Diversity Guides

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

Archive for April, 2012

Sydney, Age 15, Wants to Help

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

"My name is Sydney… I am 15 years old… and need help. Although I am not gay, I am helping to try to make a difference at my school. I go to a sports school, and the whole ‘tough guy’ attitude is a big problem here. The kids at my school are very homophobic, and I am outraged because I am constantly hearing the word ‘fag’ used by kids that don’t really understand who they are hurting by saying it. We have many assemblies about the subject but everyone takes it as a joke, and then, the next day, it’s back to the same problem. If there is a gay person at my school, then they are keeping it very hidden. My biggest fear is that they will hear the hateful word spoken by their peers, and end up going into depression or worse. I would love to hear about what you think I should do."

You’re a terrific straight ally, Sydney, and your loving, thoughtful life is going to have a very positive impact on the happiness of many people. Read more…

Who Do You Know?

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

My friend Bob Bauman asked me if I knew the name "Archibald Butt." It sounded familiar, and since Bob and I are from the same gay civil rights era, I said, "I think so." I was wrong. Butt was the confirmed bachelor military advisor to President William Howard Taft. The president wept when it was confirmed that Butt and Frank Millet, the "artist friend who lives with me," had died when the Titanic cast its passengers into the icy Atlantic Ocean.

When Bob dropped off the book, Voyagers of the Titanic, and the research he had done on housemates Butt and Millet, who had nearby, but separate, rooms on the doomed ship, he, Ray, and I reminisced about Bob’s time in Washington, and the night he had Harvey Milk’s ashes in his closet. Lenny Matlovich, who was staying with Bob, wanted them buried in the historic Congressional Cemetery near Capitol Hill. Read more…

Mike Wallace Had a Male Crush

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Thirty years ago, Mike Wallace told me that he had been attracted to a handsome male co-worker at a broadcast station in Detroit. He speculated that every man had homosexual feelings. Both my father and Ray’s father thought the same thing. We think our dads had male crushes in their lives, too. Why else would they make such an observation?

In today’s parlance, male-male, non-sexual relations are called "bromances." This refers to when guys, regardless of their sexual orientations, have intimate relationships with other men. They want to spend their free time with each other. For instance, they might go fishing together every weekend, just not at Brokeback Mountain.

But Mike Wallace, the recently deceased CBS veteran newsman, never courted a close friendship with the handsome man with whom he worked. Yet, he seemed fascinated by the recollections of his feelings, and wanted to share them with me at a conference at which I spoke about gay issues. He wondered what I thought about his belief that every man has such feelings.

If it’s true that every male has had, or will have, a male crush in his life, we have to accept that this is true for Pope Benedict XVI, Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, Chuck Norris, Rick Santorum, George W. Bush, and Mark Wahlberg. How we men react to our male crushes depends upon a great many factors, including how often the crushes occur, our religion, our politics, our culture, and even our DNA. Read more…

Dyed Chicks & Dead Prophets

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

There’s a new television series called Touch. It’s about a small boy who sees connections between people and global events. He can’t speak, so his father’s task is to figure out the boy’s numerical clue to save other people’s lives. I believe all of us can see patterns if we pay attention, and we can save lives, too.

Over the weekend, Ray and I hosted two happy transgender people, one of whom is a very self-confident, transsexual woman, and the other is an exceedingly grateful, cross-dressing, husband and father. While sitting with them in the living room one morning, two stories jumped out at me from the newspapers we were reading. The first was about a 49-year-old, charismatic and inspiring, gay, male therapist in New York City who committed suicide after completing his prophetic manuscript, The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond. The second article focused on the objections of animal-rights activists to farmers injecting dye into incubating eggs, which is often done so that children at Easter can have their choice of colored chicks, including ones in dayglo green.

So, what are the connections between our transgender guests, the suicide of the gay man, and the dyed chickens? I see the common denominators of "false feathers," and the toxicity of social whims. But what other patterns can be found, and could a life have been saved? Read more…