During a recent client meeting on inclusion, when the words LGBTQ came up, one of the meeting attendees remarked, “I’m not anti-gay but I just don’t believe that should have special rights.” My first thought, “Oh no, do we really have to have this conversation again?” Obviously we did.Logo_ncod_lg

I told this woman that LGBT people want the same rights as everyone else and that they also wanted to be included in meetings and events at work where decisions were made, even when those meetings and events were not part of the formal work day.

If an LGBT person comes out to you, they are looking for the same treatment as everyone else. They don’t want you to behave differently or be suddenly be excluded.”

If they were good employees before, they will still be good employees. If they were not competent before, they will still be incompetent. If you were ready to fire or promote them before, don’t change your plans. Coming out doesn’t make someone more or less competent.

Don’t hire someone who is not qualified, just because they are LGBT. Like any other employee, if someone is inappropriate, or not working, take corrective action. There’s not a scarcity of LGBT employees that want to be successful.

 

Simma Lieberman

Author Simma Lieberman

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Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Beverly Guinevere Taff says:

    LGBT people DONT need ‘special rights’ they simply need the Same rights as anybody else and that those rights be RIGIDLY enforced and protected by the courts in EVERY country.

    The reason that certain rights and protections had to be specifically legislated for in some countries is because the normal and equal rights of LGBT citizens – (or subjects in UK.) – were being denied by prejudiced and oppressive attitudes projected by an offensive heterosexist majority in many legislatures around the planet.
    Alabama, North Carolina and Texas, are three legislatures that spring immediately to mind that have pro-actively attacked and reduced LGBT rights for transgendered people. It is such prejudiced attacks that drives civilised legislatures to enact special laws to neutralise and indeed, destroy such offensive attitudes as those found amongst religious fundamentalists in the Bible belt.

    States such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas and many other countries are veritable moral cesspits when it comes to their treatment of the LGBT community.

  • Beverly Guinevere Taff says:

    LGBT people DONT need ‘special rights’ they simply need the Same rights as anybody else and that those rights be RIGIDLY enforced and protected by the courts in EVERY country.

    The reason that certain rights and protections had to be specifically legislated for in some countries is because the normal and equal rights of LGBT citizens – (or subjects in UK.) – were being denied by prejudiced and oppressive attitudes projected by an offensive heterosexist majority in many legislatures around the planet.
    Alabama, North Carolina and Texas, are three legislatures that spring immediately to mind that have pro-actively attacked and reduced LGBT rights for transgendered people. It is such prejudiced attacks that drives civilised legislatures to enact special laws to neutralise and indeed, destroy such offensive attitudes as those found amongst religious fundamentalists in the Bible belt.

    States such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, North Carolina, Alabama, Texas and many other countries are veritable moral cesspits when it comes to their treatment of the LGBT community.

  • Nick says:

    This sentiment is common in almost all diversity & inclusion trainings, regardless of demographic. You’re advocating as we do that everyone would like to be treated fairly and given the same rights. This person’s sentiment stems from the often unfortunate impact Affirmative Action has had on the field and the hiring of individuals based on identifiers instead of qualifications and performance. The field of D&I itself is often guilty of advocating for specific groups while excluding others, usually the majority, and this is what this individual is reacting to.

    In my work in the field, the biggest issue I’ve seen is that trainings are centered around why group X needs special focus or support instead of how supporting group X will benefit the participants. The key to inclusion is fostering dialogue and showing how all benefit, not just advocating for an underrepresented group.

    However, we also must not forget that biases play a big role in what individuals consider qualified and high-performance. For these, systemic solutions that help mitigate bias are far more effective than knowledge-based trainings. So orgs also need to be shown what systems and processes can be implemented that help drive behavior and choice in supportive ways.

  • Nick says:

    This sentiment is common in almost all diversity & inclusion trainings, regardless of demographic. You’re advocating as we do that everyone would like to be treated fairly and given the same rights. This person’s sentiment stems from the often unfortunate impact Affirmative Action has had on the field and the hiring of individuals based on identifiers instead of qualifications and performance. The field of D&I itself is often guilty of advocating for specific groups while excluding others, usually the majority, and this is what this individual is reacting to.

    In my work in the field, the biggest issue I’ve seen is that trainings are centered around why group X needs special focus or support instead of how supporting group X will benefit the participants. The key to inclusion is fostering dialogue and showing how all benefit, not just advocating for an underrepresented group.

    However, we also must not forget that biases play a big role in what individuals consider qualified and high-performance. For these, systemic solutions that help mitigate bias are far more effective than knowledge-based trainings. So orgs also need to be shown what systems and processes can be implemented that help drive behavior and choice in supportive ways.

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