Them and Us – Epilogue

Focus Target Hunt 12012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 2
All Photos by Randy Stern

In May on V&R (and in October in Lavender), there was an article looking at the corporate view of the interconnection between the automotive industry and the LGBT community. It spurred plenty of discussion offline on how this information either helped both sides of the question – or, whether it truly mattered at all.

As an update to these articles, the Human Rights Campaign just released their 2012 Corporate Equality Index. In the automotive realm, three companies earned a perfect score on the new CEI: Chrysler Group LLC, the Ford Motor Company, and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Following these three companies are Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. with 90 points, Subaru of America, Inc. with 85 and the General Motors Company with 85. Automotive components supplier Visteon Corporation leads amongst non-OEM companies with 85 points, followed by Bridgestone Americas with 70 and Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. with 65. The only other OEM listed on the CEI was Nissan North America, Inc. with 30 points.

It is interesting how many other companies are not listed on the new CEI. As have pointed out for years that it is important for LGBT consumers to know which manufacturers and brands truly support the community internally within the entity and externally. Do LGBT employees feel proud to work for their chosen firms? Are there proper policies in place for these employees? Do these employees have the proper support either through employee resource groups and/or at the human resources department level?

LGBT consumers are very savvy when they select products, services and retailers that truly support their culture and community. Yet, there are other companies that also benefit from the buying power of LGBT consumers. For example, Hyundai Motor America was one of the fastest rising automobile companies in the USA. Their products have been reviewed on Victory & Reseda and are purchased by LGBT folks. Yet, there is no publicly known information regarding whether Hyundai's USA operations have policies in place protecting discrimination against their LGBT employees or extend health benefits to same-gender partners and spouses – or not.

I am not an activist (well, I used to be). I am just an automotive journalist and writer who is openly gay. Certainly, I get asked whether I should have an editorial policy regarding coverage of brands, individuals or issues that support the LGBT community or not. I chose to cover everything.

However, it is good to know who is on your side. It makes my job easier. It also add some peace of mind for the consumer – whether they are LGBT or not.

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