Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Harvard Business Review and the Interest Convergence Dilemma

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | December 26, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: gender transition, Harvard Business Review, transgender, transsexual

I recently wrote a laudatory post about Harvard Business Review's case study on gender transition in the workplace. A reader of this blog raised a strong objection, apologizing for "raining on my parade."

Dr. Weiss,

According to the 2008 2nd edition of HRC's "Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace" report, you and a few other transgender "activists/consultants" are listed in the report as the "go to" people that companies should contact for diversity training about transgender workplace issues.

My question then is if you folks are going to "consult" companies already as to how the rest of us should transition in our workplaces, then why promote a case study in the first place soliciting outside opinions? It would appear to me that companies will take both your, Out and Equal, and HRC's advice as gospel anyway, like they have already done in the past when adopting transgender policies, so why bother with anyone else's opinion? The little cottage industry already seems to be firmly in place with little hope of new people coming in to educate...

I see this as a very, very important question that goes to the heart of "workplace diversity."

This argument reminds me strongly of the argument in Derrick Bell's 1980 article: "Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest-Convergence Dilemma." I apologize to Professor Bell for copying his title. But his point about racial desegregation is equally applicable here as well: progress on racial desegregation did not occur because of Brown v. Board of Education. It occurred because white elites felt that it was in their interest for it to occur. And then, it happened in the way that suited the elites, leaving us a with still-largely segregated school system and residential structure. (There is a lot of supporting evidence in his article. Read it before you assume it's wrong.)

Transgender people are facing a similar problem: we need elites in order to obtain progress, but we embrace them at our peril too. This also reminds me about the old saying about holding your friends close and your enemies closer.

It also reminds me of the "paradox of workplace diversity" that I raised in my dissertation (page 2): in order to eliminate discrimination on the basis of a minority identity, advocates must raise consciousness about identity, but that paradoxically perpetuates the stereotypes that the culture uses to identify the minority group.

My reader's comment goes on to elaborate a bit on this theme. It's well written, so I'll let her speak for herself:

Additionally, I find it quite ironic that this case study was formulated in the Harvard elitist circle, when its the same corporate elitist circle which donates large sums of corporate donations and "sponsorships" to HRC, the very organization that referenced you all in the above report.

So Dr. Weiss, I don't mean to continue to rain on your parade here, but I fail to see how case studies such as this one helps, when its all going to be about the elitist circle, with elitist characters, formulated by folks who are going to educate companies as to THEIR own agenda anyway based on the system they currently have in place.

As I had said in previous posts, let the transgender employees do the educating and leave the politics and agendas to those who are in those circles. Please remember that contrary to popular belief, transgender "consultants" and "activists" do not speak for ALL of us in the workplace, regardless of HRC political connections and elitist cronies...

Thank you for your time.

Everyday Transperson

Bravo. If the "elite" companies use the "elite" consultants to determine how gender transition ought to be accomplished, then it seems that there is little room for ordinary trans workers to express their own particular gender identity and expression. If a trans person expresses their gender identity or expression in the "wrong" way -- not in line with the theories of elite employers, elite GLBT nonprofits and elite consultants -- then they may find themselves without the protection that the elites are touting.

This is an issue that cannot be ignored, lest it undermine the whole "workplace diversity" effort. It will become more and more of an issue given the Obama transition team's inclusion of gender identity in its non-discrimination policy, a growing number of cities and states with non-discrimination laws that include gender identity, and the likelihood of a national non-discrimination law.

I have a number of ways of addressing this issue in my consulting, none of them really adequate because of the very limited time and attention that I can get from clients. They want -- and I deliver -- a relatively quick and inexpensive revision of policies, training of senior HR managers, transition planning and co-worker intervention. But this carries the danger of conveying the idea that transgender identity is monolithic.

This is the same problem identified by scholars about any "diversity" programming in the organizational environment. The purpose of "organization" is to simplify power and control over people to a single end -- in the case of corporations, it is profit. Any discourse that emphasizes or multiplies differences and incompatibilities is in for a rough time.

I spend a lot of time in my work discussing the different ways in which people express gender identity and expression, and the different types of transgender people that they might see in their environment. I use many different case studies and role play to try to emphasize that one size does not fit all. But, of course, I am doing so in a one-size-fits-all environment.

At one very large company where I consulted, I heard about a perfect example of this problem. There was a transgender employee who had transitioned several years earlier in a manufacturing plant on the production floor. The senior HR manager was very sympathetic and wanted to do everything possible to help this employee transition smoothly at work. The company called in a consultant who advised that there should be a big meeting of everyone in the plant with the trans employee present. The senior HR manager, a very accomplished communicator from the upper middle class, thought this was the perfect idea. The transgender employee, a blue collar worker whose expertise was in manufacturing, and was not interested in a lot of interaction with her co-workers on the subject, objected, indicating that this was a private matter, that such a meeting would feel very violative of her privacy, and that she did not want to have everyone voting on her transition. After several tense meetings where management and the trans employee battled back and forth, management then decided that, if she would not do it their way, they would do nothing. As a result, there was little communication with co-workers, and what little there was seems to have been poisoned by management, and it very quickly went wrong. The harassment got so bad that the trans employee quit.

Elitism is a very intractable problem in human relations, written about by sociologists for more than a hundred years. Elites gain power over time by creating networks of powerful allies. They rely on recommendations from their elite friends. There is little chance of influencing elites without being an elite as well. And some elites, perhaps more than some, tend to think that they are so smart and wonderful and effective that they lose all humility, and if you don't want to do it their way -- well, you're in little position to object.

This is especially ironic given my position as an adviser to the powerful regarding the disenfranchised, and my own outsider position. And, despite what you may think, my position is as an outsider. I did not graduate from elite universities, I am not teaching at an elite university, and I am a transsexual. Although I have been lucky to gain some recognition from some progressive elites, I am really nobody in the scheme of things.

In this vein, I found it interesting in the Harvard case study that the fictional HR manager, Henrietta, dismisses any consultant who identifies as transgender. "The problem is," she says, "I've been checking into resources, and many of the coaches and advisers in this business are transgender themselves. That could turn Alex off completely." In other words, a consultant who is transgender is by definition an "outsider."

The problem of the elite-minority connection is also further complicated by the fact that non-elites, subjected much more to unbuffered market forces than elites are, have even less incentive than elites do to eliminate discrimination. If we refuse to deal with elites, then nothing gets done. Dean Spade has made very persuasive arguments that the solution to this is grassroots community organizing. My concern with that is -- who's got time for that? And one still needs fundraising, and elites can, because of the nature of capitalism, fundraise much more effectively. Without that, community organizations tend to fall apart. Just look at what happened to United ENDA. And NCTE is still three or four people in an office in DC. Whither NTAC? It's Time, America? Transgender Menace?

I am not ready to give up my efforts to work with the elites, though I am happy enough to work with anyone who will listen, and to include anyone who wants to be included. One must be able to tolerate a lot of contradiction in this business.

Professor Bell's influential article that I mentioned at the top of this article -- decrying white elitism -- where did that appear?

The Harvard Law Review.

Projectors, don't worry about raining on my parade. It's been raining here for quite a while.

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I know exactly where Everyday Transperson is coming from. I transitioned in my company 7.5 years after I started working there. I had nowhere near the knowledge I have today, but I was able to find things on line to help. Then, I would have welcomed outside intervention, but today, looking back 11.5 years later, I would say "No."

The corporate mindset for this company is different then other companies. What would work for one will not work for another. The person who should know that company best is the one working there. With outside information, they maybe best to educate their company themselves.

There is a similar situation with trangender veterans and the individual VA facilities they go to. TAVA provides guidelines and help if asked, but the individual who is the "boot on the ground" at that facility has a better knowledge of the lay of the land.

As stated, each situation is different, and a "one size fits all" mentality just will not work for every case that may come along. Diversity, by definition, resists such solutions.

When I started transitioning back in 2003, I requested that we have a team meeting so that I could explain what I was going through and answer any questions that my team mates might have. HR responded saying that it was a "personal" matter, and as such was innapropriate to bring up in a team meeting. So, instead of being prepared for what occured, they came in one day to find me dressed in a more feminine manner and no explanation. The resulting friction did not make for a happy workplace. I made it through, mostly by ignoring and denying any harrasment, but my last few years there were not happy. Until I got laid off, I had not realised how tense and hostile the work enviroment had been.

I do not know if a meeting would have helped much in the long run, but I do feel that, in the short term at least, things would have gone smoother if those I worked with on a daily basis had of been apprised of the situation and what was going to happen.

Everyday Transperson | December 26, 2008 9:55 PM

Dr. Weiss,

A very well written article indeed, which touches on what I believe is an extremely important issue facing our community today. My compliments to your insight.

My sentiments, however, are not based solely on the fact that my original opinions were included in your article (which truly was the first time that I felt that my voice was actually HEARD in the media and in the community, in which case I sincerely say thank you.....), but rather that a dialogue was opened up, touching on a subject that few in the community circles dare to address head-on. Also, I believe that it opened up a platform in which other transgender people can share their stories of their workplaces (many of them horrible stories) and their similar experiences of corporate HR and consultant elitism......

While I agree with most of what you had expressed in your article, I am afraid that I must continue to disagree that working with the elitist circles is not the ONLY option in which to secure funds, organize, establish networks and to gain power for the transgender community......

Community organizations are only as successful and reflective of their leadership and thus people are not very inclined to become involved if they continually see their leadership as not having credibility and expressing views that they themselves do not follow....... Additionally, people are tired of putting forth all of this work only to turn around to find leadership corruption, that they were exploited so that the leaders could obtain fame and glory or that they were horribly disenfranchised by a leader who had his or her own personal agenda, which didn't include the needs of the greater community. And I'm only speaking of the working people who were lucky enough to be included in the effort in the first place. There are many who truly want to be involved, but they continually get the opportunity door slammed in their faces just because their views may differ from the elitist status quo.

So is it any surprise really that people are reluctant to support new leaders and their organizations who may do the same to them that their predecessors have done ??? And what kind of message does that send to the greater community, that it is OK to support community leaders who have no qualms about stepping on us while they get ahead themselves ?? (The traditional corporate straight white male approach). Why do we have to follow the very same elitist capitalistic model that we forever denounce straight corporate America from undertaking ?? Quite frankly, if working with elitists will continue to be the status quo, then perhaps we as a transgender community should ask for a federal bailout like everyone else is doing...........

So Dr. Weiss, I feel that their is much more to grassroots community building than a select few "leaders" greasing palms with powerful elitists. Community empowerment means including EVERYONE, putting them to work, recognizing them for their efforts, having sound ethical leadership which puts its money where its mouth is and holding those corrupt community hot shots fully accountable for their actions. Of course there is much more to it, but I feel that these are the essential fundamentals to effective community building, not the "business as usual" corporate / political elitist roundtable that says with a smile, if you are not a "consultant" or an HRC or Out and Equal "Best Practices" advocate, KEEP OUT !!

Again, great article. I look forward to future dialogue on this issue, especially one which will go further to address how this issue ties in with the powerful community non-profit organizations and how the everyday transgender community is getting increasingly pushed aside in our workplaces and in our community organizations.

Thank you for your time.

Bravo, Jillian, for turning one conversation into a post that will surely inspire many more conversations. I loved your direct answer to personal questions while using them to illustrate your points.

Yes, this is great stuff Jillian, and so on-point for so many of us. I strongly suspect that as the economy worsens and there's a larger-than-usual pool of straights looking for work, we're going to see trans unemployment rates shoot even higher than they are now. As rough as it is economically for everyone in general right now, I think it's going to be a lot rougher, and for a lot longer, for transfolks to get through this recession.

I deal with it every time I go for an interview and I can usually tell almost from the first moment if I'm being taken seriously as a candidate or not. What's most interesting to me is there seems to be a pretty big disparity in how much of an issue my being trans is between blue collar and white collar jobs.

My admittedly limited perspective as a transgender job seeker here in New Jersey where there is a law in place prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression, is that in general companies are becoming increasingly comfortable with entry-level and low-level transgender employees, but still remain far less comfortable with transgender employees as managers and supervisory personnel.

At several of the companies I've worked for, there's been a definite glass ceiling for transpeople, and at one at least, that glass ceiling was imposed on transwomen only. In short, the elites are ok with having us under their control, but not so much with placing us in positions of equality to themselves.

Everyday Transperson | December 27, 2008 6:41 PM

Mr. Browning,

Just to let you know that there wouldn't have been such a "conversation" for this article had their not been TWO such viewpoints present, those of myself and those of Dr. Weiss.

How sad that you only chose to recognize ONE of those viewpoints, who just happened to be an esteemed author on this blog, thus proving my original argument that the only people recognized and praised in the community these days are those in the elitist circle while those everyday people who contributed equally get overshadowed.

Thank you for your time.

Yes, let's not forget that it is Everyday Transperson who raised the issue initially. Bravo, Everyday Transperson, for your insightful comments. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and being willing to share your thoughts with all of us. I'm sure Mr. Browning will heartily second this sentiment.


What you're saying is true, which leaves little chance for fundamental change in democratic societies that doesn't come from "transcendental" sources - e.g. technological changes, environmental changes. Elitism does happen on pretty much every issue.

Take, for example, the Madoff scandal that's now coming to light. There was a great article at truthout about this, about how Madoff was in all the right clubs and had all the right people in his social circle, so no one really thought that he could have been pulling off the biggest theft Wall Street's ever seen. And that's not going to change for a while, unless people are put in oversight positions who don't care about fame and esteem of the people they're regulating (fat chance).

On a different note, though, I do have to say (from a gay male perspective) that I appreciate the work that people who were gay have done before me in making people OK with others coming out and, in certain cases, with making workplaces safer for other gay men. And, yes, that includes organizations and consultants.

But that probably stems from a fundamental difference in the way LGB people and trans people approach the world. As Autumn Sandeen said at a recent conference (I don't know if it originated with her), sexual orientation starts in a place where people want to find the truth about their interactions with others, and gender identity starts at a place where people want to find the truth about themselves. As such, LGB people are going to try to agree more about basic issues related to sexual orientation than trans people are going to agree about basic issues related to gender identity.

"As such, LGB people are going to try to agree more about basic issues related to sexual orientation than trans people are going to agree about basic issues related to gender identity."

Ah, so true. As you know (and as do I,) that battles have been fought on this very issue on this very "field" over differences in "gender identity."

Just by writing these words, the eyes of Bilerico readers everywhere are rolling, because they think I'm sending out another volly. Sheriff Tony is cleaning his six-shooter and spitting out his chaw. Women are hurrying their children off the streets and the bar keep has his 12 gauge loaded. The silence is eerie.

Well, others may want to fire at Liberty Valance, but I've recently lost all my taste for the fight. It ain't worth it. I just wanted to show that I agree with Alex's astute statement.

"But that probably stems from a fundamental difference in the way LGB people and trans people approach the world. As Autumn Sandeen said at a recent conference (I don't know if it originated with her), sexual orientation starts in a place where people want to find the truth about their interactions with others, and gender identity starts at a place where people want to find the truth about themselves. As such, LGB people are going to try to agree more about basic issues related to sexual orientation than trans people are going to agree about basic issues related to gender identity."

Actually, I think if you look further into it, both sexual orientation and gender identity are delving into truths about the self, which includes interactions with others and the world in general. There may be differences in particulars, but essentially it is all about the self.

As to the issues that effect LGB and trans, yes some are very different, but there is much common ground between the two. Marriage rights would effect me if I were attracted to men, the same as any gay male in this state. Hate crime laws don't really do anything to stop or hinder crimes, but they do set the expectation that society no longer tacitly approves of the disenfranchisement and victimization of a particular group of people. The same with laws like ENDA.

Equality, is a human issue that belongs to no single person or group, but to us all.

Alex, I appreciate your comments. I must disagree with the theory that identity differences cause LGBs to be more agreeable than Ts about LGBT issues. In fact, I think this point cuts against the point made in the post.

As a social scientist, I caution against abstract psychological theories based on guesses about what certain types of people, such as gays or transgenders, are all reacting to as a single unified whole. The idea is intriguing, but based on thin evidence. In order for this theory to be correct, one must assume that identities are monolithic, or nearly so, and that such identities create similar effects in most people. Because of the vast variation in background of LGBT people around the world, these assumptions are very risky. The theory ignores the effects of socio-economic class, national identity and social acceptance. If you were going to present such ideas scientifically, you would need to interview a lot of people and gather a lot of data. You can't just look at the people you've met on Bilerico or in your social circles and assume that this represents the whole of LGB or T identity. Yes, there are a lot of fractious transgender people who comment on Bilerico. There are way more transgender people who have never heard of Bilerico. I have met a lot of LGB people who disagree about identity, and also a lot of T people who agree on identity. Just like one has to be careful before one believes a poll, and check into whether the sample of people they talked to is a representative sample (as well as a million other things), one must also be wary about making assumptions based on the limited circle of people you've met.

You may find it interesting to know that this type of armchair musing that creates grand categories and hierarchies based solely on the creator's limited worldview is known in social science circles as elitist thinking.

This kind of thinking is very tempting. Interestingly, I remember when I had just started graduate school, and I met Diego Sanchez for the first time. If you're all keeping up on your news, you'll remember that he was recently hired as the first out trans person on Capitol Hill. I was very excited about some of the early stuff I was reading in graduate school, and had insufficient background to think about it critically. I told Diego of some cockamamie theory I had come up with about the origins of transphobia based on people's psychological fear of death. I related this long abstract chain of reasoning about the unconscious meaning of transgender identity to non-trans people. He looked at me for a while, and then said "Is that what you're learning at that school? Pardon me for saying so, but that's a very White theory." I was totally nonplussed, and it wasn't until I had another semester under my belt that I realized that, of course, he was completely right. I was playing the Great White Psychologist/Anthropologist/1950s-Scientist-In-A-Lab-Coat-And-Glasses, theorizing about the entire world according to my own limited worldview, which I arrogantly assumed was all I needed to know about what every other person in the world thought or ought to think.

This brings me back to the point made by Everyday Transperson. We mustn't assume that being transgender is a monolithic identity. It isn't.

Similarly, we must also be cautious about making any assumptions about "transgender people" and whether "they" are more or less like "LGBs" in their agreement about LGBT identity.

Thanks for responding so lengthily.

Point well taken on Autumn's observation (sorry, Monica, I can't take credit for it... it was either Autumn or someone she heard it from).

I wonder about your larger point. Are you arguing that we can't "know" what a class of people experience because such thinking will inherently be inaccurate?

I think that there is a space between thinking that a class of people is monolithic (which I never meant to imply, see the disagreements about identity with other gay/queer men on pretty much anything I post) and seeing people's experiences as so particular that nothing can be said about a class. The latter would seem to be the same sort of individualistic atomization so comfortable in post-enlightenment thinking that I find incredibly disempowering, and the former is definitely erasing.

But can't we talk about systemic experiences instead?

Suppose, for example, that a large corporation wanted to develop a plan for what it would do if someone were transitioning on the job before anyone has transitioned. Would seeking a consultant work against them or reinscribe elitism? And would it be possible to have a plan ready and to participate in sensitivity training programs without making the "transgender experience" monolithic?

Because, as I described in your previous post, I was once in a situation at work where I was being harassed by coworkers for being gay (I got fired for that at my next job, and then I just learned to keep my mouth shut). I approached my supervisor and he asked me what I wanted him to do. I was furious, because I knew that an organization of their size had had gay employees before. And I had no ideas when he put me on the spot since the only thing I really wanted was for him to fire everyone who was harassing me (which I knew wasn't going to happen). It ended up being dealt with poorly and thankfully I found a better job (the one I was fired from later despite having better evals than anyone else working there, fun stuff).

Maybe what I'm saying is that sometimes elitism is a good thing. There are people who know more about certain situations, and there are statements that can be made about classes of people. While a few of the horror stories mentioned in the comments here, about companies that went to consultants and then weren't willing to change what they would do when a specific trans person objected, are definitely cases of elitism-gone-too-far, being completely unprepared or never thinking about the situation beforehand seems worse.

Either way, the idea that all our experiences are completely different, that classes can't be spoken about/for, that identifying certain people as experts or elites on a topic is bad, has itself a specific temporal and geographic milieu....

Or maybe I'm misreading your comment and you were just telling me to have some science to back up what I'm saying instead of just talking out of my ass. In that case, point well taken. :)

Everyday Transperson | December 28, 2008 3:08 PM

I couldn't agree more Dr. Weiss.....

I suppose that the next question then is how do we as a GLBT community begin to educate our own folks as to the dangers of monolithic, polarized, elitist and in-the- box ideology ?? Especially the elitist "leaders" of our community organizations...........

In my opinion, the answer lies in credible research supported by fact, as Dr. Weiss touched upon. Unfortunately, we still live in a world which is largely concerned with cold hard facts (or as the corporate elitists would say, the "bottom line"). Sadly, in our communities, we know so little about each other that how on earth could say a transgender person educate someone straight about the lesbian or bisexual experience etc... and vice versa ?? I mean, how many books in the bookstore actually give a researched or historical account of terms or events that we tend to only learn about on the streets of the community ?? And even so, each of us is a unique human being with a unique perspective and experience which may be different from say Jane or John......

Well, over the years a new educational system developed to solve this problem, which seemed to work for corporate and political elitists. All of a sudden anybody who was anybody in the community who knew the right corporate and political connections, who could deliver a good sales pitch and who could hang a "consultant" or "board member" shingle on their door all of a sudden became overnight be-all-tell-all figures for the community, thus contributing greatly to the monolithic, polarization of the community in the eyes of the very people who we were supposed to educate about diversity...... To them, the "one size fits all" approached worked.

And thus here we are today. The community elitists are getting ahead, straight corporate and political America is getting ahead and where is the rest of the greater community ?? Still dealing with the same issues that we have been experiencing for years with little hope for change...........

So yes, I feel that monolithic ideology is a dangerous thing and it doesn't really mean much because it is only based on individual opinions. I realize that elitist opinions are the new fad these days and are looked upon as gospel, but let's look at the tangible results that this ideology has brought about......

In my opinion, diversity begins with the realization that people in our own community are diverse, with diverse experiences and who have diverse perspectives. Everyone has something to bring to the table and should be invited to do so to truly satisfy the concept of true diversity. Under this current model, I see elitist polarization continuing at the expense of alienating the greater diverse community.....

Again, I look forward to more articles on this issue.

Dear Alex:

Your question is one that the transgender community is now beginning to work through, and which feminists and the gay community began to work through forty years ago: "is there a space between thinking that a class of people is monolithic and seeing people's experiences as so particular that nothing can be said about a class?"

Everyday Transperson says something similar when she says "monolithic ideology...doesn't really mean much because it is only based on individual opinions....diversity begins with the realization that people in our own community are diverse, with diverse experiences and who have diverse perspectives."

My answer to the dilemma of monolithic identity versus anarchistic individuality lies in that most loved and reviled of queer theorists: Judith Butler. Her book, Gender Trouble, responded to one of the major problems of feminism. Some feminists claimed that women deserved formal equality with men because they are the same as men, whereas other feminists claimed that women are fundamentally different from men and deserve to have their differences recognized and given value. These two opposing viewpoints are very difficult to reconcile in a logical way. Professor Butler did that, and it is an accomplishment of the highest order.

I have read some of Butler's work very, very closely and, when one is ready for it, it is like a 12,000-volt lightning bolt of revelation to the head. If one is not ready for it, well, it's still like a 12,000-volt lightning bolt to the head, but without the fun part.

This issue deserves a separate post, and I will write one. Right now, though, I have an article deadline of January 4 to meet for a full length law review article, and I'm teaching an online class (on transgender employment rights, interestingly), and getting ready to deliver a training session at one of those "elite" universities in February, and my lovely wife and I are on vacation in Key West, and she is wanting me to go see the Butterfly Museum and take a kayak trip...

Everyday Transperson | December 30, 2008 11:32 AM

A few observations here if I may...........

First, I never said or alluded to the fact that diversity of thought and the dangers of elitism equated to the ideology of "anarchistic individuality". Again, a point well proven here in that what I actually stated was given a new profound spin by someone (or anyone for that matter, in this case the author) with a statement based on THEIR "expert" opinion.....

Mr. Blaze, you raise an excellent point when you mentioned the challenges of being "out" in the workplace. Having experienced this issue firsthand at my former company, I can definitely relate.

From my experience, I found out through the corporate grapevine that being openly "out" in the workplace was a newly formulated "Best Practice" adopted from "experts" at very influential GLBT organizations like Out and Equal and HRC. Apparently, the ideology that was being taught to companies (which they equated HRC and OUT and EQUAL to be the "second coming" of the GLBT community) was that being out in the workplace was the "BEST WAY" to bring about change in organizations. Any employee who didn't follow this "status quo" ideology was quickly labled as having some sort of psychological problems, again thought up by some "expert" therapist who wanted to "diagose" those who didn't go along with the HRC /Out and Equal way of thinking....... Of course, as most of us know, coming out is an individual personal issue and many of our workplaces aren't this safe Utopia, despite the fact that many in the GLBT corporate elitist circle think it is. After all, for many of them who work in a corporate office, with powerful positions and high incomes, sure they will be more apt to be accepted.

Once again, you have an ideology formulated by corporate elitists (which seems to work for THEM) being forced upon others from different perspectives through their corporate policies and "training" programs. The sentiment became, if it works for us, it will work for you too........... WRONG !!!

Dr. Weiss, you mention Judith Butler's work as being a "12,000-volt lightning bolt to the head" and that this theorist is the "most loved and reviled". Well maybe, in YOUR opinion and in the opinions of others from the academia world, but the fact is that her view is a THEORY and your feelings of her work are OPINIONS based on YOUR perspective........Again, not everyone in the community shares the same opinions or perspectives as you all.

Now, I do not know Ms. Butler, nor do I know of her work, but I do know that a diversity training class filled with people who may be first encountering a transgender (or any GLBT person for that matter) will be highly apt to be influenced by your academia credibility as a speaker and thus willing to adopt the very "theories" and "opinions" which quite frankly do not speak for all GLBT people's experience in the workplace.....

I have a question in that how many GLBT or transgender people will be invited to speak at future universities or invited to post articles in future editions of GLBT publications and blogs like you "consultants" are invited to do ??? I didn't think so......... thus again illustrating my original point. The cottage industry appears to remain in full effect these days with little chance of change, unless of course a person is a professor, PhD., MBA, corporate consultant or political activist, in which case the opportunities are abundant..........

Thank you for your time.