Caitlyn Jenner’s run for California governor is a ‘vanity joke,’ says trans state senator Sarah McBride

Composite picture of Sarah McBride, left, and Caitlyn Jenner, right.
Delaware state senator Sarah McBride, left, told Insider that Caitlyn Jenner, right, is running a “trans vanity joke campaign.”

  • Caitlyn Jenner, a trans woman, is running in California’s recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  • Sarah McBride, the highest-ranking trans official in the US, told Insider that Jenner’s campaign is a “joke.”
  • The Delaware lawmaker went on to say that Jenner poses a “real threat” to young, trans people.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Delaware state senator Sarah McBride, the highest-ranking openly transgender elected official in the US, told Insider that Caitlyn Jenner running in California’s recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom is nothing more than a “joke.”

“I don’t see her talking to voters. I see her talking to far right-wing media. I see her talking to CPAC. I don’t see her talking to Californians,” McBride said.

The Delaware lawmaker told Insider that while transgender individuals running for office are normally positive for political representation, Jenner’s campaign is likely to do more harm than good.

“Caitlyn Jenner running for office is not helpful because I don’t think people perceive her, and this is an accurate perception, as a serious candidate and as a serious person,” McBride explained.

“I don’t think a trans vanity joke campaign, essentially what this is perceived as, is helpful to trans people being seen as fully realized, substantive, nuanced, diverse human beings,” she continued.

Read more: Caitlyn Jenner joins legal battle to block Gavin Newsom from getting a ‘D’ by his name on California’s gubernatorial recall election ballot

Jenner is running as a Republican and publicly supported former President Donald Trump in the 2016 election. She has since denounced Trump over his stance on LGBTQ rights.

But some of her political positions have angered LGBTQ advocates. For example, the 77-year-old former athlete faced criticism for saying that transgender girls shouldn’t participate in girls’ sports teams, Insider’s Connor Perrett and Bill Bostock reported.

“I think someone who is endorsing anti-trans policies poses a real threat to young, trans people and to the people who have been targeted by these anti-trans bills that have been proliferated around the country,” McBride said. “So no, I don’t see her candidacy as a positive.”

Jenner is a longshot candidate for California governor. A UC Berkeley/Los Angeles Times poll of 10,289 California voters in May showed she only had 6 percent support.

Insider reached out to Jenner for comment, but she did not immediately respond to the request.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Richard Branson says he will take an LGBTQ Pride flag with him on his journey to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson pictured with an LGBTQ Pride flag
Sir Richard Branson will bring an LGBTQ Pride flag and family photos with him to the edge of space.

  • Richard Branson is set to travel to the edge of space on Sunday.
  • The Virgin Galactic founder will bring an LGBTQ Pride flag with him, he told The Mail on Sunday.
  • He’s bringing the flag with him to commemorate the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, he said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sir Richard Branson is scheduled to embark on a historic journey to the edge of space on Sunday, and the Virgin Galactic founder said he intends to bring an LGBTQ Pride flag with him.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday hours before his scheduled lift-off, Branson said he’s bringing the flag with him to commemorate the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

“Somebody who lost a loved one at the Orlando massacre asked if I would do that,” he told the newspaper. “We also have many, many friends who are gay and I know people who lost friends there.”

Read more: Meet the 32-year-old Palantir employee and TikTok star who will soon become one of the youngest mothers to ever travel to space

The 70-year-old added that he’ll also bring family photos with him. His late mother, Eve, was set to travel with him on the Virgin Galactic spaceflight but died of COVID-19 in January, the newspaper said.

Branson will not be bringing a camera or a notebook, he added. “The last bit of advice I have been given from other astronauts is do not take a camera, do not take notebooks, just look out of the window and look back at this incredible world we live in and take it all in,” he told The Mail on Sunday.

Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShipTwo is set to fly its first full crew, including Branson, to an altitude of 55 miles at 9 a.m ET on Sunday.

Elon Musk, the CEO of CEO of Tesla and his own space company, SpaceX, has said that he plans to watch the New Mexico launch, Insider’s Victoria Cavaliere reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Cost of Inequity: How and why inequity persists in the institutions that govern daily life in America

A receipt with the words "The Cost of Inequity" written on it on on a blue background.

Inequity, not to be confused with inequality, is the result of injustice and cultural exclusion. Cost of Inequity explores how and why inequity persists in the institutions that govern daily life in America while illustrating the real economic cost to society.

From education to the workplace, banks, healthcare and more, this series examines the historical causes, current policies and societal norms that perpetuate unfair, avoidable differences for marginalized groups.

Insider also conducted a survey of over 1100 American workers to examine the challenges businesses face in fulfilling DEI programs. Detailed results of the survey will be published in the coming weeks.

Read the original article on Business Insider

11 things you should do to make your workplace more LGBTQ+ inclusive

two men talking to friends
Showing that you care about LGBTQIA+ rights will make your coworkers feel heard and seen.

  • 46% of LGBTQ workers say they’re still closeted at work because of a multitude of fears and issues.
  • You can make their work environment more inclusive by not making assumptions and being considerate.
  • Treat the LGTBQ community the same as everyone by asking about their partner, but don’t be nosy.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The LGBTQ community loves and appreciates the support of our straight allies, whether you’re marching in a parade with us or voting for candidates who promise to protect marriage equality. But there’s one place where we still desperately need your help – and that’s at work.

According to a Human Rights Campaign Foundation report, 46% of LGBTQ workers say they’re still closeted at work. You can’t blame them. Many fear reprisals from unsupportive managers, hear homophobic jokes, or feel isolated and excluded, among other issues.

If you really want to be the best ally at work, there are subtle but deeply appreciated things you can do to show your LGBTQ coworkers that they can be their full selves around you – and more importantly, that they’re valued. Here are 11 things you can do tomorrow, or right now, per an informal polling of all my favorite LGBTQ friends.

Read more: LGBTQ+-friendly resort amenities and services are becoming mainstream as luxury destinations improve efforts to attract this group of travelers with trillions in purchasing power

1. First, don’t make assumptions

You can’t tell anything LGBTQ-related simply by looking at someone.

“I’ve had to come out at every job I’ve ever had because I look so ‘straight,'” said Nikki Levy, an entertainment executive at a studio and the creator of “Don’t Tell My Mother!” “I am engaged. I wear a ring. When you want to know things like how we met, ask, ‘How did you meet your partner?’ as opposed to, ‘How did you meet him?’ I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been apologized to because of their assumptions about my non-existent husband.”

In general, don’t assume anything, said Liz Glazer, a lesbian comic. It’s a tip from “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and it “goes for pronouns, partner status, whatever. Work environments would be friendlier, and frankly, people would be more humble and better to be around, if this was a thing people did more, or less, as the case may be,” Glazer said. As Ruiz wrote, have the courage to ask questions and communicate to avoid misunderstandings.

2. Let me come out when I’m ready

It’s still very difficult for some LGBTQ folks to come out at work, for a variety of reasons, from serious safety concerns to being peppered with annoying questions by the ill-informed.

“I told one guy at my office about my girlfriend, and he started acting weird,” said Ganee Berkman, a dental hygienist. “He asked if a guy had ever hurt me, and why a girl who looked like me would be gay. That set me back so far and made me super nervous to come out to people.”

Even if a coworker is out to you, that doesn’t mean they are out to everyone. They may choose not to tell certain folks at work because it makes their lives easier. Once they are out to you, feel free to ask them (privately) if everyone else knows. If not, be extra aware of how you speak to and about them at work, so you don’t out them, even by accident.

3. Go ahead, ask about my partner

Once someone is out, have the same conversations and ask the same questions you’d ask a straight or cisgender person about their personal life. The worst thing you can do is ignore it, like it’s the giant elephant in the room.

“I’ve encountered coworkers who know I’m gay, but never ever bring up my personal life,” Berkman said. “I don’t like that. If they’re quiet about it, it makes me feel like I need to hide it.”

Another thing she’s encountered is people lowering their voices when talking to her about gay stuff, as if it’s taboo. “Don’t whisper,” she said. “It makes it seem like even talking about gay stuff is bad. Use normal volume.”

4. But don’t be too nosy

It’s great to have conversations with your fellow LGBTQ coworkers about their lives outside of the office, as long as it’s appropriate for the workplace. “Don’t ask how I [knew] I was gay,” said Chloe Curran, a writer. “It’s weird.”

LGBTQ folks often get bombarded with questions that are overly personal or intimate, like when did we tell our parents, how do we have sex, or which body parts do we still have or not have. Levy, who is getting married in August, has been asked too many times if she and her future wife “are both wearing dresses” to their wedding.

The worst is when coworkers try to play matchmaker. We know you’re excited you know at least two gay people, but that doesn’t mean we will be even slightly attracted or have anything in common. “Oh, hey are you single? What’s your type? I know someone…” Ever Mainard, an actor/comic who has also worked as a production assistant, hears it all the time. “I know it’s well-meaning, but it’s mostly off-putting and insulting.”

5. Sure, tell me about your other gay friends

We might not want to be set up, but we don’t mind knowing you have other gay friends or family members. If you come out as an ally, as soon as humanly possible, we love that. We feel understood, safe, seen. A for effort!

Berkman, for example, didn’t know her favorite office manager had a gay daughter for a year and a half. “She always showed me so much love and understanding, and I finally found out why. I would’ve loved for her to tell me way sooner,” she said.

“I actually think it’s adorable when people find out that I’m gay, then start telling me about their one gay friend or their one encounter with anything gay,” Berkman said. “It seems cheesy, but I actually appreciate that they’re trying to show support even though they might not have a lot of experience with gay people. Things like that make me feel 10,000 times more comfortable than people who stop talking to me after I come out to them. The ones who get awkwardly super excited and enthusiastic after finding out are the ones who make me the happiest.”

6. Don’t only talk about my sexuality or gender

Of course, there’s a limit to how much we want to talk about all of this. Being LGBTQ is obviously a huge part of our lives, but it’s not the only thing.

“I have had the privilege of working in a few settings where my sexual orientation felt about as relevant as my hair color – that is, irrelevant,” said Aaron Chapman, a medical director in Alameda County in northern California. “Being gay neither moved me ahead nor held me back. I was neither a victim of discrimination nor a token of progressivism. That was a privilege.”

What we as a community have been fighting so hard for is to have the same rights and be treated as anyone else, adds Eugene Huffman, an artist and paralegal. “Treat them as you would any other person – that they are a person, and LGBTQ is just one facet of who they are, not the entire picture,” Huffman said. “We have enough things that already make us feel different, we don’t need to add to it.”

7. Educate yourself

“Don’t ask me to be your educator,” said Tre Temperilli, who works on Democratic political campaigns and identifies as gender ambivalent. “We all have to lift. So roll up your sleeves and Google some things. Participate in your own evolution.”

Stay on top of what is going on with the LGBTQ community in the news. Can we be fired for being gay? Can homophobes still refuse to make wedding cakes for us? Which bathrooms are we allowed to go in? Can we serve in the military or not? It’s exhausting being the teacher/expert on all things gay. If you want to be an ally, do a little homework on your own.

Also, “don’t assume that just because someone is gay that they know everything about the LGBTQ community,” said Aaron Rasmussen, a writer. “It’s large [and] diverse and everyone has their own individual experience and story to tell.”

8. Make an effort with my pronouns

Those of us in the LGBTQ community who are transgender and gender fluid deal with a lot of confusion, bias, and misunderstanding on a daily basis. At work, it can be especially stressful.

“Being nonbinary is slightly more difficult for people to wrap their heads around because they go, ‘Wait, you’re not a man or a woman?'” said Samee Junio, who identifies as nonbinary. It’s much less “accepted” than being just “gay” or “lesbian.”

If you find it hard to adjust to a person’s pronouns, the best thing to do is to keep trying. “The excuse I hear most frequently from some is, ‘I’m old, this is all new to me,'” said Temperilli, who goes by he/him and they. “That’s fine, but after the third time I’m like, DUDE!”

Don’t be scared to ask if you’re not sure what pronouns someone uses. Temperilli believes most trans folks don’t mind answering, “but for all that is holy, don’t keep misgendering someone because you find it ‘too hard.’ It can be hurtful and as we know, respect is a two-way street,” they said. “What seems hard for you is likely a trillion times harder for the person you’re not seeing when you misgender trans folks.”

You can take it one step further by helping communicate your coworker’s pronouns to others. Junio goes by they/them and works with new people constantly on different shows as the head of the tech department at Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth, a performance venue in Los Angeles. It often feels like a burden having to repeatedly explain the pronoun situation – so they don’t.

“My bosses know and they prep everyone before they meet me,” they said. “There should be more of that in the workplace. I’m fortunate to have an incredible employer and the other employees correct people for me, too.”

9. Stick up for me

“If you hear a coworker misgender a trans person or call them the wrong name outside that person’s presence, call them out, if you know the trans person is out to them and it is safe to do so,” said Charlie Arrowood, who identifies as trans or nonbinary and is the director of Name & Gender Recognition at Transcend Legal.

If you hear someone tell a homophobic joke, again, don’t let it slide. Call them out, plus report it to HR. That’s how things change.

10. Show you care about the LGBTQ community

There are so many small but significant ways to do this. For example, you could encourage your office to sponsor a float in your local pride parade, or if that’s already in the works, you can show up to march.

“At San Francisco Pride many of the workplace marching groups are like 50% straight supporters,” Chapman said. “It is cool to see straight coworkers come out to celebrate.”

Maybe less fun but even more impactful would be to look at your employee insurance policy and, if there is an exclusion for transgender care, “use your cisgender capital and privilege to ask your employer to remove it,” Arrowood said.

11. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

“It is critical that employees consciously cultivate an LGBTQ-inclusive workplace,” said Kelly Dermody, employment practice group chairperson at the law firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann, & Bernstein. You might make some good faith mistakes along the way – that’s OK! “Ask, clarify, apologize, if necessary,” Dermody said, “but keep making the effort to be a place [where] LGBTQ employees and their friends, families, and allies want to work.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

For over 35 years, Rosanna Durruthy has advocated for a more inclusive corporate America as an openly queer leader. Now, as LinkedIn’s head of diversity, she’s clearing the path for other LGBTQ professionals.

Rosanna
Rosanna Durruthy, LinkedIn’s head of DEI, wants companies to prioritize inclusion as much as they prioritize diversity.

  • For Pride Month, Insider interviewed Rosanna Durruthy, LinkedIn’s head of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • A third of LGBTQ workers have faced discrimination at work, per LinkedIn research.
  • Durruthy, an openly queer Afro-Latina, shared her plans to promote inclusion for LGBTQ workers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Several years ago, Rosanna Durruthy took a seat in the reception area of a New York City office. She was there to meet an executive with whom she had talked on the phone for weeks regarding a potential business deal.

When a secretary told the executive, a white man, that Durruthy had arrived, he walked into the reception area, looked around, and went back into his office. He repeated this two times.

“I thought you said she was here,” the executive said to the secretary.

“She is.” the secretary said, pointing to Durruthy, an Afro-Latina. A look of shock washed over the man’s face as if he wasn’t expecting to see a person of color, Durruthy said. He also ended the meeting abruptly despite their strong rapport over the phone.

Durruthy said these types of experiences are far too common for those with marginalized backgrounds. Because of this, she’s dedicated her 35-year career to forging a more inclusive corporate culture.

Today, Durruthy is the head of diversity and inclusion at LinkedIn, where she’s on a mission to inspire others to embrace their unique identity at work. A big part of that personal mission comes from knowing firsthand the pain of not being accepted for who you are in the corporate world.

For Durruthy, Pride Month is a time to double down on the work she’s spearheading. Executives need to focus not only on diversity, but inclusion, she said. One in three LGBTQ+ professionals face blatant discrimination and/or microaggressions at work, per a recent LinkedIn survey.

“As a leader, bravery has had to take different forms,” Durruthy said. “Making people visible often requires not just ‘marching people into a room,’ but having leaders take on new behaviors that allow them to be present when they’re interacting with members of their workforce.”

Durruthy spoke to Insider about the trials and triumphs of her ascension to LinkedIn’s head of diversity, lessons she’s learned along the way, and how she’s clearing the path for other queer professionals.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What does Pride Month mean to you personally and professionally?

Coming of age as a queer Afro-Latina, there was a time when being out just did not seem feasible as a professional. It felt laden with risk. Working now for a company where our mission is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, it is inspiring and it’s exciting to know that Pride Month is more than the significance of a month. It is about the work created by organizations to create a space where we can each feel safe, where we can be ourselves.

It’s also the recognition that that’s still not an option for everyone. I have a great privilege to lead this work in an environment like LinkedIn, and from the work that we’re doing to create a safer platform for all members. In doing so, it also makes me feel very aware of how much further we have to go to be a part of creating the solution that allows others to feel as comfortable in their skin as I get to be in mine.

You mentioned there was a time where you weren’t comfortable being an openly queer Afro-Latina. When did that change?

I think it happened early in my career, but the irony isn’t lost upon me that it was really a personal reckoning when I was getting ready to accept my first chief diversity officer role [at beverage company Seagram.] It was obvious that I was Black. I was very clear about my Latina heritage and roots. I’m proud to be a Puerto Rican woman. But being gay was something that I was not comfortable with.

I realized I really had to have a conversation with myself about whether I was equipped to lead diversity and inclusion for a company and not be out. And so it was one of those moments where the function of my work itself forced me to come out as opposed to hiding because I felt it would be disingenuous to lead diversity and not authentically be who I am.

What made you want to become a corporate DEI leader? Was there a specific moment in your life where you realized that you had the potential to make a difference?

I think I’m one of those individuals who were fortunate and blessed at a really young age to be aware of what was going on in the world around me. My own intersectional identity gave me the ability, in some cases, to hide that I was gay. It gave me the agility to be in environments where people often assume that I was someone different. There were times where I was made to feel not fully a member of the Black community because somehow being Hispanic made me not qualify as Black at that time, or that being Black made me not Latina enough. So the intersection cuts both ways.

The journey to being myself really came from an understanding of the civil rights era. I saw the work that Martin Luther King, Jr. lost his life for. I knew that I wanted to make a difference when I grew up. And when I began my career, diversity and inclusion didn’t exist. So in many ways, I was preparing for something that didn’t already exist in the business environment.

I feel like it’s been a real journey to create something that’s necessary.

Has there ever been a time when you’ve had to help someone work through difficulties regarding queerness in the workplace?

Yeah, throughout my career, there have actually been numerous times. Even as we look at the most recent research that LinkedIn has released, we look at the fact that over half of LGBTQ professionals today believe that being out negatively impacts your job search, and more than a third of LGBTQ professionals have faced discrimination and/or microaggressions at work.

The work that I do in diversity is not something I do alone. It’s the kind of work that requires others to stand alongside you, not only members of our LGBTQ+ community, but allies as well to recognize and regard the importance of ensuring that everyone in that environment has the ability to realize great potential. But it only happens if the organization empowers and enables that.

Great companies are going to establish clear anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. They’re going to create safe spaces for their employees and they’re going to enable brave conversations to take place because these aren’t one-sided conversations. And ultimately, they’re going to commit to inclusive hiring practices and goals, which means they’re willing to stand up and say, “I see you, and I want you in my environment, and I want you to bring your perspective to the work that we’re doing.”

And lastly, it’s not just about bringing people in the door; it’s about building inclusive leaders who are able to unlock the potential in each and every one of their team members, equipping leaders with the skills to understand and confront bias, to actively create a culture of inclusion, and to create the experience of belonging for another.

No one wants the mental stress of having to be someone that they’re not.

Earlier you mentioned the word brave. Could you tell me about a time in your career that you’ve had to be brave?

You just want one time? [laughs] As human beings, there’s always fear in creating something that hasn’t existed before. And the work of diversity, inclusion, and belonging is ultimately still a very new concept, despite the fact that I’ve spent the last 35 years doing this work. And the newness of the concept is this bravery to help people see that each and every one of us is different. We’re born different.

The real bravery of leadership is to create something that didn’t exist previously. When we talk about systemic bias, what we’re also talking about is the permission that society has given to create unfairness, to build in preferences that say you belong here when you come from certain environments or you look a certain way, or your degree is from a certain school, or you speak a certain way.

Ultimately that also lends to how you look, how you walk, the gender you possess, and who you live your life with. And I think bravery happens in each and every day when we say it’s not right, that we are excluding people, that we are designing systems and products and services to benefit some, but effectively are designed to exclude others, to ignore others in many instances.

What is a goal that you want to accomplish in the next year?

I personally would love to see us reach gender parity as an organization in leadership. It may not be in the next year, but I think the progress that we’re making will allow us to see it in a fairly reasonable period of time. And that we continue with the programs and the commitments that we’ve made over the next three years. We’ve pledged to double the number of Black and Latino underrepresented talent in the United States at the senior individual contributor level and beyond. So this year is largely about continuing to make a mark in that progression and that journey of doubling the number of people at LinkedIn who are Black and Latino.

Read the original article on Business Insider

New Yorkers who don’t identify as male or female can use ‘X’ to designate their gender on driver’s licenses and other government documents, new bill says

Gay pride flags on a fence at the Stonewall National Monument in New York City.
Gay pride flags decorate the Stonewall National Monument at Christopher Park in front of the Stonewall Inn on June 02, 2021 in New York City.

  • New York lawmakers passed Friday a bill to allow a third option for a person’s gender on official documents.
  • People who do not identify as either male or female would be able to mark their gender as “X.”
  • The Biden administration hinted previously it could adopt a similar policy at the national level.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lawmakers in the New York State Assembly on Friday passed a bill that would allow New Yorkers who do not identify as male or female to mark their gender as “X” on official state documents, including their driver’s license and birth certificate.

The bill previously passed the State Senate.

“The provisions in this bill will make life safer, reduce the stigma and affirm the identities for so many of our friends and neighbors,” said Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, a Democrat representing Manhattan who sponsored the legislation, according to the New York Daily News

The bill, known as The Gender Recognition Act, now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat. If signed, the bill will allow transgender, intersex, and nonbinary people in New York to alter their gender on state documents and identification that matches so it matches their gender identity, as the Daily News reported.

According to the bill, New Yorkers who seek to change their gender identity would no longer be required to provide medical evidence to change their gender designation on state documents. The bill would also eliminate the requirement that legal name changes be listed in a local newspaper.

Cuomo’s office did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment on Saturday when asked if he planned to sign the legislation.

As CNN reported, if signed, New York would become the 25th state in the US to allow some sort of gender-neutral identifier on state documents.

The federal government has hinted that it could soon make a similar change.

A White House official February told The 19th in February that the Biden administration was considering making the change to federal documents, including passports. A group of congressional lawmakers in May pressured President Joe Biden to add the “X” option, as The 19th reported.

“We believe that a gender-neutral marker (“X”) should be available on all federal IDs, and that accurate gender markers should be accessible using a self attestation standard,” a letter to Biden sent last month read, according to the outlet.

The letter, which asked Biden to make the change by issuing an executive order, was authored by Rep. Ro Khanna of California and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and signed by 20 other congressional Democrats, according to The 19th.

Read the original article on Business Insider

12 of the richest LGBTQ people in the world

Wealthy LGBTQ figures
Tim Cook and Giorgio Armani are billionaires.

  • Some famous LGBTQ figures are worth billions after inheriting empires or building companies.
  • In 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook officially became a billionaire.
  • Giorgio Armani’s is worth $8.1 billion, while Domenico Dolce is worth $1.6 billion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
David Geffen, the co-founder of DreamWorks, is worth $9.9 billion, according to Forbes.

David Geffen
David Geffen.

Starting as a Hollywood talent agent, Geffen made the foundation of his fortune when he created record labels Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and DGC Records. In 1994, he created the DreamWorks film studio with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Geffen also has a large real estate portfolio and a $2 billion art collection, according to Business Insider

In 2007, Out magazine called Geffen the most powerful gay man in the country.

Fashion designer Giorgio Armani’s fortune is about $8.1 billion.

Giorgio Armani 2020
Giorgio Armani.

Armani began his career in the military after leaving medical school. In the ’70s, he started designing menswear clothing, but his career really took off when he started designing for Richard Gere in 1980. Since then, Armani’s brand has expanded into an empire, which includes accessories, interior design, and hotels.

The famously private designer spoke about his sexuality in a 2000 interview with Vanity Fair, saying, “I have had women in my life. And sometimes men.”


PayPal’s co-founder Peter Thiel is worth $5 billion, according to Forbes.

peter thiel
Peter Thiel.

In 1999, Thiel co-founded PayPal, which was meant to be a simple way to exchange money via devices. He was CEO of the company up until eBay acquired PayPal, and his stake in the company was said to be worth $55 million. Thiel was also an early investor of Facebook, and he founded a data analytics company, Palantir, which is valued at $20 billion, according to Forbes

He now lives with his husband, Matt Danzeisen, in Los Angeles.

Jon Stryker is an heir to a medical equipment company. Forbes reports his net worth at $4.3 billion.

Jon Stryker
Jon Stryker.

Stryker’s grandfather founded Stryker Corp., which is a medical supply company that sold $14.9 billion in equipment in 2019, according to Forbes. One of the heirs to the family fortune, Stryker is a philanthropist, donating large sums of his money to charities and scholarships. So far, he has given away $585 million. 

Stryker also founded the Arcus Foundation, which fights for LGBTQ rights and ape conservation. 

Norwegian businessman Stein Erik Hagen is worth $2.7 billion, according to Forbes.

Stein Erik Hagen, right.
Stein Erik Hagen.

Hagen founded the supermarket chain Rimi with his father in the 1970s and is a major shareholder of the consumer goods conglomerate Orkla. He was Norway’s seventh wealthiest person in 2020, according to Norwegian business magazine Kapital.

Hagen, who is bisexual, publicly came out on one of Norway’s biggest chat shows, Skavaln, in 2015, saying he only came to understand his sexuality “well into adulthood,” The Local reported.

Jennifer Pritzker, a hotel heiress, is the only openly transgender billionaire in the world.

Jennifer Pritzker
Jennifer Pritzker.

A former lieutenant in the Army, Pritzker inherited part of the Hyatt hotel fortune, giving her a net worth of $2 billion, according to Forbes.

She came out as transgender in 2013 without much fanfare, but she made headlines in 2017 when President Trump announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military. Before this, Pritzker supported Trump and donated large sums to his campaign, but the ban prompted her to support Biden in his bid for the presidency. 

Fashion designer Domenico Dolce is worth $1.6 billion.

Domenico Dolce
Domenico Dolce.

After meeting in a club, Dolce and Stefano Gabbana started a fashion brand together in 1985. The company’s signature animal print made waves at fashion events and even caught the attention of Madonna, solidifying Dolce & Gabbana’s place in fashion history. 

His business partner Stefano Gabbana is also worth $1.6 billion.

Dolce and Gabbana
Stefano Gabbana.

Dolce and Gabbana ended their personal relationship in 2003 but still own the company and design together.

In 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook officially became a billionaire.

tim cook apple logo
Tim Cook.

Cook became CEO of Apple in 2011 after the death of its founder, Steve Jobs. A decade later, the company is nearing a market value of nearly $2 trillion, making Cook a billionaire.

He is now worth $1.3 billion, according to Forbes. Despite his billionaire status, he lives in a relatively modest home in Palo Alto.

He came out as gay in 2014

Fashion designer Michael Kors used to be worth $1 billion, but today, his fortune is estimated to be $600 million.

Michael Kors
Michael Kors.

Kors began his fashion design company in his mother’s basement in the ’80s and turned it into an empire. In 2011, he took the company public when it was valued at $3.5 billion. In 2004, he became a superstar when he became a judge on “Project Runway.” Ten years later, Kors became a billionaire. 

Today, his fortune is a bit smaller, but he calls downtown New York City home with his husband, Lance Le Pere.

Elton John has been in the music industry for decades, earning a fortune that’s reportedly near $500 million.

elton john
Elton John.

John began his music career in England and became known for his flamboyant and outrageous costumes. Quickly, he became a cultural phenomenon, launching his decade-spanning career. He still tours today and has sold over 300 million records, according to The Times

Plus, John has been with his partner, David Furnish, for nearly three decades.

Ellen DeGeneres’ net worth is estimated at $370 million, according to Forbes.

Ellen Degeneres show
Ellen DeGeneres.

DeGeneres began her career as a standup comedian and eventually landed a successful sitcom titled “Ellen” in the late ’90s. During that time, she came out as a lesbian, and she was blacklisted from Hollywood. In 2003, she made her return as a daytime talk show host, although the show will end after its 19th season airs in 2022.

She’s married to Portia de Rossi and they live in Los Angeles. 

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How to avoid ‘rainbow-washing’ and include allyship and innovation in your Pride marketing efforts instead

Parade-goers make their way down 5th Avenue during the NYC Pride March
Parade-goers make their way down 5th Avenue during the NYC Pride March.

  • Companies often turn to rainbow versions of their products during the month of June for Pride.
  • Rainbow-washing can be lazy, and there are better ways to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Create awareness, give context, partner with community leaders, and do something outside of June.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I get pitched a lot by publicists, agents, and agencies for this column. Because I often use the behavior of certain people or companies as a jump-off point for articles, it makes sense that PR professionals would seek out similar coverage for their clients.

Publicists and account reps have many different resources for building their network, and an increasingly popular approach is to join and participate in online communities such as PR-focused Facebook groups. I’m in a few of these myself to stay informed, and the other day I saw a passing post that mentioned some new LGBTQ-related research. I’m always interested in seeing and referencing new data-backed studies, so I commented and asked for the press release.

I thought I wrote, “Feel free to send that report my way.” But from the looks of my inbox the past few weeks, perhaps I blacked out and actually said something more along the lines of “Open Sesame!” because the number of pitches I’ve received lately has been bonkers.

Read more: Young sellers making thousands a month on Depop reveal how they got their start

Brand after brand has forwarded me their “revolutionary” new campaign in which they’ve printed a rainbow version of their product and are giving a portion of proceeds to an LGBTQ-focused charity. I’ll certainly never turn my nose up at a company’s charitable giving efforts. But I’m also worried. For many of these companies, a rainbow version of their product for the month of June feels both performative and – dare I say it – lazy.

We know that we exist. So we want to see more than awareness in your pride marketing; we want to see allyship and innovation. Here are a few ideas on what that could look like – and why companies should care.

Consumer psychology has changed

Consumers increasingly look to where a brand stands on topics of social justice to determine their loyalty. Your customers and clients want to follow your company and buy your product not only for what it does but also for what you stand for.

We all like to purchase from companies that get us. And according to polling data from Gallup, the roar of both the LGBTQ community and economy is only getting louder. Highlights from that data include:

  • 5.6% of Americans identifying as LGBTQ, up from 4.5% in 2017,
  • 9.1% of millennials identifying as LGBTQ, with about half of that population identifying as bisexual, and
  • Nearly 16% of Gen Z identifying as LGBTQ, with 72% of that population identifying as bisexual. 1.8% of Gen Z identifies as transgender.

Translation? Queer people exist, and younger people identify as queer in greater numbers. Oppression efforts continue to run rampant, so we need your help.

As of this writing, 17 anti-transgender bills have already been signed into law this year, per a press release from the Human Rights Campaign. The impact these bills will have on trans youth is staggering; a University of Arizona study found that trans youth experience far higher suicide attempt rates, but an affirmation of their identity and pronouns by parents can greatly reduce this number.

Financial data on the LGBTQ community also paints a complex picture. Mainstream stereotypes depict queer people as lavish and fabulous. But overall, LGBTQ people are more likely to experience socioeconomic inequality, according to a demographics report from UCLA.

As you create awareness for the LGBTQ community during pride month, take time in your messaging to give context. Share with your audience about the current challenges we face as well as where your company stands.

How to attract loyal customers who promote you on their behalf

If pride marketing feels like walking on eggshells this year, here are a few steps you can take that are largely guaranteed to make a difference.

  • Hand the microphone over. Instead of rainbow-washing a community’s needs, partner with a community leader who can speak to important issues in an informed, compelling way. Influencer marketing is still a slippery slope, but spokespeople have been a tried-and-true visibility tactic for decades. The approach is win/win.
  • Do something outside of June. If you’ve missed the opportunity to promote pride in June … there are LGBTQ-related awareness days throughout the year. Your campaign is less likely to get caught in the rainbow-washed echo chamber that is June, too.
  • Go local. GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide includes a directory of community organizations to spotlight and be aware of. What are your local organizations, and how can you encourage supporting them? These grassroots initiatives often make an immediate impact and can literally save lives.

The LGBTQ economy continues to grow, and as a result, the pride marketing landscape is changing. Instead of phoning it in, use marketing dollars to spotlight issues that truly matter to your customers. Challenge yourself to zig when others zag, and you’re more likely to command our market’s attention for months and years to come.

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Florida governor banned transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports on first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference in December 2020 at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday banning transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in high school and college on the first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

The “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which was introduced by GOP state Sen. Travis Hutson in February, designates teams “on the basis of students’ biological sex at birth,” meaning transgender girls whose birth certificate says “male” as their biological sex are not allowed to participate in girls’ sports teams.

The law also expressly prohibits those whose “biological sex” on their birth certificate denotes male from participating in girls’ sports, but those whose “biological sex” is noted as female can play in boys’ sports.

When asked if there was a meaning behind signing the bill on June 1 ahead of its June 12 deadline, DeSantis said: “It’s not a message to anything other than saying we’re going to protect fairness and women’s sports.” The legislation goes into effect on July 1.

“We believe in the state of Florida protecting the fairness and integrity of women’s athletics,” DeSantis said at an event at the Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville. “I can tell you that in Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports and boys are going to play boys’ sports.”

Supporters of the legislation say the act eliminates an unfair biological advantage by prohibiting transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports.

“We all know that men are stronger than women,” GOP state Sen. Kelli Stargel said at the Jacksonville event, which also featured a video of a track athlete who sued over transgender girls competing in high school girls’ sports.

Stargel, who championed the sports legislation, said in response: “When you’re looking at that video, it’s evident the woman, the transgender woman who competed, or self-identified woman, ran very differently than the others in the competition. It’s physiologically different. Men are stronger, they have bigger lung capacity, stronger muscles.”

Critics – including Stargel’s daughter Laura – said the legislation discriminates against transgender athletes and could have a negative impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing.

“Excluding transgender children from sports will exacerbate feelings of discrimination and severely impact their mental and physical health,” Laura Stargel wrote in an op-ed published in the Orlando Sentinel.

“I played sports all throughout middle, high school and college,” she added. “Not once did I stop to consider what gender my teammates were assigned at birth.”

Democratic lawmakers in the state also condemned DeSantis’ decision to sign the bill.

“This is yet another hate-driven attack from the governor and Republican legislators, and it’s insulting that they’ve staged this morning’s photo-op on the first day of Pride Month,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones said. “At the end of the day, transgender kids are just kids.”

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who became Florida’s first openly gay Latinx legislator, tweeted in response: “Appalling. First day of LGBTQ Pride Month and @GovRonDeSantis signs SB 1028 which bans trans kids from school sports.”

“FHSAA has allowed trans kids to participate in FL since 2013 with ZERO problems,” Smith continued. “This fuels transphobia and puts vulnerable kids at risk for no good reason.”

The Senate passed the anti-transgender sports bill in April, and it initially had a deadline to be signed into law by DeSantis on June 12 – the same day as the five-year anniversary of the shooting at the Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, that left 49 people dead.

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Caitlyn Jenner’s comments about trans girls in sports was used to justify a proposed ban in Kansas. It failed anyway.

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner was praised last week by Republicans, but criticized by advocates for the transgender community, for saying trans girls shouldn’t play on girls’ teams.

  • Lawmakers in dozens of states across the US have proposed legislation targeting trans youth.
  • Five states have passed laws barring transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams.
  • Kansas Rep. Stephanie Byers said these bills are conservatives’ response to growing LGBTQ acceptance.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An effort to ban trans kids from team sports failed this week in Kansas. After Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed Senate Bill 55, which is nearly identical to dozens of bills being considered in state legislatures across the US, the State Senate didn’t have enough votes to override her decision.

Kansas Rep. Stephanie Byers told Insider that members of the state’s legislature had used recent comments from California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner to support their attempt to override the governor’s veto.

Monday’s vote came days after Jenner, the former Olympic athlete and reality star who came out publicly as a trans woman in 2015, said in an interview with TMZ she opposed transgender girls playing on sports teams with other girls.

Jenner, who in April launched a bid for California governor as part of the Republican effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom, echoed statements made by conservatives in favor of blocking trans girls from playing on girls’ sports teams.

“This is a question of fairness,” she said Saturday. “That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”

While her comments contradicted those she made to Outsports in a 2020 interview, they were in line with GOP leaders, including former President Donald Trump who previously ranted to conservatives about the unfairness of having trans girls compete.

“What coach, as an example, wants to recruit a young woman to compete if her record can easily be broken by somebody who was born a man?” Trump said at a CPAC conference in February during his first speech post-presidency.

He had added: “If this does not change, women’s sports as we know it will die.”

Republicans in state legislatures across the country have turned their attention toward transgender youth. More than two dozen states have considered or passed some sort of anti-trans legislation this year. Last month, lawmakers in North Dakota failed to override a veto of a bill similar to the anti-trans legislation blocked in Kansas.

Some state leaders have pushed for more aggressive legislation that would bar doctors from providing trans youth with medical care. Lawmakers in Arkansas enacted such a law when the Republican state legislature overrode the governor’s veto. While Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, called the bill “extreme” when he vetoed it, he signed into law another bill that banned trans girls from playing on girls’ sports teams.

In total, five states have so far passed legislation barring trans girls from participating on girls’ teams, including Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Byers said Jenner is wrong about the issue of fairness when it comes to these anti-trans bills, and doesn’t speak for the trans community.

As the Associated Press reported earlier this year, state lawmakers who have proposed bills targeting young trans athletes struggle to name instances where trans youth have caused issues on sports teams.

“First of all, we know that she does not speak for the entire trans community,” Byers said. “She, because of her celebrity status, was kind of placed in that position.

“And we’ve seen, over the years that she has brought some attention, especially to some of the struggles with trans youth, but oftentimes her celebrity status becomes the one thing she is most interested in,” she added.

Jenner, a registered Republican, openly supported Trump during his 2016 campaign for office, Byers pointed out. After Trump was elected, however, Jenner spoke out against him when he barred trans people from serving in the US military. In 2018, she penned an op-ed in The Washington Post admitting she’d been wrong about Trump.

“Her statement really just seems to be more of: I’m Caitlyn Jenner. Look at me, pay attention to me,” Byers said. “We’re talking about values of the trans community. She does not represent the thoughts and thinking of the majority of people who are transgender.”

Stephanie Byers
Educator of the Year honoree Stephanie Byers accepts her award at the GLSEN 2018 Respect Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street on May 21, 2018 in New York City.

“No one can accuse her of being anti-trans or interested in causing suicides, or whatever accusation they had of me for that,” Senate President Ty Masterson, a Republican, said Monday before the vote, according to The Associated Press.

In vetoing the bill on April 22, Kelly, a Democrat, wrote the “legislation sends a devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children and their families, including those who are transgender – who are already at a higher risk of bullying, discrimination, and suicide.”

More than half of transgender and nonbinary youth have said they’ve considered suicide, according to a 2020 survey by The Trevor Project. And 86% of LGBTQ youth in the same survey said “recent politics have negatively impacted their well-being.”

But the bills also come at a time when there are more LGBTQ people in government in the US than ever before. Byers last year was part of a group of lawmakers across the US who won in a phenomenon dubbed the “rainbow wave” (it was more a “splash” than a wave.)

In total, according to a report from NBC News, more than 200 LGBTQ candidates celebrated victory on Election Day last year. Winners included the first out Black gay member of Congress and the first out nonbinary state legislator.

Byers, a former teacher and band director last year won her race by 11 percentage points. She said these types of bills targeting trans youth are part of the religious right’s reaction to clearly shifting societal attitudes and acceptance of members of the gay and trans communities.

First, conservatives opposed gay marriage. When the Supreme Court legalized that in 2015, they focused on bills that attempted to police the restrooms used by trans people, she said. Then, those failed.

“It’s this repeated pattern of attacking the LGBTQ community by the same group,” Byers said. “I think this is a reaction to seeing our country become more accepting of the LGBTQ community. For this other side – this conservative, religious-based side – these are their last digs at trying to stop the tide that’s going to keep coming on.”

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