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The New Millennial Gay Experience

Being gay in our emerging new world


Responding To My Favorite Canadian Reader

Posted on September 12, 2016 at 12:15 AM

By Dennis Stone


One of our original readers is a Canadian guy using one of my favorite monikers: Hue-Man. He commented on my blog post of August 29 and made reference to a recent Canadian poll/study about the LGBT experience in the workplace. A story about the study can be found here. The poll raises several issues I’ve been thinking about in regard to the so-called “New Millennial Gay Experience” (NMGE).


After perusing several stories about the survey, the “headline” seems to be that ⅓ of Canadian workers don’t agree that their workplace is safe and inclusive for gay and lesbian employees. Also important is that 57% of LGBT employees are not “fully” out at work, and that only 43% of employees said their employer had clear anti-discrimination policies and procedures in place.


I first have to make a technical observation. The poll included just 814 respondents, half of whom identified as LGBT. So, about 407 people were used to represent the LGBT component of an entire large country. That small number makes me nervous, and, further, I know nothing about the methodology of selection. My own profession is largely related to statistical research and analysis, and I know from personal experience that data validity is always questionable, and is highly dependent on sample size and selection criteria.


But let’s say for the sake of argument that the results are genuinely representative. Is there a conflict between these findings and the NMGE idea, which basically posits that in the modern developed world being gay is no longer a big deal for most, and is rather just one part of life rather than the overriding dominant part? I have several thoughts relating to this study in the context of NMGE, and I’ll enumerate them.


1.  Believing in the NMGE idea emphatically does NOT mean believing that things are ideal. It simply means that for large and increasing numbers of LGBT people the NMGE life is essentially close to reality. If ⅓ of workers don’t believe their workplace is inclusive for LGBT workers, that means that ⅔ of workers believe their workplace IS inclusive and safe. When I started my career it was almost unheard of for someone to be out at work, and the idea of protective policies in the corporate world was equally unheard of. Today’s less than perfect situation still represents a genuine revolution that seemed inconceivable when my career began.

2.  I find it curious that ⅔ of the poll subjects say they work in an inclusive and safe company, but nonetheless less than half of the gay subjects say they are fully out at work. That reminds me of what I see over and over when celebrities come out, or when “regular” people post videos on YouTube about their coming out. What I hear regularly is that people are surprised by how easy the coming out process turned out to be, and to what degree their fears and misgivings were unfounded. They commonly say that they wished they had come out sooner. What that means is that it is common for people to not realize the degree to which the NMGE idea is a reality.


I place a lot of blame for that on the mainstream gay media and the “activist class,” which are busily telling us how we’re “surrounded by hate.” I keep getting bombarded by gay organizations hounding me for money to fight that “hate.” And gay media seems to think it’s not doing it’s job if it’s not constantly highlighting and decrying the shortcomings of society. The activist mentality is based around identifying injustices to fight. That is obviously important, but it becomes one-dimensional and therefore leads to a skewed understanding of reality.


3.   I’m really surprised that only 43% of poll subjects said their employer had clear anti-discrimination policies. I wonder if that is really accurate. According to the HRC, 93% of U.S. Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination policies. It would surprise me if Canada was behind the U.S. in this area. Perhaps Hue-Man can clarify the following, but Wikipedia says this about Canada: “Discrimination, including harassment, based on real or perceived sexual orientation or HIV/AIDS….is prohibited throughout Canada in private and public sector employment, housing, services provided to the public and publicity. All aspects of employment are covered, including benefits for spouses and long-term partners.” That apparently refers to federal law, and if correct the Canadian story changes significantly since all employees would be legally protected from discrimination.


I don’t think this poll/study puts any dents in the New Millennial Gay Experience philosophy. It is my opinion that the true situation for gay people in Canada (and the U.S. as well) is more positive than many believe. As always, I feel compelled to stress the obvious, i.e., that the situation is not perfect and we have a lot of work to do. But it is equally obvious to me that the pessimists, the traditional gay media, and the activist class are too often seeing only the shortcomings, and not recognizing how good things really are for millions.

Categories: Commentary

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