taken aback by the sophisticated roadways, the impressive monuments, and the beautiful government buildings, and we felt quite at home with the rotaries and the abundantly blooming bougainvillea and frangapani. Read more…

Reflections on Japan

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

If I don’t write, I don’t sleep. Impressions of our time in Japan have begged to be captured so that I didn’t lose them and could freely focus on the next unique experience.

Keeping up to date has been a challenge on this trip because my T-Mobile Blackberry didn’t have service in Japan, Ray’s modern touch-pad Verizon Blackberry had service but its super-sensitive system confounded me, and the Hyatt’s computer wouldn’t allow me to send messages. I was forced to await our arrival in India to offer these impressions of Japan. 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…

Bisexuality & Gender Expression: The Shared Experience

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

If it is safe to tell the truth, the majority of people are both bisexual and transgender.

Suggesting that most people have the capacity to be physically attracted to both sexes is not new and revolutionary. The renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung asserted as much. If there were no cultural taboos, nor fears of ramifications on a relationship, the majority of men—and certainly of women—would acknowledge their "bi-curious" nature. Very few people are completely same-sex oriented and very few people are exclusively other-sex attracted.

In saying that the majority of people are transgender, I am positing that most men and women have in their nature the capacity to express both their masculinity and their femininity. Without social taboos, women and men would regularly express all aspects of their gender make-up. Very few people are truly completely incongruent with the sex of their birth. If everyone were allowed to express him or herself as they feel called, there would be far less need for sex reassignment surgery. Read more…