Black Enterprise, the leading business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans, featured the stories of openly gay African American professionals in their seventh annual “40 Best Companies for Diversity” issue. The editorial team spent months producing this feature. GLAAD worked closely with the publication to highlight the lives of Black LGBT people in corporate America. “Coming forward with a personal testimony and an example of success could help improve the lot of others,” wrote Black Enterprise editorial director Sonia Alleyne. “We developed this feature to communicate that anyone can make a significant contribution. They just need to gain the opportunity to stand up and be counted.” That’s exactly the contribution hardworking men and women like Sabin Blake (pictured right), a 34-year-old dealer organizational manager at General Motors, made by telling his story. Black Enterprise reported:
Once keeping the secret became too disheartening, Blake made the decision to gradually reveal his sexual orientation to fellow GM employees and business associates. “It was hurtful not being authentic. And my energy was being sucked away,” he says. But each time he told someone he was gay it became easier for him. “It freed me. It allowed me to be more productive, more creative, and more innovative at work,” he says.In addition to listing companies based on the percentage of African American and ethnic minority employees, senior managers, and board members, and on the procurement spend with Black and minority firms, the magazine identified those corporations that also made the Human Rights Campaign’s Best Places to Work list for LGBT employees. The issue also featured Julia Hamilton and her life partner Keesha Gipson Monroe in a separate article telling their story of blending families and finances as well as the challenges they face living in a state that does not legally recognize their relationship. We applaud Black Enterprise for highlighting stories about the lives of Black LGBT men and women whose voices too often go unheard. GLAAD encourages other media outlets to follow Black Enterprise’s strong example of including stories of gay and lesbian people that spotlight the rich diversity of our community and the issues that affect our lives. Be sure to pick up the July 2011 issue of Black Enterprise (on stands now) and look for more of their Black LGBT coverage all month long at www.BlackEnterprise.com/BlackLGBT.