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LGBT Workplace Equality – 5 Examples to Help Allies Understand

Ally companies put LGBT-friendly policies and business practices into place. But they don’t stop there knowing that policies are not enough. They create a workplace culture of inclusiveness and celebrate the differences that make each employee great. They actively recruit LGBTQ employees and welcome constructive feedback on how they are doing can how they can improve.

Employment discrimination and LGBT workplace equality have always been something of a personal issue and now my it is my focus with OutBüro – The LGBTQ Employer Reviews, Job Portal & Professional and Entrepreneur Community and it’s LinkedIn group, the largest LGBT professional networking group on LinkedIn.

My Personal Story

Dennis Velco - OutBüro - The LGBTQ Employer Reviews, Job Portal & Professional and Entrepreneur Community Job Portal Board Resume CV Database Diversity and Inclusing Recruiting CareerProfessionally, I’d say that I’ve always been conservatively out. I have never made my sexuality a huge deal wearing it on my sleeve, but I have never tried to overtly hide it either – besides my time in the US Army in the late 80’s. When I’d start new jobs or client projects I’d be invited to the social after work functions. Then as my sexuality became apparent those invites were reduced to only the super gay-friendly staff who wanted to do all the gay-things in the city. So the limited inclusiveness was layered with stereotypes of going to gay dance clubs and helping them shop for home décor, clothes, and gifts. Sure I’ve got style but at the time didn’t realize how I was being excluded and superficially used.

In my work and projects, I felt like I always had to go above and beyond the norm to prove myself to my employers and clients. I even had to deal with sexual harassment from a female senior executive that knew I was gay but seemed to feel that was a challenge she wanted to concur. Right now what are you thinking? Check yourself. Are you thinking, “poor him a woman was hitting on him”? If so, that’s a problem.

It became so bad I loathed going to the office, my days were filled with trying to avoid her and her excuses to be at my desk where she’d lean over from behind to point at my computer screen so that she could rub her breast against my back. This was coupled with many other innuendos and overt comments several times a week on how she liked how my pants fit and which ones didn’t hug my butt or crotch. I had no way to voice my frustration, anxiety, and anger too. No one took me seriously. When I tried to raise my concerns and issues I was literally laughed at by the Human Resource manager. He told me to toughen up and that he wished that executive was interested in him. REALLY With the rude and crude gay jokes from many male team members and the overt sexual harassment from the female top executive, my work-life was stressful and ultimately had to leave that employer. I felt I had no recourse. It was a nightmare.

This caused me to enter corporate consulting where my Fortune 1000 and government clients changed every few months. I put myself in a position of swooping in, doing my job and leaving so that I was nowhere long enough to have it matter. If it was bad, as it was several more time, I knew I had an exit and on to the next project. After a couple years of living out of a suitcase and hotel rooms, I again began to hate my work-life and my life in general with no roots and no real connections. It was difficult to make and maintain friendships and relationships traveling 75-90% of my work-life for 12 years. It was isolating.

Corporate LGBT-Friendly Policies

Today, corporations are leading the charge of LGBT rights and protections for employees. Companies of all sizes are implementing LGBT-friendly policies that include:

• Sexual orientation non-discrimination policy
• Gender identity non-discrimination policy
• Domestic partner benefits
• Transgender-inclusive benefits
• LGBTQ inclusive education

I share the above story of being sexually harassed to point out that in the United States Sexual Harassment policies have been in place since the mid-70’s. Yet it still happens today. Not only to women but also to men like me with both female and male perpetrators. My own incident may have happened quite some time ago, but just turn on any news station of your choice and within a week’s time you are sure to see a high profile case in the news today – right now. This clearly demonstrates that having company policies alone are not enough to remove and eliminate the root problem, change minds or culture.

Why Will LGBT-Discrimination Remain an Issue

I’d like to concentrate on the larger picture and examine why irrespective of anti-discrimination policies and legislative changes, LGBTQ employment discrimination will stay economically divisive, socially permissible and sadly common. Naturally gaining heterosexual allies to recognize this issue as a legitimate and continuing struggle for everyone regardless of sexual orientation is paramount to lasting equality for all. It all boils down to getting to know others and trying to empathize with their perspective. We have to keep in mind it isn’t LGBTQ people that are responsible for homophobia, thus ponder the sociological ecosystem of implicit homophobia that still does not permit queer people to thrive within it.

During my business travels working in hundreds of companies and government agencies I and found that my queer colleagues have nearly uniformly been and are more dedicated to performance and excellence in comparison to our heterosexual counterparts. This is not new or news. It’s fairly common knowledge. Why? It seems that in addition to overcoming any economic hurdles, their particular internalized homophobic programming and assorted trauma connected with a multitude of other societal disadvantages, disapproval, and rejection, they continue to be cautious and quite concerned about how others view about them to a much higher degree than their heterosexual peers. They are addressing a reality that their best will not be good enough, it will be discounted, simply because of who they are. Having experienced this in myself and observing so many others, I believe this bears “real-world” workplace significance.

Undermining Statements From Human Resources and Management

In an uninformed and apathetic manner, I’ve had the below statements made to me numerous times along my career journey. We need to re-frame the understanding of how gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender and queers struggle (not an exhaustive list):

1) Are you sure it was discrimination?
In other words: “Aren’t you just playing the gay card because it’s easier than nursing a bruised ego?” This is an invalidation that stems from a lack of desire to listen, learn and expend some true effort to assess the actual situation. Playing ones part within a discriminating culture means you don’t have to actively discriminate, however, you can certainly assist by remaining quite yourself and further silencing and demoralizing those who object to oppression. With this action, you also don’t have to stop and evaluate the experiences of other people in systems that you might incidentally thrive in, and therefore have no personal objections to. Allies do not show up for the party and then try to argue that the battle is not constant and affects everyone in the workplace. Thoughtfully listen to the full story, even if it shatters your own insecurities and past learned beliefs. Don’t enforce your narrative into it and emphasize your vantage point as the universal default. Become self-aware of when you are doing so and realize that it is not helpful and in fact perpetuates discrimination or worse.

2) Discrimination will be a hard thing to prove.
If an organization discriminates against a person, it’s the organization that must establish in court that it did not discriminate. Why is it so easily deemed that there ought to be a different set of rules for LGBTQ people, implying that it is up to them to prove that they are not lying, omitting facts or being oversensitive? Queer folks are actually all exceptional individuals. This thinking negates the fact that the injustice is being carried out by the perpetrator and not the victim. It dismisses the possibility that not all queer folks can financially afford to challenge discrimination in a court of law. Allies could educate themselves on systems of oppression and verses supporting dismissive statements.

3) But women – or insert race/gender/religion/nationality here – are discriminated against too.
If we are attempting to change a culture of discrimination specifically against queer people of all genders, races, nationalities, and heritage, it’s very diminishing to try and argue that there are simply more important problems, and by assuming gender/race/religious/nationality equality is explicitly heterosexual. Queer equality crosses all other equality categories. Listening is a really important part of supporting. We might use listening to build a sense of common purpose, silently recognizing similarities and then sharing approaches instead of falling into the trap of compartmentalized divisive thinking. Listen, get to know and understand your fellow human and co-worker.

4) Women are discriminated against all of the time. You are a man, so toughen up.
This type of statement is indeed binary, and once again fails to comprehend both why and how gay men and women are discriminated against so broadly and effectively. When you are a guy with perceived feminine qualities or a woman with perceived masculine traits, then gender stereotype fetishization and glorification of male masculinity and female femininity is used to discount, ridicule and isolate individuals and groups. Often a “hetero-passable” receive a pass or partial acceptance because they “fit” the environment cultural norm. This causes the employee to feel devalued again feeding into the idea that they have to work harder to prove themselves to be worthy.

5) You seem very angry. You may not wish to alienate or anger straight people.
I never want to purposely anger anyone, per se. However, I do want to upset the damaging hierarchies and power systems that all of us so effortlessly accept and preserve without any people ever receiving any real advantage from them. Frustration can lead to anger. But put yourself in that person’s perspective. Would you be frustrated and/or angry if the situation was directed at you? Oppressed people are generally exhausted from persevering it for the time until they’ve reached their tipping point to bring it to your attention. It is likely not an isolated event that has pushed them to the point of finally reaching out for help. Listen, analysis, empathize and rationally decide actions to take to address the current situation and prevent it from happening to others in the future.

Summary

Allies must acknowledge personal accountability, empathize with another person’s situation and then attempt to modify their thoughts and actions to grow from new knowledge and personal connections. Allies question their past learned beliefs and accept that their own thoughts and ideas about others may need to change. They take a proactive approach to empower and affect change within themselves, within coworkers and within the companies and organizations they work in and participate in.

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Be a Superhero – Your Voice has the Power to Create Change

Company Reviews – Good for Companies and Their LGBTQ Employees

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OutBuro - LGBT Employer Company Reviews Directory GLBT Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer Professional Community Job Portal Board 13

Company Reviews – Good for Companies and Their LGBTQ Employees

OutBüro (OutBuro.com) is filling a gap in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer working and professional community by offering a Glassdoor.com-like service. On OutBüro LGBTQ employees may review their employers on not only general employee-related areas but those specific to the employer’s LGBTQ policies, benefits, culture, work-life balance, job security, CEO performance and more.

OutBüro’s mission is to be an altruistic resource for both employer and employee by providing an open community of visibility.

 OutBuro - LGBTQ employer reviews job portal professional entrepreneur community LGBT GBLT Gay Owned Lesbian Transgender Bisexual career posting resume CV

Employer Reviews

Company Reviews include a free-form text review along with prompting for pros and cons as well as a message to the CEO. Registered members ratings are displayed anonymously. Reviews must adhere to our Community and Company Reviews Guidelines. Other members may indicate a rating as helpful as well as flag inappropriate content for community self-governance. OutBüro’s founder, Dennis Velco, built and moderates LinkedIn’s largest LGBT professional group with 47k global members now as a service of OutBüro.

OutBüro empowers every LGBTQ person to add their past employers, if not already present. We are open to all company sizes from the small local business to Fortune 100. OutBüro’s Company Reviews directory is world-wide. No matter where an LGBTQ person lives and works they can have a voice in praising their employer or offering constructive feedback to be a catalyst for change.

Companies may claim their listing to gain additional features and ensure their information is correctly represented including the required responses to the presence of the following policies and practices:

  • Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Policy
  • Gender Identity Non-Discrimination
  • Domestic Partner Benefits
  • Supports LGBTQ Equality Globally (if operates in more than one country)
  • LGBT Inclusion Competency
  • Public Commitment to LGBTQ Equality
  • Requires Similar Policies for Contractors and Vendors

Add/claim your company today and invite your employee to review it. https://www.outburo.com/member/add-company-listing

OutBüro (OutBuro.com) is a start-up company providing the LGBTQ workforce, professional a voice in improving our future. Our platform provides the ability to connect and dialog with others one on one and via topically focused groups at all levels of career phase from entry level, professionals through entrepreneurs.

OutBüro’s Job Portal enables employers to attract quality LGBTQ candidates while demonstrating their commitment to the LGBTQ community. Job seekers may add their resume/CV to the growing search-able repository in an active and passive job search.

Why is this important?

Does your company have the policies listed above to protect your LGBTQ staff? If so, AWESOME. You are doing the right thing to create a welcoming and safe environment to attract and retain quality staff.

However, having policies are not good enough. They are only part of the equation. For example, Sexual Harassment Policies have been in place in the United States since the late 70’s. Today it seems nearly weekly sexual harassment case news seems to break of high profile individuals. Just think how many sexual harassment cases don’t make the local or national news. Further, think how many incidences go completely unreported to even the HR department.

We aim to be a partner with you and your company by being a place where employees can voice their praise and accolades you deserve while also being the space where opportunities to improve can be brought to your attention. Both in an anonymous manner so that employees are comfortable in being honest. As noted we have a community content policy and Compay Review guidelines. We don’t want defamatory content and to that end, anyone, including you, may flag a review, image or comment for moderation – and potential removal if justified from the system. To submit a review every person must be an authenticated person. Should a Company Review warrant an internal investigation, upon your request, we’ll contact the submitter and ask if they are comfortable in coming forward.

HRC Corporate Equality Index – You and OutBüro

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for several years has been inviting Fortune 1000 level companies and large corporate law firms to participate in the CEI to indicate if the companies have the policies and practices above in place. We applaud and grateful for their past and continued work in on this. Being a US non-profit political action committee, their CEI is US-centric, invite-only, completed by corporate top management, and largest companies focused.

It’s a wonderful resource, but not a full picture, breath, depth and accessibility OutBüro aims to fill. Remember, saying you have a Sexual Harassment policy in place has not been enough since the late 70’s.

Participating in OutBüro happens to also further support your HRC CEI score per section 4.a. Public Commitment.

Touting Your OutBüro Score

Just as many companies are rightfully proud of their HRC Corporate Equality Index Score and make public announcements about reaching their 100% score, we aim to be your grassroots measurement of your LGBTQ employee satisfaction rating. We hope and believe that as your OutBüro company record gains reviews that you’ll be touting your OutBüro score too in press releases and displaying your OutBüro score on your corporate HR and Recruiting website.

It will not only demonstrate that you have LGBTQ-friendly policies but that your current and recent past LGBTQ employees LOVE WORKING at the company. This will bolster your diversity recruiting and retention.

Premium Membership – Articles on OutBüro

With our Premium membership, you’ll have the ability to post content on OutBüro’s blog via your profile – Submit Articles. This can be company news, industry news, events, and just about anything. We’d naturally love it to be diversity/LGBTQ focused, but general info is welcomed.

Early Adopter Pricing

We are eager to work with you and build our community. We, therefore, have aggressive early adopter pricing that will remain in effect for renewals as long as you maintain uninterrupted membership. If membership laps, renewing will then be at the current rates. We value relationships and maintaining them. The cost is currently kept very low to minimize the approval process within your company. Getting started is the most important thing.

Each company needs only one OutBüro Premium member to have the ability activate the Job Portal and claim the company listing – both a la carte. You may add other company HR team members to your Job Portal management team who may be free members.

Get the full benefits of OutBüro by registering for Premium membership, then activate your Job Portal and Claim your company listing. Search for your company and if not present Add/Claim it.

Free Level

The vast majority of site users, such as your employees can register for the free account. After verifying their email address they may search for your company and rate it. Again, their rating is publicly anonymous.

Premium Membership and Company Features

Premium Membership  $66.00 annually*
Job Portal – Unlimited Job Posting and Unlimited Resume Searches
(Other packages available)
 $600 annually*
Claim Company for Reviews
Two package enhancement add-ons are optional – price above not including these.
 $349 annually*
Full benefits total $1,015 annually*

Billed to a credit card and auto-renewed. You may cancel membership at any time. Membership is valid through current membership period.

During our startup phase, we know we are underpriced compared to other LGBT Job Board sites. Additionally, we are the first and only Company Review site specific to the LGBTQ community.

* Rates may/will increase over time. Join now and lock in rates for the duration of uninterrupted membership.

Getting Started

To register, simply visit www.OutBuro.com.

Choose the Premium Membership plan. https://www.outburo.com/plans/memberships/

  1. Complete your personal profile.
  2. Activate your Job Portal and choose your package. Each new Premium level member receives 4 Job Postings and 20 resume searches as a free trial. Remember, this site just launched and we are seeking companies just like yours to partner with us to grow the community so that we all benefit.  https://www.outburo.com/premium/employer-panel/
    1. We are working on the Job Portal Employer guide – you may have multiple team members access the account as well as provide an XML data file for bulk uploads.
  3. From the main home page or the Company & Reviews page search for your company. https://www.outburo.com/company-reviews/
    1. If present, choose Claim Listing.
    2. If not present choose the Add Company button or link. Be sure to select the default Paid Add/Claim listing. https://www.outburo.com/member/add-company-listing.
      Complete the listing adding a log as your first image. See registration options to add to your package.