From the Editor: Welcome To My “Beat”

Photo by Randy Stern
Photo by Randy Stern

In journalist-speak, we use the term “beat” to cover a topic area that we are proficient in. Rather, to tell a story about events, trends, people, and their background in that specific topic. 

One of my “beats” centers on the issues around the employment of LGBTQ people. On this beat, I bore witness to an evolution of progress for us and our work over the past twenty or so years. 

Working within the automotive industry, I chronicled how manufacturers, retailers, and other related businesses have been able to celebrate their LGBTQ associates through employee resource groups, non-discrimination policies, expanded health and life benefits for domestic partners and same-gender spouses, transgender health coverage, and other related benefits. 

The state of Minnesota alone has laws in place to protect us from discrimination at the workplace. Other nearby states, as well. 

Our representation and visibility have never been stronger in this region’s workplace. 

While there is progress, there are places where they have not caught up in this evolution. There is always the struggle between a company that do not recognize us as equal employees and the laws that are supposed to protect us. I should know. I used to work for a few of them over the years. 

These experiences are often balanced with the work I see from the people whom I met through covering this beat. On a press trip to Motor City Pride in Detroit in 2015, I witnessed how evolved a once-conservative industry went above and beyond providing employment protection and expanded benefits. 

Back home, we experienced this regularly at workplaces – big and small. In turn, you witnessed their presence and engagement with us in our own Twin Cities Pride parade and festival. 

Obviously, the past two years have changed the notion of a workplace. While we work from home, we are still connected to our coworkers through available and accessible technology. While separated from our usual workspaces, we learned to pivot and evolve the notion of work through personal change. How many of us have actually changed our jobs during this continuing pandemic? 

In this issue, we cover the spectrum of LGBTQ workplaces. We look at how workplace discrimination continues to take place for Trans and BIPOC LGBTQ employees. We feature the new Executive Director at Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a leader in educational support for the LGBTQ community in primary and secondary education.

Plus, we step inside the campus of one of Minnesota’s major corporations to see their LGBTQ employee group in action. Finally, we explore what a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy looks like in the automotive retail business – once considered a very conservative place to work, if you’re LGBTQ. 

This issue celebrates work – your work. No matter where you work, be proud and thrive! 

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