Monday, August 15, 2011

What PR Pros Should Know About the GLBT Community - August Recap

The August 2011 speaker shared some stats that all public relations professionals should know, but may have surprised many in the room:
  • 75.4% of all Texas voters support prohibiting employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • 68% of all Texas voters support gays/lesbians having the same legal rights with respect to their children.
  • 79.2% of all Texas voters support uniform anti-bullying legislation to prohibit harassment in schools. [Note: Texas legislature passed an anti-bullying law in May.]

“Texas has come a long way,” said Fairness Fort Worth President Thomas Anable, who grew up in the state, and marvels at how perceptions have changed over the years. After the Rainbow Lounge Raid just two years ago, “Fort Worth now has the most progressive and inclusive policies and ordinances of any other city in the United States.”

Anable said that unlike other cities, Fort Worth residents and officials swiftly acknowledged perception issues associated with the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community – with the Raid as a catalyst – and earnestly sought to find peaceful, workable solutions.

To show how far we’ve come, he said all City of Fort Worth employees are now required to take four hours of GLBT diversity training. Other organizations are following suit, including public and corporate entities. Also, Fort Worth’s newly elected Mayor Betsy Price is lending political support, having agreed to Grand
Marshal this year’s Fort Worth Gay Pride Parade.

PR Professionals wanting more information about GLBT issues, including the political and economic power they now wield, were directed to the following resources:
  1. Human Rights Campaign
  2. Equality Texas
  3. Lambda Legal
  4. North Texas GLBT Chamber
Diversity Committee Chair Mary Gugliuzza said that part of PRSA’s mission is to be more inclusive and welcoming and thus, each year, the chapter dedicates its August program to diversity issues. This includes reaching out to industry professionals of diverse racial backgrounds, ethnicity and sexual orientations, for improved multicultural understanding so that we’re better prepared to address the nation’s diverse audiences.
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