Diversity Guides

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

Archive for December, 2012

Nothing to Say?

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Sometimes it feels as if there is just nothing to say. Trying to come up with words that will appropriately address the situation feels useless. Silence feels like the only meaningful communication.

Youngsters die in a barrage of bullets. Their Christmas or Hanukkah presents are hidden under their parents’ bed. Even those of us without children of our own are sick to our stomachs.

My mother buried three of her seven children, two of them toddlers. She said there was nothing worse. We knew we were not supposed to talk about it. Read more…

Hitchhiking without Bumper Stickers

Friday, December 7th, 2012

The two cars ahead of me waited side by side for the light to turn green. One was black, and the other was white. The black jeep had a rainbow flag decal, and another that said "Life is Good." The white sedan had enormous American flag decals on each side of the car, two Christian fish on the back, a bumper sticker with a quote from the Old Testament, and another that warned, "Keep Your Hands Off My Health Care."

I wondered what it would be like to ride in each of the cars as a hitchhiker. Would the experiences be different? Allowing for the possibility that the bumper stickers weren’t accurate reflections of the drivers’ philosophies, perhaps because the car was borrowed, or the spouse of the driver put on the decals, I nevertheless imagine that I would relax more in the black car than in the white one.

But what if I really needed a ride? If I saw the fish, Bible, and giant American flag decals, would I still jump in the car and take the lift? If so, what would we talk about? Would I worry about being thrown out of the car if I affirmed my sexual orientation, my lack of enthusiasm for national boundaries, and my agnosticism? Read more…

Cheery or Dreary: Happy Holidays

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

There are people I know who hate this time of year. They actually become so depressed that they approach a state of dysfunction. The holidays bring up feelings of loneliness, disappointment, and even irritation. Some people have childhood memories of accelerated drinking and subsequent abuse. Or they recall watching other children enjoy the magic of Christmas while they and their family suffered the pain of poverty at intensified levels.

My childhood Christmases weren’t storybook perfect. There was too much drinking.  But I was lucky enough to live in a family that could afford to celebrate Christmas at the same level as portrayed in most holiday movies. We weren’t the poor but devoted Cratchit family of Charles Dickens book, A Christmas Carol. We were more like Scrooge’s nephew Fred, but with no parlor games about "The Minister’s Cat." (We did, however, sing around the piano.) Read more…