Forming an Employee GLBT Workgroup
We formed our LGBT group about 2 years ago here at our Milwaukee
subsidiary of a Fortune 5000 company... so I can probably give you some
very Midwestern suggestions... or at least how we got off the ground!
Contact all of the LGBT people you know at work. Make your contact
as discreet as possible (we telephoned people and left our home numbers)...
invite them to a brainstorming session. We did it at one of our homes.
Of the 15 people we knew, 14 showed up. It was amazing.
Talk about what you want to accomplish: a social network, a
support system, an agent for changing corporate culture and policies, or
all of the above.
Identify a means of staying in communication. Since we have
email, we agreed to have 2 people (only) manage the private email distribution
list. Additionally, we gave people the option of allowing themselves to
be known to other members of the group as well as staying unknown.
In no case is anyone's name revealed to anyone else unless they permit.
Identify your straight allies. They're invaluable.
Include partners in any meetings or get-togethers. It's a great
way to network, affirm relationships, and build a solid group.
Assess your company's EEOC / employee handbook / diversity policies.
Where are the holes for LGBT people? That is, is sexual orientation
included? Gender identity/characteristics/expression? If not,
it's a great place to start. If you have protection in the policy,
think about Domestic Partner Benefits.
If you're in Milwaukee or Minneapolis/St Paul, there are LGBT Workplace
Coalitions of local LGBT employee groups. They can give you
some pointers and support.
Out & Equal
Try to identify local LGBT employee groups... we had access to people from
Ameritech and Wisconsin Electric, who gave us tons of help in defining
our group's purpose, goals and strategies.
Try to get together on a regular basis. At first, we met on
a monthly basis... but since we've now achieved many of our goals (in 2
years!!!), we'll be meeting every other month. We've tried
every permutation: at local restaurant, someone's home, neutral office
space... people seem to be most comfortable at someone's home.
Don't be discouraged if just a few of you are giving the group its direction.
Although we run our group on strictly democratic lines, there are only
3-5 of us who push forward movement. The important thing is to remember
the purpose of your group.
BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!!!
[Courtesy of Linda_D_Bradshaw]
For a more detailed description, and
a list of existing employee workgroups, see
Back to Transgender at Work home page.