Covering: The Exclusion of Sexual Orientation from Discussions on Diversity
Arin N. Reeves
I have a friend who is a practicing lawyer, a single mother, and a lesbian. Although she is completely open about her sexuality with family and friends, she has come out to only a few people in her workplace. My friend serves on the diversity committee in her office, and she has developed a reputation as a passionate and consistent advocate for diversity.
When it comes to diversity issues in her workplace, she has always spoken up. When the diversity committee met this past May to discuss the addition of sexual orientation as a diversity priority, my friend remained silent. Her colleagues on the diversity committee cited everything from “we don’t have a gay problem here” and “sexual orientation is a private issue, not a workplace issue” to “we already offer domestic partner benefits” as reasons for excluding the category from their diversity efforts. The diversity committee has not yet made a decision, and my friend has not yet broken her silence.