Diversity Guides

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

Archive for September, 2012

The Last Gasp of Homophobia

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

While on a ferry from Fire Island last summer, I met a very happy, proud, young, gay man from Grand Blanc, Michigan. To understand my excitement in learning that we lived in the same place during our childhood, you need to envision me as a terribly confused, shameful, gay youngster going through puberty in what was then an impoverished countryside, chasing goats and sheep, and secretly hoping that the older kid who lived with his mom in the trailer in the woods might initiate me into male intimacy. Located between Flint and Detroit, Grand Blanc had yet to become the wealthy town it is now, and, of course, I assumed I was the only boy in the world who had pictures of nearly naked wrestlers on the walls of his bedroom. The name Grand Blanc conjures up a treasure trove of feelings of youthful preoccupation with my sexuality. Read more…

Our Crazy Family

Friday, September 21st, 2012

As we work to enable heterosexual and non-transgender friends and family to better understand the lives and loves of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, we find ourselves increasingly satisfied. Just this week, I received an e-mail from a corporate executive who recently attended a presentation I made in his firm.

"e;My wife was showing my 11-year-old daughter the fun of reading the Sunday Styles Section (particularly the Wedding Announcement section) this weekend.  It turns out that both my daughter and my wife (completely separately) had a connection to the ‘featured wedding’, (two guys). Anyway, I kind of decided this was the perfect opportunity to talk about gay and lesbian marriage in a really casual context. (Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to work ‘transgender’ into the Styles Section). Anyway, I said to Zoe (my 11-year-old), ‘It’s interesting, there are a lot of guy couples getting married, but I don’t see any lesbian couples.’ So we kind of scanned the section looking for lesbian weddings, and when we saw a guys’ gay wedding, we’d be like… ‘more guys, but I don’t see any woman.’ Anyway, I really did it just to try and talk about gay and lesbian couples in a casual way, to help her understand that it’s cool to be a gay or lesbian couple, just like a straight couple, and that she should know I thought that."

What a great example that is of "each one teach one." I raised the consciousness of Zoe’s father, and he went home and did the same with his 11-year-old. The tool he used was the wedding announcements in the Sunday New York Times. Read more…

Imaginary Friends

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Having imaginary friends as children is considered normal, but when you do so as an adult, your sanity can be questioned by others. As a child, a favorite nephew of ours had two imaginary friends who worked for him in his imaginary company. He’s now an adult on Wall Street, and his best friend is his wife, who is very real.

Many of us recall clapping as children to keep Tinker Bell alive. Responding to Peter Pan’s plea, we yelled, "I do believe in fairies." Television programs today have adults talking to their dead wives and to other incarnations, but always hiding their conversations from others. Read more…

Expecting to Suffer

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Now we know that we should not stop giving CPR to a victim of a heart attack when there are no signs of life. A new hospital study shows that nine more minutes of pumping the chest can often make the difference between life and death. Imagine being the spouse or child of a recently-deceased person who might have lived if only the doctor, nurse, or EMS technician had known to keep pumping.

You expected that they knew what they were doing. You expected that your beloved was getting the best care possible. What feelings come up for you knowing that they might still be with you, and what do you do with those feelings? Read more…