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.