Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Straight Allies

I went on a Diversity course today.

Not for the first time, I was reminded that "Diversity" is about more than racial and sexual equality. Diversity is about "good business". To reinforce the theme, we were shown a few sketches performed by a group of quite good actors showing situations where clients asked about our diversity policy to how to deal with the office Alf Garnet.

Lastly the HR rep (the course was taken by some very well paid consultants) announced that in addition to the women's group, groups promoting the interests of families, ethnic minorities and "gay, lesbian bi-sexual and transgender" employees would be set up.

The last category tripped off the HR rep's tongue as if it was some German super aglomeration word "gaylesbianbisexualundtransgenderund".

To show how open everything was we were informed membership of the groups was not limited to the minorities for which they were primarily intended. For instance men could attend the women's group, the childless could attend the family group, "all ethnicities" (and none ?) could attend the ethnic minority group. Australians got a rather unlikely mention as a type of ethnic minority- they can be nationality minorities as well as strictly ethnic minorities. Lastly the icing on the cake came with the announcement that "the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group is also open to straight allies".

As I was on the front row I was struggling to suppress a smile. Struggling not very successfully judging from the dirty look the "facilitator" gave me.

I don't know. Whatever happened to respect and common courtesy when such groups were not needed to promote good relations between employees. Then of course there was no work for diversity consultants !

No comments: