GM Diversity: GM PLUS

GM PLUS: A LEGACY OF PRIDE AT GM

To many people, it has probably never occurred to them that there have always been lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people working at GM. Even in the days of Billy Durant and Alfred Sloan, there were LGBT people working at GM. Our workforce has always reflected the larger world around us – although admittedly not always in an accurate proportion – so LGBT people have not necessarily felt safe to be open about their orientation. But since 1993, there has been an employee resource group that has actively campaigned for equal treatment and safe, accepting working conditions for all GM employees. That group would eventually become GM PLUS (People Like Us), the employee resource group for GM’s LGBT and allied employees.


MILEPOSTS

  • 1995: GM modifies its training materials to acknowledge that sexual harassment may occur between two people of the same sex. Also that year, the infant Saturn brand ran the first-ever automotive advertisement in a national LGBT magazine
  • 1999: Sexual orientation was added to the GM non-discrimination policy, and GM PLUS was officially recognized as an employee resource group
  • 2000: GM, Ford, Chrysler and the UAW jointly announced the auto industry’s first same-sex domestic partner health care benefits
  • 2003: As a result of sponsoring Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the GMC Yukon Denali and the show’s cast were featured in a cover story in Ward's Automotive magazine on the topic of marketing to the LGBT community
  • 2004: The first LGBT market research conducted by GM Global Market & Industry Analysis, the industry's first ride and drive exclusively for LGBT journalists (hosted by GM's West Coast region), and the first annual PlanetOut Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Cadillac
  • 2006: The official addition of gender identity and gender expression to the GM non-discrimination policy enabled GM to score a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index for the first time
  • 2007: GM became the first (and, so far, only) automaker to provide formal support for the transgender-inclusive version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
  • 2009: Out and Equal (a national organization devoted to workplace equality for LGBT individuals) awards GM PLUS its Employee Resource Group of the Year award—a first for any automaker
  • 2012: Chevrolet won a GLAAD Amplifier Award for their "I'm Electric" Volt ad. The recognition, awarded by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), recognizes the best in LGBT-inclusive advertising, marketing and public relations. (Shown right)
  • 2012: GM LGBT employees shared their own personal stories in an "It Gets Better" video in response to “The Trevor Project.” Their moving stories remind young adults that it DOES get better. The Trevor Project was formed in an effort to end suicide among LGBT and questioning youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including its nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, and digital community and advocacy/educational programs

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Information presentations and “Can We Talk” workshops with leadership teams—these are opportunities to educate, enlighten, and share stories in an effort to create an inclusive work environment with GM
  • Supporting our brands in outreach to the LGBT community—whether it’s a Cadillac event at the New York Auto Show, Chevrolet at Motor City Pride, or Buick sponsoring the Washington DC Gay Men’s Chorus, GM PLUS is there to help tell the story of both our culture and our products
  • Helping develop appropriate diversity training materials for dealers—identifying the right language and educating dealers on LGBT-specific issues creates a more welcoming experience for prospective customers
  • Participating in career related events, including Purdue University’s Out At Work panel and the Midwest LGBT job expo
  • Working with HR and Benefits to clarify and update policy issues; most recently, GM added a tool to allow employees to self-identify as LGBT as part of their employee records; this allows us to identify workplace issues, track career progression, and identify mentors for GM’s LGBT employees. In addition, we are keeping up with the fast-moving changes of status for LGBT families at GM, ensuring that all employees and their families can access federal and GM benefits

Both the country and GM’s culture have come a long way since 1993, and GM PLUS will continue to be a part of that transformation going forward.