What’s Your Personal Identity Management Strategy?

US Army laid off 14.000 gay soldiers in the last 17 years. A country which we used to call cutting-edge in terms of Diversity Management. End of December last year, Obama kept one of his promises and signed a bill which is supposed to break the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” moral. The issue about whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military still is a hotly debated topic in the United States. (I found some nice data about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” opinions amongst 45,000 users of an US blog, but it is about one year old…)

After having discussed grievance and Diversity Management strategies in terms of gender, race, immigration, age and so on within our group, let’s have a look at what is happening in Germany – with the homosexual.

Wow! In politics, everything is looking just fine. Even in conservative Christian Democratic Union, sexual orientation seems to stand behind performance – we are so open-minded that we don’t even hesitate to make homosexuality a loved topic in political satire. Have fun! 😉

Political scientists characterise the famous 2001 coming-out of Mr Wowereit, mayor of Berlin, as an act of liberation throughout German politics.

But can this great achievement be applied as a role model to business? According to a study by Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, German Gays and Lesbians are far away from being open about their sexuality in the workplace. There was an article about it at DiePresse last Saturday. The following graphic shows an overview of Diversity Management activities in non-governmental companies. We can see that there is plenty of room for action. (Please feel free to comment if you need a translation or further explanations!)

Sorted by industry sectors, politics, architecture and culture/entertainment held the best opportunities for the homosexual. As expected, church and army ranked very poor.

Furthermore, the author distinguishes between 4 types of ‘Identity Management Strategies’ of Gay and Lesbians. Upside down, isn’t it? Why should employees manage their identity? Pretty big fail for Diversity Management which in my eyes should help employees to do what they are being paid for – a great job! To what extend are you able to concentrate on your job and perform when first thing in the morning is to remember your own ‘Identity Management Strategy’?

Yesterday, txmichael published a very interesting thing in an award-winning US LGBT blog: 20 Steps to an “Out & Equal Workplace” in which he lists 20 actions companies should take to decrease discrimination because of sexual orientation in the workplace. Interesting things I myself did not really think of yet are e.g.

* Include LGBT owned businesses in supplier diversity program objectives
* Include LGBT images in marketing and advertising strategies.

In May 2011, the next ‘MILK’, a carreer fair for “gay, lesbian and friends” will take place in Munich, together with a Diversity Congress. Amongst partners are IBM, Accenture, Google, Cisco and others. At least, they can check txmicheals point * Sponsor and encourage visible participation in LGBT events.

Cause for action? What do you think?

10 Responses to “What’s Your Personal Identity Management Strategy?”
  1. Izzy says:

    You developed a very good writing style for your posts, I really like reading your stuff. There’s always a little spice and wit added to it… 🙂

  2. katjo2010 says:

    Very interesting, well-structured and funny article 🙂
    I agree with you and find it very paradox that the US, a state well known for diversity, historically determined, acts on homosexuality in the army only now. Then I wondered whether we are any better in Germany? Does discrimination regarding homosexuality play a role in the German Army, society and workplaces?
    As you showed in a lovely and funny way, in German politics homosexuality is not a problem. But in society and the army I wouldn’t be too sure of it. There are always narrow-minded and very conservative people, who might indirectly encourage LGBTs not to talk about their sexual orientation. Despite the introduction of the AGG (General Equal Treatment Act), which applies for all employers, thus also for the German army, the tendency in a Bundeswehr blog leans towards not talking about it.
    I think the situation is a bit better in the workplace and not all employers can be lumped together. Some companies, e.g. IBM, have networks for LGBT employees, not only on a regional basis but also on a global one. They seriously work on the integration or rather not-exclusion of LGBTs and IBM even won an award with it. That won’t change the overall situation over night, but it is a beginning.

  3. martinjaja says:

    I really enjoyed your post – nicely written, well structured and funny! However, you illustrated a serious topic which in many ways is not very popular.

    The first thing that came to my mind when reading your article was the story about Bradley Manning. He was the US soldier who published some military insights via wikileaks. During the discussion in the papers it seemed to be very important that is was homosexual.

    Moreover, I just a video where a high officer of the US military speaks about his opinion on gay soliders….

  4. Mary says:

    @ Martin: Yeah I heard about that – I am still shocked about the comments below the article at Fox News you posted. I wonder how people come to such horrible opinions?

    Btw, last year, Mr Assange was a speaker at the Berlin re:publica. I wonder if he’ll attend this April?

    @ Katrin: True, it’s a good question whether Germany is any better in regard to homosexuality in the army. Here’s a video of an interview with Sebastian Fröhlich, chairman of the Arbeitskreis Homosexueller Angehöriger der Bundeswehr e.V., where he talks about the status quo and which (legal) steps have to be taken. Another interesting report can be found here – it’s a WDR report about changes regarding homosexuality in the Bundeswehr in the last 55 years.

  5. diiasg says:

    wow, so im going to go out on a limb and say this is a HOT TOPIC.

    I realize there is some fire or intensity in this issue. However, I’ll keep my hands out of the mix by just saying great job mary.

    i agree with those that say your style is infectious and makes it fun to read. Keep up the good work.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] I think without any doubt that we have covered the important and state-of-the art topics in this field over the last month. We have heard about women in supervisory board by Katrin and Thomas, work-life balance and children, Entrepreneurship, ethnic minorities and even about homosexuality. […]

  2. […] I think without any doubt that we have covered the important and state-of-the art topics in this field over the last month. We have heard about women in supervisory board by Katrin and Thomas, work-life balance and children, Entrepreneurship, ethnic minorities and even about homosexuality. […]

  3. […] referring to the age dimension, immigrants as a discussion point regarding ethical origin and LGBT employees in consideration of sexual identity. In our mind maps we assigned our posts to categories […]

  4. […] of what to write next I rummaged around in our blog, in search of topics not discussed yet. In What’s Your Personal Identity Management Strategy? I talked about the discrimination of LGBT. I had much fun and shared this feeling by inserting nice […]

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