When Ed Mickens was researching his book The 100 Best Companies for Gay Men and Lesbians in the early ’90s, domestic-partner benefits were a rarity. What a difference a decade makes: When the Human Rights Campaign released The State of the Workplace in early September, it counted 2,856 private companies, colleges and universities, and state and local governments that offer domestic-partner health coverage.
HRC’s report raises hopes that the ranks of gay-friendly companies will continue to grow. It also raises the question, What makes a workplace hospitable for lesbians and gay men? “Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people want to feel safe and valued,” says Brian McNaught, a corporate consultant on gay employment concerns and author of Gay Issues in the Workplace. “You want to trust that you’re going to be judged on the basis of your skills and performance and no other factor.”
What follows is a list of 25 companies that provide a good working atmosphere for their gay employees. In choosing the list The Advocate wanted to include both pioneers and newer arrivals and to bring your attention to some companies that have made progress even if there’s still work to be done.