Brian McNaught held a discussion in Dr. Sandra Caron’s human sexuality class on Tuesday, April 5, at 12:30 p.m. McNaught is a world-renowned corporate diversity consultant dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues in the workforce. He is the author of 13 books and has traveled around the world for his work, where he uses his own personal experience and professional skills to help companies create a workplace where everyone feels safe and valued.
McNaught talked about how he hopes his work will help normalize the queer experience.
“By putting a face on the issue, which is the most effective thing I do, I help those who don’t know gay people understand what our lives are like,” McNaught said. “Most people have good hearts and want to do the right thing. They don’t want others to experience such fear and loneliness as children. My talk helps allies better understand the most effective strategy, and it helps LGBTQ+ people feel empowered. While my story is about my growing up gay, I always continually reference lesbians, bisexuals, people who are transgender, queers and others.”
McNaught’s talk stressed the importance that understanding and accepting people in the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t mean changing one’s personal morals or values. Rather, it’s about creating an environment where everyone feels safe to talk about who they love.
Throughout his life, McNaught has experienced society progress in its acceptance of gay and transgender people, but he still comes across individuals and groups of people who still have a hard time addressing the issue.
“Traditionally, those with the most conservative religious beliefs have the hardest time with the issue, but I assure them that this is simply about treating colleagues with professional respect; that everyone wants and needs to feel safe and valued,” McNaught said.
McNaught has noticed growth in the corporate world, where businesses are recognizing the need to create inclusive workplace environments.
“Corporations, believe it or not, have been way ahead of universities and churches in not only enacting policies, such as domestic partner benefits [before marriage equality], but also in seeing the need for education throughout the company,” McNaught said.
McNaught explains that education is the key to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment at school and in the workplace. He emphasized the idea that policy change won’t be effective if people don’t also understand the need for the change.
“There is no substitution for education in the effort to create a welcoming, inclusive environment,” McNaught said. “Ignorance is the parent of fear, and fear is the parent of hatred. Policies don’t change people’s beliefs or behaviors. All of us need help in understanding things that are beyond our life experiences.”
To find out more about Brian McNaught and his work, visit his website at https://www.brian-mcnaught.com/ to learn more about him and his mission in creating inclusive work environments for the LGBTQ+ community.