OAW(ON) News, Volume 1 Number 3, April 1996

'What Ever Happened to Out at Work? . . .'

. . . you may have asked yourself during the past year. It's true, we haven't done any local programming since our very successful Leadership Conference a year ago. What was our strategy in following up a large success with near invisibility? Well, not really a strategy but, rather, pragmatic realities. Individually our leadership team members had reached a point of needing time away or time to work on other projects. The motivation to call the next meeting never materialized. However, we still receive several calls and e-mails each week from around the country from people needing specific information, which we respond to. And we continue networking with groups similar to Out at Work in other regions. In fact, we're one of several well known information sources on workplace issues. Many of you have expressed interest in Out at Work's good work continuing, perhaps with quarterly meetings where people can share what's happening at their companies, plus a summer picnic and maybe an annual leadership conference. In addition, answering queries about topics like domestic partnership by sending reports and other useful information is a valuable service. Unfortunately, the leadership that created and ran Out at Work in its first three years is probably not available to play a lead role in the future. However, we are eager to help those of you who might be able to take on that challenge, and we have a number of tangible and intangible resources that could be passed on to a new steering team.

Revitalization Meeting Scheduled

Therefore, we have scheduled a meeting for Thursday, May 16 at Ann Sather Restaurant (929 W. Belmont in Chicago), at 7:30 p.m., to see if new leadership will emerge. This will also be an opportunity for people to report on the status of efforts at their individual companies. Your participation is needed if Out at Work's good work is to continue! If you're interested in attending, please RSVP at 312-794-5218. Note: This will not be a dinner meeting. We're very pleased that Sharon Silverstein, co-author of "Straight Jobs, Gay Lives: Gay and Lesbian Professionals, The Harvard Business School, and the American Workplace" will be with us at the meeting to give a short presentation and participate in our planning!

Send Us Your E-Mail Address!!

It's so much easier and less expensive to communicate via email than U.S. Mail that we've been distributing a lot of information that way. We find, or are sent, much relevant information from the Internet and forward it to our email list. Please send your email address to OAWon@aol.com if you'd like to join that distribution list. Our web pages will be expanded with new and improved information and on May 1st. See it at our new, shorter URL: http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/usa/illinois/oaw/ (the old address will still work). Please distribute our email address to others who might like to receive our mailings! And if you want to share items that would be of interest to others, or have found relevant websites, please send a message to us so we can pass on the information!

National Conference on Workplace Issues Held in San Francisco

NGLTF presented "Out and Equal in the '90s: The 5th Annual National Conference on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Workplace Issues," April 20-21 in San Francisco. Three hundred representatives from numerous employee groups and regional groups attended. Out at Work participated in discussions about the possibility of creating a national workplace organization. Awards were given to GALAXe at Xerox for achievement, and to the unofficial group at Chevron for perseverence in the face of difficulties. Dr. Frank Kameny, who challenged his gay-related firing from a government job in 1957, gave an inspiring keynote address. Out at Work (Or Not)'s representative helped facilitate a session about the value of coalition building.

Horizons Conference Needs Volunteers

Next October Horizons Community Services will be holding its third Gay Issues in the Workplace conference. There will be two tracks, gay issues for human resource professionals, and marketing to the gay community. Planning efforts are underway now. To volunteer please call Nancy Schneider at 312-587-1410.

LEAGUE National Conference in Chicago to Be Open to All

The Northern Illinois chapter of AT&T LEAGUE (Lesbian Bisexual And Gay United Employees) will be hosting the 5th annual LEAGUE Professional Development Conference in Chicago May 1-4, 1996. In addition to employees of AT&T, the conference will be open to members of the community at large. Full registration is $500, but single day registrations are available. The deadline for single day registration is April 26! More than 500 lesbian, gay, and bisexual professionals, their partners, allies and supporters will come from all over the world to attend the conference. For more information call 708-979-9265. With the breakup of AT&T into three separate companies, LEAGUE has also split. A new organization, to help the three groups remain in contact, may be formed.

Domestic Partnership Conference for Chicago Next Autumn

The University of Illinois at Chicago will be sponsoring the Third Annual Conference on Domestic Partner Benefits, to be held October 17-18, 1996. The conference will include workshops in the basics, plus plenary sessions on issues such as the implications of the same-sex marriage movement for DPB policy and DPB in an election year. Tracks will include private sector, non-profit/government, and higher education. To receive a conference program and registration materials, or to submit a workshop proposal, contact oglbc-2@uic.edu or phone (312) 413-8619. Visit the website at URL: http://www.uic.edu/orgs/lgbt/dpb_conference.html

Lesbigay Labor Conference to Be Held in June

The Second Biennial National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Labor Conference, sponsored by Pride at Work, will be held in Oakland, CA June 28-29. For details call 415-284-7554.

Around the Country. . .

Workplace activists in California are creating a statewide resource/networking/ advocacy organization. PROGRESS (Professional Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Related Employee Support Summit) has planners in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. For more information contact PROGRESS, P.O. Box 712505, Los Angeles, CA 90071-9998, PROGRESSUS@ aol.com. The Minnesota Workplace Alliance hosted an Executive Forum in February at The Prudential featuring Liz Winfeld, author of Straight Talk About Gays in the Workplace. Three hundred people attended the last Executive Forum! The regional groups in San Francisco and Colorado are going well, but the group in Seattle seems to have gone dormant.

Domestic Partnership Update

Locally, Northwestern University and Stein & Co., a real estate developer, adopted domestic partnership benefits last December. Kathryn Hansen, a Stein vice president, was instrumental in the success. Nationally, benefits have recently been adopted at Kodak, MGM, Xerox, Disney, Polaroid and Coors. Aetna Insurance announced it will underwrite DP benefits.

Around the Organizations

For contacts at any of the groups mentioned here, or others, please call us!

GLASS (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Straight Society) at Amoco Corporation has found interest from individuals in Denver, Houston, off-shore England, Naperville and Lisle, Illinois, and downtown Chicago. Amoco has more than 20 employee groups, all of which are sanctioned by upper management. The Executive Vice President of the Petroleum Products Sector is the group's Senior Management Liaison. GLASS was recently officially introduced at a meeting of all the employee groups. The group has completed its charter and hopes to have its first general membership meeting in the upcoming weeks. FAA GLOBE is pleased to report that the official human resource policy of the FAA now includes sexual orientation and soft domestic partnership benefits (not health insurance). Previously these policies were only by executive order of the director. The folks at Kimberly-Clark in Appleton, Wisconsin (the Kleenex/Huggies people) are helping the company develop a sexual orientation module to be added to the diversity curriculum. After meeting with the lesbigay employees, the curriculum committee began to understand why homophobia and heterosexism are appropriate issues to be discussed at work. The group was told that the committee would now go to bat for them! With the merger of First National Bank of Chicago and NBD Bank, the Chicago group has gotten new members, elected officers and formed committees. They're now First EAGLE (Employee Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Equality) and can be reached at 312-784-6067. TNTPRIDE, the Northern Trust Company's Gay and Lesbian Community, meets the 3rd Thursday of each month. They're putting together a dialogue among local banks to discuss issues of common interest. Susan Lloyd, the leader of the group at U.S. Robotics, is profiled in the current issue of Clout! Business Report. On March 8-10 the Chicago chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers Network hosted its second annual Midwest conference on ending homophobia in the schools. Congratulations to this group, which has done fantastically well in a short time! To contact GLSTN call 312-792-4140. Weve also been sharing information with more distant groups such as Ford GLOBE in Dearborn, MI, the PRIDE Diversity Focus Group at Texas Commerce Bank and the new group at United Airlines, United At United. They're at P.O. Box 88-1416, Los Angeles, CA 90009-1416, phone (310) 285-8821.

Group Seeks to Increase Foundation Support for Lesbigay Causes

The Working Group on Funding Lesbian and Gay Issues is committed to increasing the philanthropic community's knowledge and awareness of critical funding needs in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities. The Working Group has initiated a new project to work with lesbian and gay corporate employee groups to promote increased understanding and support of lesbian and gay issues by corporate giving programs and foundations. Employees can help educate and inform their companies on the needs and concerns of lesbians and gay men as well as to identify potential grantees in their local communities. For further information or if you would like to help with this project, please contact Nancy Cunningham at 212-475-2930, or wgnancy@aol.com.

Recent Books of Interest

Straight Talk About Gays in the Workplace: Creating an Inclusive, Productive Environment for Everyone in Your Organization, Winfeld, Liz, Amacom, 1995, $21.95. Sample chapters: Issues of Sexual Orientation at Work: Problem or Opportunity?; The Choice Is Yours: Strategies for an Inclusive Workplace; Hiding and Coming Out: Personal and Workplace Productivity Issues. A Manager's Guide to Sexual Orientation in the Workplace, Robert Powers and Alan Ellis, Routledge, 1995, $25. Aimed at CEOs, human resource directors and managers, this book gives the life stories of 13 diverse workers and seeks to provide ideas on how to create a supportive, inclusive workplace. Note: One reviewer has pointed out that a personal story used in the book includes explicit sexual references that might be counterproductive for non-gay people to see. See our review. Straight Jobs, Gay Lives - Gay and Lesbian Professionals, The Harvard Business School, and the American Workplace, Sharon Silverstein and Annette Friskopp, Simon and Schuster (Scribners), 1995, $32.50. Based on over 100 interviews with gay and lesbian alumni of the Harvard Business School. Much of the resource directory of this book has been loaded onto a great web page, with lots of links to other good sites: http://www.nyu.edu/pages/sls/gaywork

Out at Work News is published by Out at Work (or Not), an umbrella organization of Chicago-area lesbigay employee groups. Please contact us at OAWon@aol.com for permission to reprint information in Out at Work News.

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(Last update: 30 May 96)