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GM Flies Rainbow Flag Despite Complaints

If there was one sector of American business we’d assume was sluggish in getting on board with LGBT rights, it’d be the auto industry. But at its plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, GM flew the rainbow flag all last week in celebration of Pride.

Of course, the haters weren’t happy:

Some employees have complained. A columnist for the local newspaper, the News Sentinel, criticized GM’s decision in a column headlined: “Is GM ‘Gay Motors’ now?”

“Whether that represents a gesture of tolerance and respect or a slap in the face to traditionally minded employees is a matter of considerable debate,” columnist Kevin Leininger wrote.

Just remember that the next time a homophobe tells you he’s not anti -gay, he just doesn’t want us to have “special rights.” If it were up to them, we wouldn’t even be allowed to slap rainbow stickers on our Escalades.

This isn’t the first gay-friendly gesture the carmaker has made, either: The LED display atop GM’s headquarters in Detroit was programmed for a rainbow display earlier this month. And a humorous ad for the Chevy Voltfeatured the hybrid coming out to its “parents” as an electric car. In addition, GM offers domestic-partner benefits and prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

“GM is a really diverse company and we’ve always been supportive of all our employees,” spokesperson Stephanie Jentgen says. “We have this stereotype of being backwards here. But the dialog has been very constructive. It’s been very heartening, even talking to the folks who don’t agree.”

It’s always nice when an American Apparel or Crate & Barrel reaches out to us, but when it’s a heartland company like GM or JC Penney, it makes a much bigger impact.

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Jun 25, 2012
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 10 Comments
    • Cam
      Cam

      “”“Whether that represents a gesture of tolerance and respect or a slap in the face to traditionally minded employees is a matter of considerable debate,” columnist Kevin Leininger wrote.”
      _____________

      ENOUGH with the Euphemisms!! These employees aren’t “Traditionally Minded” they are bigots.

      The people who didn’t want blacks in the military weren’t “Traditionally Minded” they were racists!

      The people not wanting women to vote weren’t “Traditionally Minded” they were sexist.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Baba Booey
      Baba Booey

      Awesome for GM. Good for them. Great company.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      “”“Whether that represents a gesture of tolerance and respect or a slap in the face to traditionally minded employees is a matter of considerable debate,” columnist Kevin Leininger wrote.”
      _____________
      ENOUGH with the Euphemisms!! These employees aren’t “Traditionally Minded” they are bigots.
      The people who didn’t want blacks in the military weren’t “Traditionally Minded” they were rac – ists!
      The people not wanting women to vote weren’t “Traditionally Minded” they were sexist.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kurt
      Kurt

      “GM offers domestic-partner benefits and prohibits workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”

      Actually, GM didn’t “offer”, it agreed to the United Auto Workers union’s demand for equal benefits and a contractual prohibition on workplace discrimination. The American auto industry is a good place for LGBT workers. While appreciating GM’s leadership, the first place to give credit is to the UAW.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Baba Booey
      Baba Booey

      @Kurt: You’re right. Good for the UAW.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport
      jwrappaport

      @Cam: Took the words right out of my mouth. “Traditionally minded,” “pro-marriage,” “religious freedom” – no amount of lipstick will disguise the pigheaded prejudice beneath the ever-thinning veneer of social conservatism. The treadmill of cultural euphemisms rolls on, and frankly it’s about time that they were deconstructed and exposed for what they are: proxies for bigotry and nothing more.

      Though the change from “anti-gay” to “pro-family,” e.g., shows a growing hostility to outright homophobia (at least in the mainstream), the tenor of the conservative discourse (read: Newspeak) concerns me deeply. It is far more palatable to the masses and thus that much more insidious. (Also, it allows the Maggie Gallaghers of the world to talk out of both sides of their elephantine asses.)

      Jun 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SteveC
      SteveC

      And is the state of Michigan celebrating along with GM?

      I LOATHE these PR stunts by huge corporations.

      LGBT issues do not exist in a vacuum. GM is a brutal company with no regard or loyalty to anyone but its shareholders.

      We should not celebrate when a multi-billion dollar company flies a rainbow flag for purely PR purposes

      Jun 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @SteveC: I disagree. They had zero loyalty to their shareholders as well. That is why when they went bankrupt they discharged their shares as well.

      However, every single major corporation at its very core is heartless. They exist simply to make money at the expense of everything else and they do it quite well.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 10:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @SteveC: However, you are wrong about the “celebration” part. You are wrong because this PR stunt shows that major corporations are starting to shift their viewpoints. Since it is major corporations that funnel money into campaigns and pretty much outright control elected officials, it is very important when a company like GM goes from firing gays and supporting anti-gay politicians to supporting gays. The fact that it all comes down to the bottom line and GM just wants to sell cars/trucks to the LGBT community is irrelevant.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DouggSeven
      DouggSeven

      GM makes great cars – I’ve only ever driven GM products. My next vehicle will be a Buick Verano or a Cadillac ATS (when it comes out). It makes me happy to spend my money on a North American product that is willing to recognize my existence. I do miss Saturn and Pontiac though.

      Jun 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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