Ask the White Guy: Do You Need to Know the Orientation of Your Coworkers

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Comment:

It’s not the role of Pfizer to promote LGBT propaganda. All employees are equal and I have not to know about colleagues’ sexual orientation.

Response:

Note to readers: This is why diversity training must be mandatory. We know the orientation of most of our coworkers; we learn about their spouses, their children and their families. A workplace would be a very cold and sterile one if you didn’t have that kind of interaction. However, if the workplace isn’t LGBT-friendly, your LGBT coworkers don’t have the freedom the heterosexual folks have. Aside from the punishment of hiding yourself for the majority of your waking hours, it is almost impossible for a person to be promoted very far without having a comfort level with their superiors. Promotions, especially to senior management, require a great deal of mutual trust—something that is impossible to develop if you’re forced to hide such a fundamental part of who you are. (Read more about diversity training on BestPractices.DiversityInc.com.)

Please think about this e-mail. Can you imagine the workplace atmosphere surrounding this person If you’re tempted to agree, put a group that’s near and dear to you in place of LGBT. For example, try this on for size: “It’s not the role of Pfizer to promote Black propaganda. All employees are equal and I have not to know about a colleagues’ cultural background.” Or “It’s not the role of Pfizer to promote woman propaganda. All employees are equal and I have not to know about colleagues’ gender.”

Also, let’s not make an issue of the company at hand in this article and response. I recently got a death threat from a guy using the e-mail from the bank he works at. There are creeps working at every company. Training helps them tuck in their creepiness while at work.

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