by Brianna Nelson | The Out & Equal Workplace Summit isn’t only for those who identify as LGBT. In fact, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates welcomes and encourages everyone to attend, and this year we’ve put together some fantastic programming specifically for allies. We know—and we want you to know—how important allies are in the struggle for workplace equality.
A number of allies with impressive LGBT advocacy track records will be joining us as plenary speakers and featured presenters, including:
Since her son’s murder in a notorious anti-gay hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998, Judy Shepard has been a tireless advocate for equality and respect for human dignity and is one of the most recognizable “straight allies” to the LGBT community. She spoke at the 2006 Out & Equal Workplace in Denver, and we are lucky and pleased to be hosting her in Baltimore this year.
Zach Wahls addressed the Iowa House Judiciary Committee in a public hearing regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Iowa on January 31, 2011. Hours later, his speech was posted on YouTube, where it went viral. He recently spoke at the Democratic National Convention to an enthusiastic audience, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from his perspective as a child of LGBT parents.
Benjamin Todd Jealous is the 17th President and CEO of the NAACP. Appointed at age 35 in 2008, he is the youngest person to lead the century old organization. Earlier this year Benjamin spoke at the National Conference on LGBT Equality in Baltimore.
And newly announced—Joan Collins (aka Alexis Carrington Colby of Dynasty) will also be joining us! As an accomplished actor, author, producer, humanitarian and entrepreneur, Collins has built a career that places her in the unrivaled ranks of international superstar and icon. Read her blog about joining us next week.
In addition to hearing from these fabulous allies, you’ll want to take a look at the variety of ally-oriented seminars, panels, and workshops available for your participatory pleasure:
Ally Leadership Development
This session for ally engagement and empowerment will include a specific focus for developing a stronger, more vibrant ally engagement program in your workplace. Participants will leave with not just cultural competency but also with concrete steps that can be integrated in your workplace. We will examine the basic language of LGBT inclusion that allies need, the challenges of being out in the workplace, marriage equality and corporate allies, transgender inclusion, ally engagement across the ERGs, roadblocks to ally engagement, and action planning for changing workplace culture.
Allies and Transgender Employees: Supporting Transition
A successful transition at work requires planning, education, and a tremendous amount of courage. The support of allies is critical to the experience of everyone whom the process touches, but most especially for the employee at the center of it all. The transitioning employee’s manager can be his or her most vital ally during such an important point in that employee’s career–and life. This panel explores the role of ally from the perspective of managers who provided to support to employees during their transition at work.
LGBT Parenting: Our Children Speak
LGBT employees regularly make the decision to “come out” at work to managers, co-workers and clients. We also know that allies regularly face the same choice in voicing their support for LGBT colleagues. That includes allies with very specific ties to the LGBT community—our children. Following last year’s successful conversation of the issues specific to employees who are LGBT parents, this year’s program shares the experiences of employees whose parents are LGBT. The session will begin with remarks with one child of LGBT parents who has been very vocal in his support—Zach Wahls.
From Sinners to Saints: How Heterosexual, Evangelical Christians Become Allies
Learn how LGBT coworkers, along with out, LGBT Christians (yes, you can be both LGBT and Christian!), play a key role in enabling heterosexual Christians to become allies and advocates at work and at church.
Allies at Work
Allies at work will provide hands-on, practical experience for engaging allies in the workplace. The session will focus on David M Hall Associates signature instructional strategies.
You can find David M. Hall’s book, Allies at Work, in the Out & Equal Outie Store along with our most recent publication Out & Equal at Work: From Closet to Corner Office, featuring the personal narratives of LGBTA executives who changed policies and attitudes to support the LGBT community in the workplace.
Let’s Talk – Aligning as Agents of Change
This highly interactive session creates a dialogue and learning experience where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals feel heard about their workplace experiences; heterosexual allies explore their understanding of LGBT individuals’ workplace experiences; and together engage in focused dialogue to generate ideas about effectively driving change to create more inclusive workplaces.
I’m Not LGBT – Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That: Coming Out as a Straight Ally
Straight allies in the workplace are some of the strongest advocates for equality we have. However, being one of these unexpected—and often less immediately visible—messengers of why equality is an issue for everyone is not without its own challenges. Find out how to effectively communicate why you’re an ally (and why saying it matters).
Allies Role in Changing the Unspoken Culture of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the Workplace
Organizations, even those with robust diversity and inclusion policies and programs in place, still have areas with unofficial and unspoken cultures of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the workplace. Participants in this workshop will learn to recognize these situations and strategies and tactics will be discussed, particularly the role that allies can play to move the workplace toward one of inclusion.
Need some travel reading for your trip to Summit or your usual commute to work? PFLAG’s “Guide to Being a Straight Ally” helps to “demystify” the world of LGBT people, whether you’re new to the ally circle or a veteran.
Online registration is closed for the 2012 Out & Equal Workplace Summit in Baltimore, October 29 – November 1. However, you can register onsite starting October 29. We promise to save a spot for you and look forward to seeing you at Summit!