Out & Equal leaders want more diverse membership
Out & Equal DFW hopes to recruit new members to its local council this spring to promote equality in the workplace for GLBT employees.
Paul von Wupperfeld, one of the founders of the local affiliate of the San Francisco-based group, said the council needs to become more representative of the workplace’s make-up. The group wants to recruit racial minorities, women and transgenders to the council, he said.
“We’re trying to do a better job on diversity to make sure there are more women, people of color and representatives of transgender people,” Wupperfeld said.
The group’s mission is to promote safe and equitable workplaces for GLBT people.
Wupperfeld said the local group that was founded in October 2004 has consisted mostly of white gay men. There currently are three members Initial membership in the group included gay representatives of American Airlines, Bank of America, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, KPMG, Quest Diagnostics, Raytheon, Texas Instruments and Wells Fargo.
The current council members are Wupperfeld, of Texas Instruments, Mark Quigley of ViewCast and Larry Longhofer of Citigroup. They hope to increase the membership on the council to at least 10, he said. The election of new council members will be in May.
Wupperfeld said membership in the group has lagged so far this year because of founding members becoming inactive.
“I think it is fairly natural for people to get involved, they work for a while, they get burned out or other things come up and they move on,” Wupperfeld said. “This is really just an effort to reinvigorate the group.”
The local group wants to help educate business and human resources managers in Dallas-Fort Worth about the need for anti-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender, domestic partner benefits and transgender policies, Wupperfeld said.
“One of the issues facing the transgender community is what bathroom they can use,” Wupperfeld said.
Wupperfeld said the presence of numerous progressive companies in Dallas-Fort Worth helps promote better workplaces for GLBT people in businesses that have not yet addressed the issue. Texas Instruments has had an anti-discrimination policy and domestic partnership benefits for gay people for almost a decade, he said.
“As other companies are coming along we could partner our human resources people with the human resources people in the other companies,” Wupperfeld said.
Wupperfeld said much of the outreach to other companies is done informally through the GLBT community and professional associations.
“We have not typically gone out and sought other companies,” Wupperfeld said. “The way it normally works is they will approach us.”
The next event sponsored by the group will be a social mixer at The Bronx, 3835 Cedar Springs Road on May 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. To reserve a place or for more information call Quigley at 972-488-7106 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 07, 2006.