Orlando, Closet Revelation

In the aftermath of the June 12, Orlando gay nightclub shooting, there has been a growing tension between two outwardly incompatible positions. Some people believe that this attack was an act of terrorism. This was reinforced when world leaders, such as President Barack Obama and PM Malcolm Turnbull claimed this was true. Presidential nominee used this to gain political capital, by restating his position that Muslims should be banned from entering the US.

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Others, mostly within the LGBTI community, say this was an act of homophobia. A man spreading his gay hate from the barrel of an AR-15. In Australia, a visiting UK Muslim cleric was forced to leave the country, after he made an assertion that under sharia law homosexuality was punishable by death.

Then something occurred that shines a different light on the attack. In Orlando, rumors were circulating that the homophobia displayed by gunman Omar Mateen was not the abstract, impersonal hate created by his Muslim background. Instead, it was a personal compulsion.

It appears that Mateen was a regular at the Pulse nightclub. He was obsessed with a dancer and had his favorite drag queens. Mateen preferred Latino men, which was the reason he chose “Latin Night” as the day of his attack. This was an act of revenge for rejections he experienced or maybe a way to obliterate guilt from successful encounters.

Mateen’s 911 call might have been one last attempt to cloak his sexuality, by claiming a connection to the Islamic State. He chose to be remembered as a martyr for IS, rather than a closeted gay man. The FBI says he did not have any terrorist connections, and he does not appear to have been an IS recruit. However, invocating its name is a trigger, because the radical jihadist ideology has found ways to bypass the moral objection that keeps most people from committing acts of violence.

What story will be told about this attack ten years from now? Will it be that a Muslim gunman walked into a gay nightclub and murdered 49 people? A radical Islamist committed a terrorist attack in Orlando? An American citizen used an AR-15 to commit a massacre? A conflicted gay man took revenge on people in a gay club?

LGBTI Inclusion in the Worklace

Companies and corporations throughout Australia are beginning to realize the importance of an LGBTI inclusive policy for their customers, clients, and employees.

Markets and Brand Promotions

By working with an LGBTI inclusive program like Pride in Diversity and promoting this alliance, you can:

-Promote the inclusive culture of your business and brand

– Be recognized by organizations that embrace the LGBTI community as a part of their cutting edge diversity strategies.

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Many business owners do not realize that 74 percent of gay consumers and 42 percent of straight consumers are less likely to do business with an organization that has negative views of homosexual people (Harris Interactive). Additionally, the workforce is filled with young adults (Gen Y and beyond) who are concerned about the diversity strategies of potential employers.

The Benefits of Attracting the “Pink Dollar” Why Businesses Should Capture Profitable Niche Markets

– According to A to Z of the Pink Dollar, The Age, 2004, the estimated annual disposal income of Australian gay and lesbian households is over $10 billion.

– Approximately 47 percent of LGBTI consumers base their purchases on a company’s diversity policies- compared to 18 percent of heterosexual consumers. (Winfield, 2005)

– The LGBTI consumers are very loyal to brands that embrace diversification policies and ethical organizations.

– Companies that hire LGBTI employees often align better with LGBTI consumers and investors, which can improve profits.

Employee Retention, Engagement and Productivity

– Approximately 2 in 5 gay and lesbian employees facing employer discrimination will change careers if the discrimination continues. (Harris Interactive, US)

Half of the LGBTI employees would be more committed and loyal to employers who embrace and enact LGBTI diversification programs and policies. (Same Same: The Gay Census, 2008)

– Employees who are comfortable about coming “out” in an inclusive work environment are more productive. This is seen in career remuneration and development.

– LGBTI employees who suffer discrimination in the workplace typically have a negative attitude in the workplace and are offered fewer promotions, according to Ragins and Cornwell, 2001.

– Same Same, The Gay Census from 2008 reports that employees perform better when they are allowed to be themselves. Approximately one-third of homosexual employees conceal their sexual orientation from their co-workers and employees.

– Casashade, a company that installs patio blinds in Sydney has put a policy in place and has said that it has many positive impacts, not just on sexual discrimination, but also on relationships in general.

Risk Mitigation

Employers who embrace LGBTI inclusive policies can minimize their labor costs that are associated with staff turnover, absenteeism and complaint resolution.

– 53 percent of homosexuals in the workplace experience some type of discrimination or harassment.

– Approximately half of all working homosexuals experience homophobic jokes or remarks at their jobs.

– 28 percent of these employees are asked unwelcome or aggressive questions about their sexual status.

– 22 percent of employees feel “outed”in their workplace.

– 17 percent report that their careers have been restricted due to their sexual orientation.

– Employers can minimize mental health problems and employee turnover due to discrimination and stigma by having an LGBTI diversity strategy and program into place.

– According to DCA in 2008, the average cost of serious external complaints is $125,000 per incident. – Additionally, damages have been awarded in excess of $1 million.

– Reputations can negatively impact share prices. The US Department of Labor found that share prices tend to drop within 24 hours of a company discrimination complaint going public.

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What Does This Mean for Australian Workplaces?

Having an LGBTI diversity strategy and program in place can improve employee retention, productivity and profitability. By ensuring the workplace does not discriminate against race, gender, age, disability, religion or sexual orientation, businesses can avoid costly lawsuits. Although progressive diversity strategies have been embraced by businesses in the UK and the US, these strategies are new to the Australian workplace.

Because of this, there are not many practitioners with the experience that businesses and HR executive need to implement diversification strategies for their LGBTI employees. This program provides Australian employers with the support and advice they need to embrace LGBTI diversification strategies in the workplace.

The Pride in Diversity program was designed to help business owners strengthen their reputation and brand recognition as an inclusive employer. They will provide you with the support and information you, as a business owner, needs to implement or strengthen your diversity strategy in your workplace.

Managing the Outfall of a Plebiscite

These are uncertain times, and it’s currently difficult to say whether or the plebiscite on gay marriage planned by the LNP will even come to pass. The cause of marriage equality is doubtless in for a tough time if it is going to overcome the forces of bigotry that will be arrayed against it. Counsellor Vivien Ray had some insightful comments on the best steps we can take to be prepared.

How are LGBT parents reacting to the possibility of a plebiscite? How are they preparing their children for it?

Children who are intimately involved with this issue may find the entire experience frightening and anxiety-provoking. Conservative voices will be loud, angry, and abusive in the lead-up to a plebiscite, and this could be a scary experience for younger children. The possibility of violence will worry them. Heightened emotions could lead to tense times in schools, and parents may well fear that their children are at risk.

What warning signs should parents watch out for?

Any changes in behaviour could be important. Unusually negative, angry, or abusive responses are a possibility. Children could become withdrawn, experience nightmares, express frightening or unhappy thoughts, or start wetting the bed. Not all children will feel comfortable speaking to their parents about negative experiences they go through. Children who have already made a habit of keeping emotions to themselves may not feel inclined to reach out. Other children, though, may feel the need to express themselves by speaking out – either privately or publically – about their feelings.

What can be done to keep our children safe in the face of anti-equality activities?

One great step you can take is to let your children join the “Resilient Rainbow Kids’ group. Starting on July 30, this organization will give all children a safe place to learn and react to the issues raised by the plebiscite. Children whose families are directly affected and those who aren’t are all welcome. Children who participate will enjoy a greater sense of understanding about the events that they’re going through and the pressures which are being exerted on them and their peers.

Children in the group will get the opportunity to play out potentially-threatening scenarios in a safe environment. The diversity of Rainbow families will be celebrated. Children are encouraged to take home the lessons they learn; parents are also encouraged to get involved. You can help by making sure your children aren’t exposed to age-inappropriate language, by being positive role models, and by bolstering their self-esteem in these trying times. Children don’t need to be hidden from bigotry; they need age-appropriate lessons that teach them what it is and what they should do when confronted by it.

Remember that the way you choose to respond to bigoted situations will become a model for your children’s behaviours and responses. Parents involved in the ‘Resilient Rainbow Kids’ group will receive an informative packet of articles that can help. It shares useful thoughts on teaching kids to deal with homophobic insults, keeping their self-esteem high, and interacting with their schools and educators.

What are the facts regarding same-sex parenting?

In 2013, a study of 500 Australian children being raised by same-sex parents sought to quantify their health and well-being. The results of the work indicate that being raised in a same-sex family has no negative impact on a child’s mental or physical health, and does not alter their behaviour. In fact, children from same-sex families scored above normal for overall health and for family cohesion – a rough measure of family members’ ability to get along with each other.