On May 1st, two leaders in the LGBT rights movement visited Tuck to share their personal stories and engage the community in a dialogue on the importance of equal protection for LGBT individuals. Marc Solomon and Dan Choi’s visits to Tuck are especially timely given the need for continued support to end the institutionalized discrimination against LGBT individuals not only domestically in the United States but also globally. Both Marc and Dan are inspiring leaders in the LGBT community who have each had significant impact on advancing LGBT rights in differing arenas. Marc currently serves as the National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry and leads the effort to increase public support in the United States for the freedom to marry. After visiting Tuck, Marc travelled to Rhode Island to be with the state’s governor as he signed the new marriage law. Dan Choi has been an outspoken advocate for ending discrimination against the LGBT community and was a leader in the effort to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) in the military. While DADT was officially overturned in 2012, Dan is committed to the ongoing movement to end discrimination against LGBT individuals.
Why were Marc and Dan’s visits important? The truth is that LGBT MBAs and business executives face significant challenges that have very real consequences not only on their professional careers but also on their personal lives. A married LGBT MBA who is recruiting faces a very different landscape than his or her married heterosexual colleagues. While a Tuck LGBT graduate may be legally married in New Hampshire, not only is the marriage not recognized by the federal government, but the graduate may find employment in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages. As such, the LGBT graduate literally has to choose between his or her career and maintaining equal protection under the law for his or her relationship! Additionally, in many states, the LGBT community is not a protected class and therefore LGBT individuals can be fired without cause simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Finally, from the locker rooms of professional sports to the offices of financial institutions, LGBT individuals are subject to discrimination and hostile work environments in the workplace. On a more positive note, many companies in states where same-sex couples are not afforded the same rights and protections under the law have begun to offer personal tax offsets to compensate their LGBT employees the differences in the legal benefits benefitted by the government. While these decisions are a step in the right direction, until LGBT individuals and their relationships are treated equally under the law, LGBT MBAS and business executives will continue to face significant challenges as compared to their heterosexual peers.
Tuck Pride is proud of the Tuck community and grateful to be part of such an open and accepting community. Now is the time for equality. Will you stand with us?