I heard about something today that got my blood seething and I am concerned by that sense of seething.
JPMorgan Chase (a major bank here in the United States) conducted an internal employee survey designed to gauge employee satisfaction. Well and good. Any large organization that I have worked with does this, from the private sector to the government sector. However, one of the questions Chase asked was:
“Are you: An ally of the LGBT community, but not personally identifying as LGBT.” (LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)
Think about that for a moment.
“This survey wasn’t anonymous. You had to enter your employee ID. With the way things are going and the fact that LGBT rights are being viewed as pretty much tantamount to the civil rights movement of the mid 50s to late 60s, not selecting that option is essentially saying “I’m not an ally of civil rights;” which is a vague way to say “I’m a bigot.” The worry among many of us is that those who didn’t select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the “you can fire these people first” list.”
The problem with those who want change is it is never enough. I remember talking with my brother-in-law who was openly gay and my ruefully saying, “The gene pool is losing some of our best, brightest and most beautiful.” Not to mention talented. The LGBT community comprises less than 5% of the population, depending on what survey and date taken. Gallop had two articles in 2012 regarding polling statistics. The first stated that U.S. Adults Estimate that 25% of Americans are Gay or Lesbian (May 2012). In fact, best guess was 3.8% of the population was gay or lesbian. In October 2012, Gallop conducted a more pointed survey asking:
Out of 120,000 adults survey, 3.4% identified themselves as LGBT.
I said above that the LGBT population was talented. And well-organized and well-funded. My point is this: When is enough enough? Are we interested in restitution or retribution? People are getting fired for not holding the right viewpoint, companies are being punished if they do not actively support the LGBT community. Mozilla Firefox’s CEO was terminated for having contributed to the anti-gay marriage fund back in 2008. And, now, Chase is asking its employees if they are an ally of the LGBT community.
To be clear, my position is I do not care what your sexual persuasion or preference is. In fact, I don’t want to hear about it. It is irrelevant. I do think when it comes to benefits that require a beneficiary, one should be able to name anyone regardless of relationship. The benefit belongs to the employee, though the benefit be offered by a company or government. Key word is “offered.” Benefits are not the same as a right. And, personal beliefs should not be a test for employment.