Diversity Guides

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

Archive for May, 2012

Being Civil with the Horse’s Ass

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

When my father retired, he seemed to care less about the political correctness of what he said. He wasn’t a mean man, but he seemed to be tired of always needing to be good. Because of his family upbringing, education, religious training, responsibilities as a father, and his profession, he had been conscious of the importance of monitoring his distrust of people who were different, and his impatience with people he considered to be lazy or stupid. But, as his fear of repercussions subsided, he felt freer to express his feelings about everything and everyone. It was, for instance, not uncommon for Dad to refer to someone as "a horse’s ass."

I’m now past the age my father was when he retired, and I’m a little shocked to find myself feeling the same increased irritation with the behavior of others, and my intense desire to say what I feel. I suspect that many people my age feel similarly. To our own horror, we’re becoming more and more like Lucy, the young, opinionated cartoon character from the Charles Schultz "Peanuts" comic strip. She didn’t need to grow old to declare, "I love humanity. It’s people I hate!" A better quote for me would be "I love people. It’s their behaviors I hate." Read more…

A Baptism at Low Tide

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Over the Fourth of July, we’ll be baptizing our grandnephew, Easton, at low tide in Provincetown. We’ll do so in the same area in front of our house where we scattered his grandfather’s ashes six years ago. Easton’s father and mother, his two uncles and their partners, and Ray and I will "adopt" the infant into our lives. Read more…

Questions from a Teen Down Under

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

An Australian university student in Brisbane wrote asking for a perspective on his research project. Specifically, he had four questions for which he wanted answers. There was a day when such a message from Down Under would have been as startling as retrieving a message in a bottle. But in today’s world, there‚Äôs nothing shocking about how global the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights movement has become. Read more…

We, the Abused & the Abusers

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Is there a person who has never been abused in some way by others, or a person who has never participated in the abuse of another person? It would make it easier for all of us to empathize if we could recall the moments when our bodies or our spirits were roughly handled. When we are abused, it leaves a wound that never fully heals. Abuse creates fear, anger, and other destructive feelings. When we abuse others, we’re fully responsible for the damage we do.

To "abuse" means to "use wrongly or improperly; to injure by maltreatment." Some abuse is major, such as being tortured. Other abuse, such as being shoved as others exit the subway car, has less long-lasting impact. Both, however, are an assault on our sense of safety and wellbeing.

I have both been abused, and have been an abuser. I’ve been physically beaten, sexually mistreated, threatened with death, and bullied with hate mail. I’ve also repeated or cultivated negative stories about others when it served my selfish purposes. Read more…