A major change is underway in today’s workplace. Out & Equal at Work is a groundbreaking anthology that chronicles personal narratives from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied executive trailblazers who have conquered adversity and ushered in policies that affirm and support the LGBT community in some of America’s top Fortune 500 companies. Out & Equal at Work profiles an advocacy organization located at the intersection of the private sector and a broader social movement—Out & Equal Workplace Advocates—and its visionary Founding Executive Director, Selisse Berry
Heartwarming as well as educational, these stories detail the struggles and dangers as well as the sometimes overwhelming acceptance present in the workplace for the LGBT community.
Lori Fox, President and Founder of Lori Fox Diversity/Business Consulting
Excerpt from Out & Equal at Work
No one had to tell me that transitioning at my former company would put my job at risk. The company’s nondiscrimination policy included sexual orientation, but provided no protections for gender identity and expression. In fact, I knew of at least one employee who was fired for gender expression. I discovered this during a conversation during the company Christmas party with a regional operations leader. The regional leader said that he had fired someone earlier that day, and explained, “The employee was just too effeminate looking, and our customers would not want that. Besides, ‘he’ wanted to come in wearing women’s clothes, and our customers would totally disapprove.” I asked him why he did not simply move the person to another job so that s/he would not interact with customers. He responded, “We cannot have that in our company. It is unacceptable.” Being very closeted at the time, I felt powerless to do anything. I also felt that if I advocated too strongly, I too would be implicated.
This is what the power of fear and shame can do in a non-inclusive LGBT workplace culture. Not standing up for what I believe in was one of the most painful consequences of living a lie by being in the closet. It was unconscionable for someone to be fired simply for being their authentic self, which had absolutely nothing to do with the individual’s job performance.
President and Founder of Lori Fox Diversity/Business Consulting, Lori works as a diversity/business consultant and personal coach, consulting with individuals and corporations on workplace issues, especially LGBT personal and professional development. A Transgender woman, she lives her life with a passion for authenticity and excellence. Lori served as a Director of Human Resources and a Business Partner of a Fortune 100 company for two decades in U.S. and international assignments. Lori works in leadership, training and coaching roles for local and national organizations, including Out & Equal, where she serves on the Board of Directors, and as National Chairperson of the Transgender Workplace Advisory Board. She is a frequent speaker on LGBT Diversity issues at university campuses, churches and business organizations throughout the U.S.