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Speeches from the Summit: Frank O'Connell, New York Times

  
Frank O'Connell of The New York Times: Opening Plenary Speech
National
Summit on Putting the B in LGBT-Sat May 30
  

“Good afternoon everyone, I'm Frank O'Connell, and on behalf of The New York Times Company's GLBT & Allies Affinity Group, I'd like to welcome you all here to this, the first ever "Putting the 'B' in LGBT" Summit. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Sheela Lambert for all of her hard work in organizing this event, and tell you how proud we are to be a co-sponsor, along with The Task Force and Renna Communications.

 

At The New York Times Company, we believe strongly in the guiding principles of diversity and inclusion. Through our editorial page and our workplace policies, we have long been a strong supporter of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender rights and there are countless GLBT employees and allies at all levels of our company. Our core purpose is to enhance society through high quality journalism, and as such, we are honored to have been recognized for our coverage of GLBT issues and our commitment to fair treatment for all in the workplace.

 

For example, for the fifth consecutive year, we have received a Perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. Also, for the fifth time, GLAAD has recognized our coverage, by designating The Times for its media award. Earlier this month we were privileged to accept The Equality Forum's International Business leadership Award for 2009. And I'm especially pleased to mention that our own Ramon Johnson, who will be among the panelists speaking to you later this afternoon, was named "GLBT Person of the Year" for 2008 by GayAgenda.com.

 

Clearly, The New York Times Company is a strong supporter of the GLBT community. But even with that strong support, we, like most media organizations, have sometimes fallen short when it comes to including bisexual men and women in discussions of GLBT issues. This is especially important to me. I have identified as bisexual since 1972, and while I've seen vast improvements in the ways that gays and lesbians have been portrayed in the media during that time, sad to say, the bisexual community is still oftentimes ignored, marginalized and stereotyped. Even within the GLBT community itself, we often remain invisible. However, the very fact that The New York Times Company’s GLBT & Allies Affinity Group is co-sponsoring this landmark event is an indication of The Times’ commitment to thorough, accurate and fair coverage of this often overlooked segment of our community. Today’s Summit is an important step in realizing that goal.

 

Once again I'd like to welcome you all to the Summit, and thank you for coming.”


 

Frank O'Connell is an award-winning 3-D artist and information graphics editor who has worked for The New York Times for the past 18 years. His work focuses mainly on space, science and technology. Prior to coming to The Times, his artwork appeared in Newsweek, BusinessWeek and Fortune. He attended the First East Coast Conference on Bisexuality in 1984, and shortly thereafter went on to become one of the original members of the Boston Bisexual Men's Network. A member of The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, he is currently on the steering committee of The New York Times Company GLBT & Allies Affinity Group. Frank and his wife will be celebrating their 31st anniversary next month.


 

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