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Not everyone is pleased with General Motors’ support for Pride

Friday, June 22, 2012

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — LGBT employees and allies at the General Motors truck assembly plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., celebrated this year’s Pride with a rainbow flag raised at the factory on Sunday.

The plant’s manager approved flying the pride flag at the request of an employee group representing LGBT workers, the company said.

GM pride on display at Detroit headquarters.

But not everyone however was pleased by the company’s show of support for its LGBT employees.

In a column published in the local newspaper, the News Sentinel, columnist Kevin Leininger criticized the GM plant manager’s decision in a column headlined, “Is GM ‘Gay Motors’ now?”

“Whether that represents a gesture of tolerance and respect or a slap in the face to traditionally minded employees is a matter of considerable debate,” he wrote.

A few of the plant’s other employees also complained, garnering the attention of the United Auto Workers union, which represents the factory’s workers.

“The UAW opposes all discrimination and believes there is a definite connection between civil, human and workers’ rights,” the union said in a statement supporting the display of the flag.

Company spokeswoman Stephanie Jentgen said the GM plant is keeping the flag up until Saturday evening, when it will come down on schedule. She added that the pride flag went up as part of a plan by the factory to fly flags representing different company groups for a week each.

“GM is a really diverse company and we’ve always been supportive of all our employees,” Jentgen said, noting that the plant has received supportive feedback as well as criticism. “We have this stereotype of being backwards here. But the dialog has been very constructive. It’s been very heartening, even talking to the folks who don’t agree.”

GM has been reaching out to the LGBT community during Pride month in several notable shows of its support.

Earlier this month, GM transformed the LED-display atop its Detroit headquarters into a rainbow (pictured) in honor of the city’s annual gay pride celebration.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. if CORP’s can donate to anyone why cannot a corp support a minority? equal rights!!

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:23pm
  2. nice like that

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:23pm
  3. Well, they need to accept things as they are…can’t change it. GM isn’t here to make everyone happy! ;-)

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:24pm
  4. Glad to see the union is supporting this.

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:30pm
  5. So a company isn’t allowed to show their support of equality? People really to grow up and get the hell over it.

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:31pm
  6. Thank YOU, GM! ANYONE whom is homophobic has Personal problems. I will NOT “get mad” or “get revenge”; this merely empowers their HATE. I WILL live MORE openly, and enjoy MY existence!

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:44pm
  7. Ya know, i’ll take my SUPPORT where I can get it!!! Thanks GM!!

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:46pm
  8. yea thanks gm yo

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:47pm
  9. (ignorant straight guy here): when did they add “Q”, and why…?

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 5:52pm
  10. Bravo GM, would have loved to have seen this during the time I lived in Detroit.

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 6:03pm
  11. Well I support LGBT 100 %

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 6:11pm
  12. You can’t please everyone and the ones who don’t like it – tuff stuff.

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 6:21pm
  13. Fort Wayne is a bastion of the very conservative Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 6:31pm
  14. Good job GM and the Union. Screw the people against it. F**king idiots.

    Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 7:23pm
  15. One should not worry about the “everyones” in their life, only the “one”, themselves!! GM is just expressing what is right, simply put! : )

    Posted on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 7:15am
  16. @Christopher: FYI…the “Q” stands for “questioning” not “queer” and it was officially added to the LGBT acronym back in 1996. Other initials have been officially added since then, but LGBT is still most commonly used. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lgbtq

    Posted on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 2:54pm