Diversity Guides

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

Archive for September, 2011

A Drop of Ink May Make a Million Think

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

If a waterlogged book washed up on a beach today, it would be thrown in the trash, or left for someone else to dispose of. But in 1820, two little girls who were playing in the sand in Provincetown, Massachusetts, brought such a book back home to their parents, who they knew would treasure any reading material.

The book was an autobiography, the life of the founder of the Universalist Church in Gloucester, another fishing village as far north of Boston as they were south. His writings ended up completely transforming the spirituality of not just the parents of the little girls, but of much of the town. Read more…

“B” is for Bisexuality, but What and Who Are They?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

If someone asks you to explain bisexuality, simply say, "Bisexuals are people who have the potential to be physically intimate with both sexes." This probably takes in the majority of the population, but bisexuals aren’t doing a very good job of putting a face on the issue, and telling us how their issues are different from those of gay men and lesbians. We need a Bisexual Liberation Movement, or at least an educational DVD. Read more…

On Death and Whales

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

With the wake of my boat, I rang the channel bell for Andy Whitfield, the 39-year-old star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand who died that day of lymphoma. The clanging of the giant old bell was a message to the heavens of my thanks to Andy for the pleasure he brought me in his role as the famed gladiator, and of my loving thoughts to his wife and two small children.

A short while later, after I rounded the Race Point lighthouse, thinking of death, sad with the signs of summer’s end, and perplexed by my need to make changes in some of my relationships, I turned off the boat’s engine and stretched out in the sun. I hoped to be lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the boat.

I then started to think about an e-mail I had received that morning from a young mother who had decided to separate from her husband. She said that she wanted the same love that she saw in Ray’s and my relationship. She didn’t want to settle for less. She was lonely in her marriage and had decided to move on. I had replied to her, "You are making a courageous decision. Do your best to do it with great love, and without closing any doors. We all need the time and space to make decisions, and the opportunity to change our minds."

As I pondered the significance of my friend’s decision and its possible thematic connection to the death of the Welsh actor Whitfield, and the end of summer, and the volatility of friendships, a handsome whale surfaced next to the boat. The sound of it blowing out air, and the sight of its sleek black body moving gracefully through the water, pulled me into a different realm—a place of peace. I was no longer Brian in a boat with heavy things on my mind. I was in union with the small whale, and with the waves, the soaring seagulls, the warm sun, the pure sand, and the brilliant sky. For the briefest moment, I was a simple but important part of nature’s essence and wonder.

But the whale didn’t resurface as I hoped it would, and in time I was forced to come back to the other reality, and my thoughts of death—the end of life, the end of a relationship, the end of friendships, and the end of the season. All of it is about letting go, sometimes with a choice and sometimes with no choice. Sometimes it’s final and sometimes it’s not. But, it’s death. Read more…

Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zones

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

The religious parents of a gay man are coming from the Bible Belt to see their gay son get married on Fire Island in a few weeks. I called them in advance to walk them through the ceremony at which I’ll be officiating. They later called their son to say how much they appreciated being prepared for what the event would look and feel like. Their anxiety was lower.

When we leave our comfort zones, as this mom and dad are doing by departing the security of their heterosexual, Southern lives to travel north to one of the gay Meccas of the world, two things usually happen to us. We initially feel anxious about the unknown and how we’re going to find our footing, and we realize that we have the opportunity to grow in ways otherwise not possible. Read more…