Diversity Guides

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

Archive for November, 2012

Are Some Gay People Less “Gay”?

Friday, November 16th, 2012

The question was asked, "What are we to do with gay Republicans?" The audience at the political forum waited as the panel of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political analysts teetered and tittered.

Immediately afterwards, I was approached by a friend who asked, "How do I respond to family members who can’t take joy in my life as a gay man? When I told them on the phone how happy I was with the four state wins on marriage equality, they started grumbling about Obama."

In both instances, the issue is identity. How we identify ourselves dictates everything. Gay people who voted for Romney probably identify as small-business owners more than they do as gay. Family members of my friend probably identify with their social agenda more than they do as members of his family. Read more…

A Journey without Meaning?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

By the look on his face, Ray appeared troubled. I knew that he was lost in thoughts of financial uncertainty, so I swam over and gave him a long, tender kiss.

Had I written that sentence 39 years ago, I would have been fired from my job. Actually I was.

After kissing him, and holding eye contact for a length of time that would make most straight men squirm, I asked Ray, "Are you here with me, or someplace else?"

"I’m here with you now," he grinned.

"Do you know what I think sometimes when I kiss you?" I asked. "I think of the young guy, delightfully goofy and innocent, who I met 37 years ago. I think about painting the living room of our Boston apartment forest green, of stripping three layers of wallpaper off the walls of our home in Gloucester, of the avocado green refrigerator in the place we bought in Atlanta, and the view we created of the magnolia tree when we put the French doors in the kitchen in San Francisco."

"You think about all of that when you kiss me?" Ray asked.

"I bet the worst part of having Alzheimer’s is not appreciating the significance of any moment. If I had no memory of the past, I’d be sitting here with you in the hot tub, thinking you were handsome, and that the yard is beautiful, but having no context for any of it. I wouldn’t remember our history together, or how we’ve worked to create this garden." Read more…

Our Favorite Teachers

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

In an attempt to protect my privacy, an Internet site asked me to name my favorite teacher. Apparently, my secret answer would block others from access to my account. The first name that came to my mind was that of my Eighth Grade nun, who taught me to listen to opera, be aware of current events, memorize poems, and follow the Stock Market.

But since plugging in my response to the site’s question, I’ve given a lot of thought to all of my teachers, including those who taught me to add numbers, endorse a check, be aware of the feelings of others, and enjoy sex. The names of those who taught me how to swim, dance, write, speak before an audience, quit drinking, find my spiritual path, know truth, and love myself won’t mean anything to anyone other than to the people who were my mentors. But the process of remembering the significant people in the formation of our skills, insights, and self-perceptions is a worthy endeavor for everyone.