Today I welcome Selisse Berry to Now is Gone. Selisse is an advocate for GLBTQ rights in the workplace, and founded Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. I will be separately featuring information about her book, Out and Equal, and at the bottom of her guest post here, I will be providing some information about Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. I will also be reading and reviewing Out & Equal in the middle of March, so I will post links from that review back to these posts at that time. Without further ado:
I first realized that I am a lesbian when I was studying in seminary to become a Presbyterian minister. I quickly learned that, if I came out and chose to live my life honestly and openly, I would not be allowed to be ordained as a minister. I had to leave a career that I loved simply because of my sexual orientation.
From that point forward, I dedicated my life to creating workplace equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the workplace, with the hope that one day people will no longer have to choose between a career they love and living their lives with authenticity and integrity. My own experience inspired me to found Out & Equal Workplace Advocates sixteen years ago to advance workplace equality for LGBT people. Over the years, Out & Equal has grown into an international nonprofit organization working with multinational corporations, executives, employee resource group leaders, and diversity professionals to create more inclusive workplaces. Through this work, I met many senior executives and leaders who have driven real change in the corporations where they work. They each had touching personal stories of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allies.
I realized that their stories were history in the making, and this inspired me to write Out & Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office. I knew that the stories had to be told, and so I reached out to senior executives from some of the world’s top corporations, inviting them to join me in sharing our stories. I was so honored with the results – that so many powerful people were happy to share their stories - including the CEO of Intuit, who is an important ally to the LGBT community, and openly LGBT senior executives from the Walt Disney Company, the Clorox Company, Campbell Soup, Merck, IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, and many other top corporations.
Out & Equal at Work is the first time that business leaders, including C-Suite executives from Fortune 500 Companies have come together to share their personal stories of facing discrimination and forwarding LGBT equality in the workplace. In many ways it is a book that reminds us that it really does get better. And, although things have improved, there is still so much to do. In 29 states, anyone can be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and there are still some countries that punish LGBT people with the death penalty.
I hope that Out & Equal at Work will inspire people, including you, to become involved in Out & Equal’s efforts to expand workplace equality. There are many ways to become involved with Out & Equal: our headline events like the Workplace Summit, the annual LGBT Executive Forum and Momentum Leadership Celebration, local Regional Affiliate events, and training for your organization. We also host free monthly Town Call webinars, maintaining the world's largest registry of LGBT employee resource groups which connects LGBT employee resource group leaders from around the world. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Copies of Out & Equal at Work can be purchased online, or via Amazon for electronic versions.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Founded by Executive Director Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is the world’s largest nonprofit organization specifically dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The organization has grown significantly with dramatic increases in attendance for the annual Workplace Summit, the expansion of regional affiliates across the United States, and many global initiatives. Out & Equal has created numerous programs to advance its mission, including the first Global Summit in London, the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit, the LGBT Executive Forum and Leadership Celebration, bimonthly Town Call seminars and the world’s largest registry of LGBT Employee Resource Groups.
Out & Equal is committed to creating safe and equitable workplace environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. We believe that people should be judged by the work they do, not by their sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day, we work to protect and empower employees to be productive and successful—so they can support themselves, their families, and contribute to achieving a world free of discrimination for everyone.