Relive your 2010 Workplace Summit experience with the complete collection of plenary speaker videos now available on YouTube! Continue your commitment to equality by sharing 2010 Summit videos, photos and dialogue on our Facebook Fan page.
Available 2010 Summit videos include Out & Equal's Founding Executive Director Selisse Berry's plenary address; an emotional and inspiring conversation with country singer Chely Wright ; a powerful performance and conversation with Sheryl Lee Ralph, founder of the Diva Foundation; insights from award-winning filmmaker Kimberly Reed; an outstanding plenary address from Intuit's CEO, Brad Smith, and an empowering speech from EEOC Comissioner Chai Feldblum.
Which 2010 Summit speaker inspired you the most? Share on our Facebook Fan page.
Submitted by: Amna Hasnain, TMG Central Supply Planning Team
"I admit, when I volunteered to attend the 2010 Out & Equal Summit as a representative of TI’s Finance Diversity Team, I did so for selfish reasons. It was an opportunity to develop my leadership and networking skills, and as a practicing Muslim, I wanted to learn how to reconcile orthodox religious teachings with unorthodox lifestyles. As an added bonus, I got to escape Dallas for a few days.
However, as the date of the trip grew drew closer, I realized that despite being an Obama loving, Jon Stewart worshiping, why-can’t-we-all–just-get-along idealist, I was blissfully ignorant about the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community and their careabouts. The summit lasted three days and was held in the entertainment capital of the world – Los Angeles. To say that the event was an eye opener is a gross understatement. But eye-opening it was indeed.
Before ever stepping foot on the plane, I got a glimpse of the discrimination and alienation that members of the LGBT population face. When I told coworkers about the summit, I was often greeted with an awkward pause, slight tilt of the head, brows furrowing, and a puzzled expression – the unspoken question was: “Why? Why are you going?” I’m embarrassed to say that after getting this reaction enough times, I switched my rhetoric and simply resorted to telling people that I was going to a “diversity conference” – that was sufficiently vague enough and I got the responses I had hoped for all along: “How fun! Have a great time!"
When I told family and friends about the trip, they were a lot more forthcoming and voiced the questions that acquaintances were too polite to ask: “You’re not gay, so why are you going?” and “Are you sure that your participation is not career damaging? What if you get labeled as a gay activist, will that be career inhibiting?” What struck me as poignant is that these questions and assumptions would never have surfaced if I was attending a summit on racial, religious, or gender equality in the workplace."
A banner in the lobby of Clorox proudly congratulations the 2010 recipient of Out & Equal's Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Employee Resource Group (ERG) of the Year Award. Clorox Pride was awarded 2010 LGBT ERG of the Year Award for the ERG's long-standing commitment to workplace equality.
Clorox Pride's executive sponsor, Beth Springer, was recently quoted as saying, "This is an incredible honor. But it's even more meaningful that we can celebrate this beyond Clorox. Progress at our individual companies is a step in the right direction for the entire LGBT community."
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is saddened by the recent youth suicides brought on by bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As an organization that champions workplace equality for all, we strongly believe that all youth should feel safe and valued in their own “workplace” – their schools – regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or characteristics.
Together, the Out & Equal staff is reaching out to LGBT youth through an "It Gets Better" video.
Are you looking for more opportunities to educate about bullying? Film directors Joel Schumacher, Malcolm D. Lee and Cruz Angeles are teaming up with teen writers to produce a series of short films on this pressing subject. Aimed at providing a much-needed educational tool for schools, these films will be premiered at New York City’s School of Visual Arts Theatre on Tuesday, December 7, 2010.
The scriptwriters will also be launching a speaking and publicity tour to raise awareness about what can be done now to alleviate bullying. Most schools have little or no curriculum that helps students understand and grapple with gender-based expectations. This fast-growing initiative fills that need and surfaces the real concerns and realities of teens.
For more information, contact Yi-Ching Lin at 718.230.5125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam C. Bad Wound is a sociologist of philanthropy and civil society, as well as a donor to Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. As November is National Native American Heritage Month, Adam shares his experiences and thoughts on LGBT youth in American Indian and rural communities.
I come from Montana’s Big Sky Country, where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. I was raised near three rivers, with crystal clear waters and lush emerald banks, surrounded by ruby willows, under the warm golden sun, sparkling bright in the sapphire sky. My youth was precious, picturesque, and prismatic.
However, many of my hardest memories are of colorless isolation, as I struggled to find my identity in a world that seemed to be black-and-white in so many ways. At times, being a queer American Indian felt like the worst of all possible situations.
According to 2009 Census figures, there were approximately 3.15 million American Indians in the U.S., out of 307 million people – roughly 1% of the population. From 1999 to 2004 (when I was 19-24), American Indian/Alaska Native males in the 15 to 24 year old age group had the highest suicide rate, roughly 28/100,000, compared to 17.5/100,000 for white, 12.8/100,000 for black, and 9/100,000 Asian/Pacific Islander males of the same age. Furthermore, a 2007 study found that LGBT youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
Taken together, it’s hard for me to reconcile these figures, but easy to understand them personally. Geographic and social isolation were harsh realities of my youth, at times to the point of desperation. In light of recent cyber-bulling events, I can certainly understand how some youth – from any background – might feel trapped in a dark place.
To youth in American Indian and rural communities, I encourage you to remember that LGBT people come from everywhere. My journey has taken me from the mountains, to the plains, Great Lakes, Atlantic Coast, and Pacific Coast. I’ve come to know firsthand that LGBT people come from the middle of nowhere to the middle of San Francisco.
Finally, although it’s been said many times recently, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Although our community is small, there are plenty of resources for support, online and offline. I’m thankful to have embraced my spirit for its natural way, in part by attending gatherings, researching information, and connecting online. Doing so might not change your immediate situation, but it might add a splash of color to a dark night.
Just remember: somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.
More resources to support LGBT and American Indian LGBT youth include:
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and the Bisexual Resource Center, an internationally respected voice for the bisexual community, are excited to provide a groundbreaking survey exploring the issues facing the bisexual community in the workplace. Bisexual individuals are invited to participate in the survey before the deadline of November 30th.
Designed by corporate learning and development expert Heidi Bruins Green, the survey seeks to develop a better understanding of the workplace experiences of people who either identify as bisexual or one of the many alternate labels describing sexual and emotional attraction to more than one gender.
"We have found the lack of data on the bisexual community frustrating when trying to design programming responsive to the workplace issues faced by people who identify as bisexual," said Out & Equal Deputy Director Kevin Jones. "Out & Equal is grateful for the chance to be a part of this important study."
"While the term 'bisexual' is included in the acronyms most often used to describe the broad non heterosexual community (LGBT), people who identify as bisexual are often overlooked or excluded," said Ellyn Ruthstrom, President of the Bisexual Resource Center.
Preliminary data from the Institutional Review Board approved survey is anticipated in time to be presented at the 28th Annual BiCon and 10th Annual International Conference on Bisexuality from Aug. 27-30 in London. The feedback gathered from the international bisexual community at BiCon was shared through a workshop presented during the 2010 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Los Angeles.
Learn about updates, preliminary results and more information about the survey and take the 45-minute long survey - for bi-identified people only before the November 30th deadline..