Cherry Jones; HRC

Two quick items of interest today.

Rob Owens from the Post-Gazette has a nice interview with award winning actress and CMU grad Cherry Jones, who is currently portraying the President on 24.  I've never seen 24, but I do admire Jones' after seeing her in the “What Makes a Family” Lifetime special with Brooke Shields as a lesbian couple.  Jones is an openly gay actor and has been honored by GLAAD for her achievements.

The Owens' interview actually gave me some food for thought about 24, but its far too late to pick it up now I guess.

Also, h/t to Christopher Hixson for the “Buying for Equality 2009” guide from the HRC.  As you make your spending decisions, this guide which is based on the Equality Index can be a useful way to measure which national corporations support our community.  For convenience, I've linked the document below. 

With the economy as it is, the need to ensure that every dollar spent counts has never been more important. This year hundreds of businesses have earned the right to call you a customer with the commitment they have made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Buying for Equality guide will help you easily support companies that support equality for LGBT Americans.

Ratings in Buying for Equality are based on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's annual report card, the Corporate Equality Index. A record 260 businesses scored 100 percent on this year's report, which is a significant increase from the 195 businesses that earned a perfect score last year. From enhanced domestic partner benefits to transgender inclusion in non-discrimination policies, we are seeing a revolution in the American workplace.

This proved useful to me in an interesting way.  My (former) insurance agent's staff treated in a very disrespectful manner, including referring to me as “the gay” and refusing to acknowledge that Ledcat is my domestic partner, insistently referring to her as a business partner in spite of my corrections.  This all happened after I made it clear that I did not want an auto policy at this time.  I contacted the agent for an apology which he refused to offer, proceeding to make his own bumbling offensive comments comparing homophobia to discrimination based on eye color or weight. So I contacted the corporate office and brought up the company's Equality Index rating.  To my surprise, she was familiar with it and assured me that the agent was out of compliance.  (It certainly helped my case that they made most of these comments via email.)

In 48 hours, I had a written apology from the agent and a promise from the company that his staff would be retrained on diversity. 

Beyond buying, you can use this tool to insist that local affiliates meet the standard or go back to the corporate office (or the HRC) if they don't.  It works.

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