Diversity Guides

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

Archive for October, 2011

Flabby Muscles & Fleeting Fame

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I protested as I used a squeegee to scrape the water from the shower door. "I didn’t have to do this in Dallas," I said to Ray in mock disbelief. "You perhaps have forgotten that I just received the Selisse Berry Leadership/Lifetime Achievement Award."

"No, honey," he replied, as he continued doing whatever it was that distracted his attention from me. "I’m very proud of you."

"Yes, but in the hotel room, there were flowers from friends and a big bowl of snacks," I said. "I was special."

"Have an M&M," he replied. We both laughed.

I walked on air last week at the Out and Equal Workplace conference in Dallas. Read more…

Gay, Schmay, So What’s to Like?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Some people hate being gay. Gay, schmay, so what’s to like? My guess is that the same can be said of people who are black, Latino, Asian, Irish, Polish, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, or who have a disability. They look at the behavior of their own people and they are embarrassed.

Though I love and fully embrace my life as a gay man, not everyone who is gay does, nor does every lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person love and embrace their true identity. We can label it internalized homophobia/transphobia if we want, or dismiss them as religious fanatics, but in doing so we’re missing the many people who see the way some of us behave and want no part of it. Read more…

With Apologies to Our Youth

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of the world will number 900 million by 2050. Because of all of the hard work that has been done by their Baby Boomer gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender great, great aunts and uncles, and their straight allies, the majority of them will live full and happy lives, free of most forms of discrimination. But, like their straight sisters and brothers, they will worry about hunger and thirst.

When I was born, there were two billion people living on our planet. Today there are seven billion. In just 14 years there will be eight billion, and by 2050 there will be nine billion. With apologies to our youth, there isn’t going to be enough food and fresh water for our children or grandchildren when they are born. Seventy percent of our planet is covered in water, but only one percent is accessible. The growth in food production has been cut in half since 1990. Do the math.

It’s my hope that some brilliant, gay and transgender people will solve the water and food problem for the rest of civilization. Living in a world that doesn’t make them expend so much energy hiding who they are, our best and brightest will have the freedom to focus on the major problems that face the world’s population, rather than devoting their lives to stopping bullying and marriage discrimination. Read more…

Hoping To Be Straight with a Finger Down His Throat

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

My friend Joe Gentilini, an Italian-American Catholic who was told by a priest that he was seriously mentally ill for masturbating, wrote me recently about the progress in his life as a gay man. He didn’t find his soul mate, Leo, until he put a finger down his throat to choke at the direction of his therapist. He was supposed to do this every time he thought of oral sex with a man. His therapist also had him take drugs to make it more difficult for him to ejaculate, and taught him to pleasure himself while thinking of a man, but to insert a female image just before he found release. Before he met Leo, he hired the services of a female prostitute. Joe just didn’t want to be gay. I asked Joe if I could reprint his e-mail without giving his name. He replied, "Yes, you can, but please use my name. I want people to know that I am a real person who underwent this therapy because society and the Church told me that I needed to be straight in order to save my soul and to be happy."

Reparative therapy, such as is conducted today by Michele Bachmann’s husband, has as its goal stopping gay men from having any sexual feelings for other gay men. These therapists now admit they can’t successfully turn a gay man into a straight man, but they claim success if the gay man no longer wants to express himself sexually. That’s what Joe’s therapist tried to do with him, but failed. Read more…

Ghosts in Smiles and Tears at the Wedding

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

There were ghosts at the wedding on the beach in Fire Island, hovering above and around us, all smiling, many crying, reflecting the faces of the living souls who had assembled in the sand. Chris Garvin and Todd Sears, the young, gay grooms, in new suits for the occasion, were flanked by their small army of well-dressed, handsome, young, gay and straight groomsmen, whose orientation you wouldn’t know without asking. The gay ghosts were undoubtedly elbowing each other with approval. My parents’ ghosts probably couldn’t take their eyes away from the grooms’ mothers and fathers.

History was being made in that moment as we created a cultural milestone together. Read more…