The first annual LGBTQ Dynamics in the Workplace certification workshop was held Tuesday, Jan. 31, at JM Lexus in Coconut Creek.
Part of the "Diversity in Action" series of the GLBX* Board, the training was presented by Equality Florida. The training was in response to the needs of an increasing number of businesses, small and large, that want to know what they can do in order to be fully welcoming and inclusive to all members of the LGBT community, whether employees, potential staff, or clients.
Equality Florida's Transgender Inclusion Director, Gina Duncan, a renowned international and national corporate trainer, and her colleague, Mark Puskarich, Equality Florida's "Equality Means Business" Coordinator were the main presenters for the training.
Sponsor JM Lexus graciously hosted, providing not only the excellent training facilities, but a hearty cooked breakfast, as well. Additional sponsors for the training were Memorial Healthcare System and The Eppy Group.
Highlights of the training included learning to understand the differences between sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, which can get quite complicated at times! Fortunately, Gina, who transitioned from male to female on the job at Wells Fargo where she was a regional manager, shared from her personal story without flinching or shying away from some of the sensitive topics, such as family acceptance, and the so-called "bathroom issue," which it turns out is a non-issue, after all.
Gina also provided guidance on proper methods of communicating with someone regarding their orientation, gender identity or expression (the safest bet? Politely ask!) Mark Puskarich spoke on the benefit of a diverse workplace where staff can be their authentic selves; how businesses are leading the way in Florida, and specific requirements for employers in Broward County where for decades we have had one of the most progressive Human Rights Ordinances.
This certification workshop was a big hit among attendees, with one saying, "I went into this seminar thinking it would be information I knew-quite the opposite. It was three hours of new information about processes and issues I needed to know and did not. I left the workshop educated with information I can immediately use in my business. The openness of the instructor made ALL the difference!" With feedback like that, it won't be long before another workshop is planned.
Attendees were provided with The Transgender Resource Guide (also available online: eqfl.org/transactionfl), as well as membership in "Another Business For Equality," a pro-equality online business registry.
Note that the opinions expressed above are those of the authors, and not necessarily reflective of the GLBX or the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
*GLBX is a Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce