Thursday, March 27, 2008

Super Shell!: Gender Identity Now Covered In Oil Giant’s Employment Policy

“I get up at seven AM, I go to work at nine.
I got no time for living, yeah, I’m working all the time ….” — Working Man, Rush

Sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and nothing more than some well-placed comments.

Today I got a surprise Email from a fellow NTAC-er and local friend Sara Rook forwarded a note from Shell’s GLBT group rep, Elaine DeCanio notifying that Shell Oil has finally completed the circle and included gender identity in its equal employment opportunity policy!

A few weeks back, fresh from getting a trans-inclusive policy passed at Key Bank, I’d asked Sara about the policy at Shell. Her report back to me wasn’t positive: she’d been working on it for close to twelve years, nothing had happened and no one in HR seemed to care.

At the time I asked her who I could go to, but was instructed that we contract folks couldn’t approach them on this. Shell could not care less about "getting a 100% score on HRC's report card." Closed case, no shot, oh well ….

While here I haven’t been overt about being trans, but still dropped a comment to the person whose duties I’d assumed and office I’d inherited. She’s a very supportive straight friend, had known one of my former GLBT Shell employee friends. Fern’s been a big backer of mine, and apparently I made a good impression in a short month with her and at least a couple of the account executives here as well (one of whom I believe is GLBT).

Fern’s old office (now mine) is in a corner flanked by two employees’ offices with the rainbow flags on their nameplates – Bill who I’d met in other local GLBT organization functions, and the other being … Elaine DeCanio. Both Bill and Elaine have been friendly, increasingly so as my tenure has continued.

When coming on, I noted around the coffee machine that this didn’t seem an optimal employment opportunity with all things considered – noting some of the “policy shortfalls.” Apparently my comment and those about my unnamed trans friend (Sara’s) disappointment in the policy made the rounds. As it turns out, I didn’t even have to do a thing afterwards.

Elaine spent the afternoon in the U.S. corporate offices downtown, so I haven’t had the chance to see her yet. But I did drop into Bill’s office and asked about Elaine. He flashed a broad smile and noted she was down there all afternoon working on retirement and “other” issues and had been a proponent on the policy expansions for some time.

All of this gets me to thinking – why the hell do we need a Human Rights Campaign, or any of those other Washington DC folks who are there to soak up money, put their faces on TV and names in print and provide little to nothing in return? If we can get it done without them, who needs them? Seriously!

The way I look at it, I may be the “negative tranny” and Public Enemy #1 to those folks.
Great. Enjoy that! I’m quite proud and happy to be Public Enemy #1 and welcome every bit of bile and character impugning you wish to throw my way if it means getting stuff done in concrete fashion. In fact, I look forward to the next NTAC-bashing.

I’ll take that any day of the week over our “heroes” and the scant difference they make in our lives. And I can guarantee they won’t do anywhere near this many actual policies changed or ordinances expanded for zero dollars! Match that HRC, et. al.

As we just heard got word of this around 4PM, I’m not sure if this is just Shell U.S. or if its global policy … I’ll update that later. Hopefully this (like Key) will be global.

After such a difficult week at work, it’s nice to get a bit of good news over the Email for a change. Message to Sara … if you read this, drop me an Email and let me know if you can make a trip out here to wild, wild West (Houston). And bring a little bit of money.

It seems we owe Elaine a lunch – and some high fives all around!

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community.... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” — Cesar Chavez, founder of National Farm Workers Assn.

No comments: