Diversity Guides

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

Archive for April, 2011

Transgender Elevator Speech

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

You’re on an elevator, and someone asks you, "Can you clue me in on what ‘transgender’ means?"

You can respond, "Transgender literally means ‘across gender.’ Male or female is our sex. Man or woman is our gender. We don’t choose either. Transgender covers all the people whose sex and gender don’t fit together as we might expect. That includes transsexuals, who are people born in the wrong body, cross-dressers, who wear the clothing of the other gender, and anyone else whose expression of their gender may seem to blur the lines."

That paragraph, which has been seen and approved by some of the most respected transsexual and cross-dressing people in the country, summarizes in the fewest possible words what the "T" in LGBT means. It works perfectly, except for some. Read more…

Guide for Gay & Transgender Land

Monday, April 18th, 2011

There are some New Yorkers who have never been to Ellis Island, and only went to the top of the Empire State Building because a visiting friend wanted to see it. Fodor’s travel guides enable tourists to know much more about a city or country than the natives.

If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, it is a bit embarrassing not to know more than your heterosexual allies about Gay and Transgender Land. For instance, there are many young, gay men and lesbians who don’t know why June is Gay Pride month, and transgender people who don’t know they have their own flag and symbol. Why do we celebrate October as History Month, and when do we stop and remember the murders of transgender people?

Here are some basics that will help both gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and our allies feel more culturally competent. Read more…

How Many Gay People Are There?

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Suppose your job was to make sure that there were enough left-handed scissors to meet the demand. Would you make enough for everyone who was left-handed, or only for those people who publicly identified as left-handed?

Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, might unwisely counsel you to go with the lower number. If you took his advice, not only would you sacrifice potential income, but a lot of left-handed people would go without proper scissors.

In his recently released study, "How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?" Gates has announced that there are only 9 million Americans who fit those descriptions.┬áHe goes with the average number of people who have identified themselves in surveys as openly gay, lesbian or bisexual, and then adds people who have transitioned as transsexuals. Read more…

Cross-dressers are also “T”s

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Cross-dressers are like bisexuals. They are allegedly in the majority of their minority communities (transgender and non-heterosexual, respectively) but no one knows who they are.

When average people use the acronym LGBT, they have little, if any, knowledge of cross-dressing beyond Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and RuPaul. But one of these cross-dressers is a make-believe person, and the other is an entertainer. What about real people who cross-dress as part of their everyday lives? Who are they? Why don’t we know them? What do they need? Read more…