'Tis the Season to be
Co-Publisher, On the Gay
'Tis the season to be
shopping. And quickly! The day after Thanksgiving
finds you on the slippery slope to Christmas. By
the time you've disposed of the last of the turkey, you
realize that there are no more shopping days until
On top of all the usual
stress that this time of year brings, can I add just a wee bit
more? Yes, the perfect gift is important,
BUT...it also matters where you buy it. So, let's play a
little game. (That sounds less threatening than
saying you're about to be given a quiz, doesn't it?)
HRC has published their
seventh annual buying guide --- Buying for Equality 2009.
Yes, that would normally be a link and I'll get around to
giving it to you, but I don't want you cheating on the
quiz....er, game. As you may be aware, HRC rates
businesses with 500 or more U.S. employees on their treatment
of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, consumers
and investors. Scores range from abysmal treatment,
0, to stellar, 100.
edition reports 259 businesses achieved a perfect
score. That's a one-third increase over last year's
195. I know, that still doesn't sound like very many but
to borrow a line from Angels in America, "the world
only spins forward." Doesn't always spin as fast as we
would like but it's a lot more fun celebrating the progress
than lamenting the distance.
I don't have to tell you
how important it is to support the businesses supporting
us. I wish it didn't have to be this way --- it bothers
me that policies are determined by what is profitable rather
than what is right. But it would be foolish not to use
the tools available to us. Besides, a lot of people out
there really want to do what's right but need to show boards
and investors that what's right can also be good for their
Okay.....let's start with
an easy one.
Which of these general
merchandise super retailers earned the best score?
This one is so easy we're
not even going to score it. Target went from a respectable 80
in the 2008 guide to a perfect 100 for 2009. Wal-Mart went from
a pitiful 2008 score of 40 to ....... wait for it....... 40 in
And that includes Sam's
Club, which is a shame cause I like shopping there. I
don't go to Wal-Mart anyway, but it's for kind of a
personal reason. Has nothing to do with our game --- or
even remotely on topic. So, moving on.
- Need to do a project around the
house? Do you go to Home Depot or Lowe's?
- Someone on your list asking for the
latest and greatest electronic gadget? Best Buy or
- How about shopping from home?
Do you surf through the offerings on eBay or tune in to
- Not exactly the time of year most of
us shop for a new lawn tractor or riding mower but spring
will eventually come around. Make a note --- will it
be a Craftsman from Sears or a cute little John
- Funds are pretty tight this year so
you might be doing some of your shopping with
plastic. What will you be pulling out of your
wallet? Cash back with the Discover Card or frequent
flyer miles with your Visa from Chase?
- Serious shopping requires a lot of
running around so which shoes do you lace up? Are they
Nike's or something else from the Foot
- Okay, so some of us drive around
instead of run from store to store. Do we crank up a Ford
or a Nissan?
- The obvious follow-up to the last
question is where do you fill up the tank? Shell or
- Break time! Enough shopping
for awhile. Time to kick back in front of the
TV. But which provider do you choose to bring
the signal into your home? Cox Cable or Direct
- And, last but certainly not least,
we can't happily relax without a beverage. Is the
fridge stocked with Coors or Coronas?
So, how do you think you did?
Some of the results may surprise you,
and some may dismay you. Just last weekend I had lunch at a
Cracker Barrel. I thought they were off "the list" and that
they had cleaned up their act. 15 --- they scored 15 out of
100 on this survey! Too bad --- I really like Cracker
Barrels. But I was thrilled to see that I can keep racking up
miles with Continental, and it would have broken my heart to
give up Barnes and Noble, but I don't have to cause all the
book stores did very well.
Download your free copy of HRC's
Buying for Equality 2009 and happy shopping!
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you do? Want to share your score? Impress us with what an
informed shopper you are at firstname.lastname@example.org
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I have to apologize up
front. I thought I was over this election. I thought I'd moved
on. But I think the magnitude of it approaches me still, like a
slow-motion tsunami. Obama won by 8.5 to
9 million votes! That's too many folks to be simply
voting against Strawberry Shortcake. I have to believe
that's 4 million more forward-looking people, voting FOR his
ideas, not against something else.
Could it be folks want
what Obama preaches? To end the culture wars? To
modernize our economy? Restore our reputation? As Jon
Cowan and Jim Kessler of Third Way write, "That sounds to us
like the foundation of an ambitious reform agenda, the kind of
ideas that could usher in a historic transformation of American
Politics? How about a
historic transformation of America?
I call it embracing the
Take a closer look.
Experts estimate that between 3 to 8
percent of American adults are gay or lesbian. That means by
2030, roughly 4 million gay Americans will be over the age of
65. With the largest gay generation ever to retire,
same-sex couples are an issue. The political and economic
reverberations have only just begun. Equal rights and
marriage will help smooth the way for some
But is anyone really planning for
retirement? As much as we'd like to think Obama will
blaze the trail, it looks like he's got bigger fish to
fry. At least in his first term.
So back to this incredibly important
question. Whether you are 30 or 60, have you really given
any thought to where you will be 8 years from now--at the end
of Obama's second term? Or 28 years from now? Where
would you like to be?
If you were thinking Castro district or
West Village for all the right reasons, at the moment, the
buy-in price is around $750,000. Hmmm.... So
are you in? Or out?
Take a look at the retirement
communities we've profiled at OTGH in our free
report. And watch for our workbook,
Figuring Out The Next Move.
In the meantime, begin by taking the quiz at
Prudential's--yes, the Rock's--website.
The Retirement Red Zone
(By the way, one of their Business
Resource Groups is Employee Association of Gays, Lesbians,
Bisexuals, and Transgenders (EAGLES). And their motto
is: Diversity: The Power of People.
Karen and I gave them a 100...)