Diversity Guides

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

Archive for January, 2013

The “A” Should Start the Acronym

Friday, January 25th, 2013

The letter "A" in the acronym LGBTQIA stands for "ally." Instead of being at the end of the ever-growing alphabet soup name of our community, the "A" should be at the beginning. There would be no success in our long, hard struggle for equality without the active support and sacrifices of our heterosexual allies. When our most influential ally, President Barack Obama, publicly equated our movement with that of blacks and women, he did so as the result of millions of straight Americans standing with us long before Stonewall. Read more…

No Cross, No Tiara

Friday, January 18th, 2013

"Injudicious if not improper" is how, in 1976, the Presbyterian Church USA described the ordination of openly gay men and women. In May 2011, they changed their mind, and agreed that lesbians and gay men could serve at all levels of the church.

The Episcopal Church in the United States has its roots in the Anglican Church of England, which opposes marriage equality. But, their National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. is now the site of gay weddings.

Despite the dire warnings of the Pope, the majority of Roman Catholics in the United States support marriage equality.

There are openly gay and lesbian bishops, priests, rabbis, imams, nuns, and religious brothers today, but that has not always been true. Many people in my generation were denied ordination in their churches because of their sexuality. What happened? Read more…

The Q-word, the N-word, and the F-word

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Some high school and college-age students want to be called "queer," despite the feelings of many older gay men and lesbians who find the word offensive. Additionally, they’d like the LGBT acronym to be expanded to LGBTQIA. (The newest letters stand for "queer" and/or "questioning," "intersex," and "allies.") Intersex people don’t see themselves as transgender, just as many lesbians don’t see themselves as "gay." Nor do bisexuals like the G or L words. Many young people also like the terms "gender-queer" and "bi-gender."

Though I strongly caution against self-describing as "queer" in today’s corporate world, if you see LGB as a white, gay, male acronym, and you’re wanting to name yourself outside of those categories, why shouldn’t you? My generation did. At one time we were called inverts. Read more…

Perspective is Everything

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

There is a passage in the Tao te Ching that asks if you can quiet your mind before taking action. "Can you coax your mind from its wandering and keep to the original oneness?" In another Buddhist/Taoist reading, the author describes the agitated mind as a jar of water and sand that has been shaken. The path to right thought, speech, and action is to let the sand settle before opening your mouth.

I’ve struggled over the holidays to let my sand settle. My spirit has been vexed to such an extent that I haven’t trusted my own feelings. Like so many others, my heart was torn apart by the murder of the schoolchildren in Connecticut, and I couldn’t shake my sadness. I was frightened by our divisive national election, and by the angry responses to its results. And I was grieved by the Pope’s decision to preach on Christmas Day about the global threat of marriage equality rather than on the promise of peace to people of good will. The holidays increase my expectations of good will, but I felt little peace. I tried to be present in each moment of my days. I kept things simple in my mind. I avoided newspaper reports of human suffering, and I focused on my breathing. But I still felt emotionally spent by the lack of human decency I saw around me. Read more…