Today was an awesome day at work. I got to attend official corporate training on how to be an effective straight ally to the LGBT community.
Here’s what I learned:
1. LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. Of the people within the LGBT community, Transgenders are most discriminated against.
2. Not everyone who wears a ring and has pictures of kids in their cubicle is straight. Likewise, every well-dressed man is not gay.
3. Careful with “queer.” Many see this as a derogatory term, but the younger LGBT generation embraces it. Unless someone has self-identified as queer, it’s probably best to avoid the term.
If you’d like to learn more about the Straight for Equality movement, here are some great resources:
PDF of Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (a truly amazing read, for those who appreciate some good solid quantitative data)
Here’s why I’m a straight ally:
I grew up in Foley, Alabama, where I had limited exposure to anything outside of standard small town Southern culture. That is, until 10th grade, when an outlet mall magically appeared, and I got a job at the Polo/Ralph Lauren store. Retail is where members of the LGBT community opened doors that led me to where I am today. I like where I am today, and I’m grateful to the LGBT community. Being a straight ally is my way of giving back.
I conceptualized and illustrated the word cloud graphic featured in today’s post. So far, the graphic has been printed on the back of T-shirts and in a magazine ad associated with PRIDE in Saint Louis, MO.