Diversity Guides

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

Archive for December, 2011

Living a Picture-Perfect Life

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Each time we visit a foreign country, Ray and I bring home a culturally significant object as a remembrance of our trip. In Salzburg, we just bought a hand-crafted tableau of miniature figurines selling Christmas items in a lavishly decorated store. The very proud artisan explained that the heads and hands of the shopkeepers were carved from wax by a 90-year-old woman. The one-room store is picture-perfect in every romantic detail, including an elaborately decorated Christmas tree with candles, assorted wreaths with bows, teddy bears and multiple other children’s toys, tiny colorful glass ornaments, and Victorian shopping bags.

The appeal to us of such a piece of art is its siren song of a perfect life. In this tableau, as well as in all of the real life rooms I decorate at home, and sometimes admire by peeking through my own windows, there is a search for storybook comfort, peace, and happiness. I do the same with the table decorations for holiday and birthday celebrations. The goal is to have Ray, me, and our friends wander into a world we hoped was real as children, and long for as adults.

Regrettably, I have tried to do the same romantic sculpting with my friends. I figured that if I worked hard enough at making everything fit a beautiful script, we might all enjoy relationships that were picture-perfect, filling us with comfort, peace, and happiness. But people can’t be glued into place as tiny teddy bears can be in a miniature tableau. Friends don’t like their lives to be scripted by others for roles they’re unable or unwilling to play. However, what they sometimes miss when they start moving the furniture of the relationship around, is that they had also scripted me in a role. We all do it, some knowingly, and some not. Read more…

What Stories Does Your Elf Tell?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Chippey is Santa’s eyes and ears. He’s an elf on a shelf, and he comes in white and black. There are also female elves, but at the moment there are no Asian or Latino elves to report back to Santa on who has been naughty or nice. I suspect there are no transgender elves for sale yet either but, given his outfit, I’d say Chippey has some sugar in his tank. Read more…

Seatbelt Extenders for the Selfish?

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

It always makes me sad when I see an obese person on an airplane need to ask for a seatbelt extender and look self-conscious. Some passengers look away, trying to spare the person any more embarrassment than he or she seems to be feeling already. I try instead to make eye contact, nod, and smile as warmly as I can.

Do you think there are seatbelt extenders for the selfish? If the manifestation of our egos got on a plane, do you think the self-obsessed would want us to look away as they asked for extra help to fit safely into their seat? Would eye contact, a nod, and a warm smile comfort them? Read more…

Barney Frank is Santa Claus

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

My friend Barney Frank has announced he won’t run for another term of elected office in the U.S. House of Representatives. If you’re real quiet, you can hear the sounds of ecstatic cheers and "high fives" from the people across America who thought of him not just as Barney "Fag", but as the single strongest voice for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender liberation in American history. He is their Santa Claus this year because he’s promised that he’s going to go up the chimney, like smoke that will drift away and never be seen again. (They really shouldn’t count on the last part.) Read more…