Raising the Bar for Trans Hiring Practices
BY Advocate Contributors
April 26 2010 1:55 PM ET
While the debate goes on about marriage equality, employment nondiscrimination, and having openly gay and lesbian members in our military, many American businesses have long settled the debate about equal opportunity for gay and lesbian executives and senior managers. We know that business is often on the vanguard of change and innovation and far ahead of the politician, and this is no exception.
Over 80% of Fortune 100 companies and over 50% of Fortune 500 companies provide partner health benefits. Executive search giant Heidrick & Struggles and Fortune 500 company Marsh & McLennan have announced the formation of an “Inclusion Network” of six minority-owned firms to ensure diversity representation for senior management searches. The Inclusion Network includes a gay-owned search firm, a first in American business.
Realistically, while businesses often want to be good corporate citizens, LGBT inclusion is also increasingly economically driven — bolstered by objective, bottom-line considerations rather than an abstract idea about social responsibility. Not only do many companies see an important market for goods and services in the rapidly emerging — and brand-loyal — LGBT population, they understand the contribution that high achievers of all sexual orientations can make to their success. Whereas 20 years ago there was a “lavender ceiling” for LGBT executives in even the most gay-friendly companies, today, you are increasingly likely to see openly gay and lesbian executives in C-suite positions and even on boards of directors.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the transgender community — the T in LGBT. There is still significant and intransigent bias against transgender candidates among recruiters and senior managers alike, mostly because of a lack of familiarity with the issues of gender nonconformity.