Questions from Mary Ellen Slayter's online discussion with former major-league umpire Dave Pallone, author of the best-selling 1990 autobiography "Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball." Pallone is a diversity trainer on sexual orientation.
Washington, D.C.: So what exactly is involved in diversity training in a corporation? I'm a gay man, and I really have no idea what such a program would be about.
Dave Pallone: Well, what you try to do is show people that anyone who happens to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered is a human being, not a sexual being. Try to show how discrimination hurts.
Mary Ellen Slayter: What usually prompts a company to bring you?
Dave Pallone: Most companies will bring me because they need to sensitize their employees about sexual orientation. And my baseball background is a good way to get people to relate to me.
Washington, D.C.: I am a gay man. I work in a corporate environment where almost everyone is straight. It is just not a big deal. People are respectful and polite; I've become friends with some people; we have domestic-partner benefits. We've never had any formal program or training. Do you think we're approaching the day when this kind of training is largely unneeded? I think if someone came in to do this training in my office the general reaction would be, well, duh, we get it.
Dave Pallone: I am pleased to hear that your company is as accepting as it is. Unfortunately, it is not like that everywhere. I believe that the day will come that it is a nonissue, but for now it is not.
Washington, D.C.: When should you come out during the hiring process? I want to be who I am, yet don't want to hit them over the head with it. Suggestions?
Dave Pallone: First you should look into the practices of the company you are interviewing with. See if they have domestic-partner benefits, as well as a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. If they do, then tell them right then and there if you wish.