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Diversity Confusion...Need Help

lucyandroger

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My FI's employer has a diversity committee. Although my FI does not necessarily look it, he is considered racially "diverse" and is a member of this committee. Because he does not look "diverse," the LGBT group at the company assumed that he was gay and added him to the LGBT list.

FI thought it was kind of amusing and didn't do anything about it. But now they are planning to circulate the bios of LGBT employees to prospective employees as a recruiting tactic. So...it's time to say something.

Can anyone help with language to let the head of the LGBT group know that he is not gay without being too awkward or insulting in any way. Now is a good time to do it anyhow since he's marrying a woman this weekend! lol
 

Izzy03

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Haha! That is kind of funny! Your fiance sounds like a great guy to see the humor in it. I also am "racially diverse" but most people wouldn't realize it, it can be frustrating at times!

I would tell him to just bite the bullet and do it. I understand that he is trying to be sensitive to avoid offending people (bless him for that)!, but I really can't imagine anyone within the group would be offended over such a silly mistake.

A simple "Hey Bob, I noticed I was on the LGBT bio list, and I was unsure why." The conversation will flow from there and he can explain he is about to marry a chick. Based on his attitude towards the situation, I am guessing the whole group will get a laugh out of the misunderstanding!

I have lots of friends that are members of LGBT chapters, and none of them take it too seriously!
 

monarch64

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No advice to give here...but a question: when will we stop celebrating our differences and start celebrating our likenesses???
 

lucyandroger

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Izzy - Hi! Thanks - I think he's pretty great ::) I think you're right that he's just got to bite the bullet. I don't see a way that there won't be any awkwardness. lol

Monarch - The committee is not really about celebrating our differences. It is more about providing a support network for "diverse" individuals in a field that is made up predominantly of straight white males.
 

monarch64

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LucyandRoger--I understand your point, but do you understand mine? For years it seems that we have been celebrating how DIFFERENT we are, but what about getting TOGETHER and understanding our SIMILARITIES for a change? Just a thought, and not intended to incite any debate.
 

kenny

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Just say he's not gay, and didn't bother clarifying it earlier since it doesn't really matter if people are gay or straight.
Nothing's awkward or insulting about that - just the truth.

Some of my best friends are straight. :bigsmile:

I love this topic these days.
In my personal life I have so much fun with it now since everyone knows I'm gay.
Years ago it used to be very difficult and awkward because homophobia was the norm.
You had to be careful who you told.

I do try to mention it soon after meeting new people.
I don't bash people over the head with it, but I'll find an opportunity to mention something like, "Oh my partner and I have lived here for 10 years and he . . ."

Now that I'm at peace with it (and conquered the hate and rejection that was so influential in my early life) others immediately pick up my comfort level about being gay, and it's cool.
Before people could sense my awkwardness and that also made them feel awkward.
People absorb your vibe - so send out good ones.

Homosexuality is not a sin or anything to be ashamed of anymore, any more than having red hair; it's just how some people are born.
The dinosaurs who still think gay is bad are dying off fast and being replaced.

When you or your fiance talks to the group, smile, relax, hold your head up, look people in the eye, and just say what's true.
The subject is not inherently awkward, but it can feel awkward to you if your feelings about the subject are ambivalent.
 

fieryred33143

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Did theyvadd him to the group because they think he's gay or so that he can help with activities?

At my old job I was part of something similar (they called it inclusion). We were split into different groups to head activities. There were people that were voluntold to be part of the LGBT committee not because anyone thought they were gay but because that was the group assigned.

Anyway, I would find out for sure. I'm also curious if they are distributing this list as "these are the people on the committee" and not "these are the LGBT employees we have". That seems a little odd that they would do that.
 

Izzy03

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Kenny~ My point exactly! Most openly gay individuals are comfortable with the topic. I don't see it being awkward unless your FI makes it awkward. I really think everyone will see the humor in it.
 

lucyandroger

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monarch64|1305096683|2918250 said:
LucyandRoger--I understand your point, but do you understand mine? For years it seems that we have been celebrating how DIFFERENT we are, but what about getting TOGETHER and understanding our SIMILARITIES for a change? Just a thought, and not intended to incite any debate.
Hi Monarch, I do understand your point. Since you posed your question on my thread, I assumed that you thought the purpose of the committe was to celebrate our differences, which it is not. My apologies if that's not what you thought.

There are lots of events and meetings throughout the year where people at the company get together and celebrate their similarities - softball team, fantasy football league, presentations on current topics in the industry, baby showers, etc. Indeed, I agree that is important.
 

suchende

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For what it's worth, even if they knew he was getting married, he could still identify as "LGBT." Is there any chance he could get it resolved through support staff (since it seems like a clerical error) and avoid the awkward convo?
 

iheartscience

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Ha, that's funny, lucyandroger! I agree that he just needs to speak up and say "I was added to the committee because I'm X race. I think people assumed I'm gay because I don't look like X race, but I'm actually straight."
 

lucyandroger

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fiery|1305117107|2918374 said:
Did theyvadd him to the group because they think he's gay or so that he can help with activities?

At my old job I was part of something similar (they called it inclusion). We were split into different groups to head activities. There were people that were voluntold to be part of the LGBT committee not because anyone thought they were gay but because that was the group assigned.

Anyway, I would find out for sure. I'm also curious if they are distributing this list as "these are the people on the committee" and not "these are the LGBT employees we have". That seems a little odd that they would do that.
It is a list of the LGBT employees. They have one for each of the groups. It includes everyone, not just people on the diversity committee. But the lists are not public (you can't search for them in outlook). My company also has these lists. It's an easy way to ask a question or invite people to an event.
 

lucyandroger

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Kenny - Thanks for chiming in! That's why my FI didn't say anything in the beginning - he really couldn't care less if people thought he was gay. Where I think the awkwardness comes in is that he's been on the list for months without saying anything. He just didn't want to be the guy who made a big deal about it. The sending the bios thing is what's causing him to speak up now.

So, we knew he had to say something. We were just looking for help with drafting the email.

Here's what I've got:

Hi [Name],

It looks like you've got some great things planned. I'm happy to help out but just wanted to let you know that I'm not actually a member of the LGBT community, so I shouldn't be included in the bios.

Thanks,
Lucy's FI

Thoughts?
 

iheartscience

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I think that sounds good! Should he also explain why he's on the committee in the first place? If it's not obvious he's "diverse" they may wonder why he's on it. It's not necessarily their business, but it could help clear things up.
 

lucyandroger

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thing2of2|1305121784|2918432 said:
I think that sounds good! Should he also explain why he's on the committee in the first place? If it's not obvious he's "diverse" they may wonder why he's on it. It's not necessarily their business, but it could help clear things up.
That's a good point. Thanks Thing! If we don't clear it up, next thing you know I'll be posting to ask how to get him off the women's list. lol
 

iheartscience

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lucyandroger|1305122437|2918443 said:
thing2of2|1305121784|2918432 said:
I think that sounds good! Should he also explain why he's on the committee in the first place? If it's not obvious he's "diverse" they may wonder why he's on it. It's not necessarily their business, but it could help clear things up.
That's a good point. Thanks Thing! If we don't clear it up, next thing you know I'll be posting to ask how to get him off the women's list. lol
HA! :cheeky:
 

Haven

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I think your email looks perfect. I would have recommended your FI drop in and have an informal conversation, but the email looks good, too.

I'm surprised to learn that they keep lists of employees who belong to certain minority groups. Is this normal in corporate environments? It would scare the heck out of me to learn that my company kept a list of Jewish employees, for example. :-o
 

sillyberry

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Haven|1305128027|2918529 said:
I think your email looks perfect. I would have recommended your FI drop in and have an informal conversation, but the email looks good, too.

I'm surprised to learn that they keep lists of employees who belong to certain minority groups. Is this normal in corporate environments? It would scare the heck out of me to learn that my company kept a list of Jewish employees, for example. :-o
Yep. In my experience, though, normally it's because you've self-identified as X, Y, or Z. And then there are activities and events targeted towards members of those groups, usually hoping to foster mentorship opportunities and relationship building. Also to make your employees say nice things about you when being surveyed about the quality of the company.
 

MichelleCarmen

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lucyandroger|1305121237|2918420 said:
Kenny - Thanks for chiming in! That's why my FI didn't say anything in the beginning - he really couldn't care less if people thought he was gay. Where I think the awkwardness comes in is that he's been on the list for months without saying anything. He just didn't want to be the guy who made a big deal about it. The sending the bios thing is what's causing him to speak up now.

So, we knew he had to say something. We were just looking for help with drafting the email.

Here's what I've got:

Hi [Name],

It looks like you've got some great things planned. I'm happy to help out but just wanted to let you know that I'm not actually a member of the LGBT community, so I shouldn't be included in the bios.

Thanks,
Lucy's FI

Thoughts?
Sounds good. Maybe have him make a few spelling errors and then include he may sound a bit 'out of it' because he had his bachelor party the night before and got totally hammered! Then conclude the letter by saying he's excited for everyone to meet his new wife, Lucy.
 

Sha

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That sounds like a good email.

I really don't see the need to be soft-footed about it, though. If he's not gay, he should just tell them so. I think the Committee erred by assuming he was and putting him on the list without confirming. He also should've done clarified things earlier -but he can just say that he didn't have the time, or didn't want to make a big deal out of it or whatever.
 

kenny

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It sounds good to me.

I can't wait for the day that we vanish into a non-group.

I understand that today LGBT committees and gay-pride parades are useful to help bring everyone along and out of an unfortunate past.
IMHO, ultimately gay pride is as silly as gay shame.

Imagine if there was a committee for people with red hair, or a Redhead Pride Parade.
It brings attention to something that is actually just not important to anyone but whom you sleep with.
 

mrswahs

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kenny|1305131660|2918611 said:
It sounds good to me.

I can't wait for the day that we vanish into a non-group.

I understand that today LGBT committees and gay-pride parades are useful to help bring everyone along and out of an unfortunate past.
IMHO, ultimately gay pride is as silly as gay shame.

Imagine if there was a committee for people with red hair, or a Redhead Pride Parade.
It brings attention to something that is actually just not important to anyone but whom you sleep with.
Love this. So true.
 

Haven

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kenny|1305131660|2918611 said:
It sounds good to me.

I can't wait for the day that we vanish into a non-group.

I understand that today LGBT committees and gay-pride parades are useful to help bring everyone along and out of an unfortunate past.
IMHO, ultimately gay pride is as silly as gay shame.

Imagine if there was a committee for people with red hair, or a Redhead Pride Parade.
It brings attention to something that is actually just not important to anyone but whom you sleep with.
You can all join my human group, a group for people who are also humans. (Requirements: Verification of your humanity by at least three people who have worked with or for you at some point in your life.)

Kenny--When I worked in the corporate world for a year my company had a group for abnormally tall women. (There are scholarships for people like us.) It had an offensive name that I just cannot recall right now, but it had something to do with long legs, and it was a bad pun on top of it. I was invited but did not join. I am not abnormally tall, everyone else is just abnormally short.

I think it's strange to have these sorts of groups, even if people self-identify. I would much rather see people rally around a particular cause or initiative and then find each other there. For example, I'm active in my school's Women's and Gender Studies program. I have met people who are like-minded in the various committees that support the WGS program, and it's been very nice.

Anyway, I hope your FI has a nice conversation free of awkwardness, lucy!
 

lucyandroger

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Thanks, everyone! Just wanted to jump in quickly. I appreciate everyone's responses. Don't have much time but...

I wish we were at a point where all we needed was a human group. Alas, we work at a large law firms where people do not succeed strictly based on merit but on networking and schmoozing. The old boys club is alive and well. So in my opinion, these groups do serve a purpose but hopefully not for much longer. Law firm retention rates of women and minorities are pretty terrible though.

ETA - Haven, a lot of the diversity groups do get together and do volunteer work or focus on a cause. We all work 60-80 hour weeks though so usually we want to spend our down time with our families. Having organized meetings helps to makes sure we all stay in touch because when you work such long hours, it's hard to make time without it being calendared for you.
 

Haven

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Lucy--That makes sense. I work in a completely different environment, and now I see why these groups would be beneficial to people in your FI's workplace. I think he was really cool about the whole thing, and I imagine his coworkers will be able to laugh about it after he's had the conversation.
 

Tacori E-ring

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This is interesting b/c I am actually taking a multicultural course as part as my grad school requirements. Before the course I thought I was bias free but have really discovered a lot about myself. I did not know white privilege still existed. I did not recognize generational oppression. I did not know ignoring the differences *was* a form of oppression. I did not know all the mircoaggressions that I have participated during my lifetime. I did not fully appreciate the struggles oppressed people continue to deal with on a daily basis. We are not treated the same. Our race, gender, SES, sexual orientation, age, nationality, language, education level, religion, etc (I am sure I am missing many more), all form who we are as individuals and how the world treats us. Studying racial identity development is very interesting. I am not at the level I believed I was.

I think it is wonderful they have a diversity group at your FI's work. :appl: In hindsight your FI should have said something right away when they classified his as LGBTQ. I would be brief and honest.

ETA: I think it is very important for people to be able to identify with a larger group and embrace their culture. We had a panel of young LGBTQ teens speak with our class and it was really eye opening. It is easier to think we have made progress as a society but in many ways we still marginalize minorities. It will be interesting to see when the majority becomes the minority in the USA around 2030-2050.
 
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