I don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than it actually is. Unlike the awful Jim Crow-era sign I've included as an image with this post, this issue is relatively minor. However, this situation still smacks of "second-class citizenship."
In its 36-page "Our Values in Action" document, my future employer (I won't give its name, but I can tell you it is a Fortune 100 company as well as one of the thirty companies comprising the Dow Jones Industrial Average) states
We build and maintain a productive, motivated work force by treating all employees fairly and equitably. We respect and recognize the contributions of employees as well as other stakeholders. We will select and place employees on the basis of their qualifications for the work to be performed, considering accommodations as appropriate and needed — without regard to their race, religion, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, and/or physical or mental disability. We support and obey laws that prohibit discrimination everywhere we do business. [emphasis mine]These words are striking me as sadly hollow right now.
I have learned my future employer has an employee affinity group for LGBTA employees. Last week I attempted to learn more about this group--partly to ask about the present situation with the relocation company, partly to simply inquire about the general corporate "vibe" towards gay folks. Unfortunately, in response to my request for information about this group (through the corporate website--googling the group did not turn up any external links), I received the following email
Dear [Joe Moderate],Doh! Looks like I can't contact the LGBTA affinity group until after I begin employment. What a weird catch-22.
[corporate HR guy]
It looks like I "lose" this round. However, you can bet once I am employed, I will see what I can learn--and maybe change--from the inside. I hope this affinity group doesn't turn out to be a canard.
I feel the need to tread softly about all of this. My position with the company is far from certain. I don't feel any job security to allow me to "rock the boat" at all right now. I don't want to act (or not act) out of fear, but I do want to see changes happen. Maybe I can be a part of making this experience different for LGBT folks my employer will hire in the future.