Turning pain into pride, GM becomes more inclusive
Mid-Michigan native saw a need for change, and made it happen
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - After experiencing homophobia at General Motors, Mid-Michigan native Kyle Taylor took matters into his own hands. Now, he works to create a culture of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community at GM. He started on assembly, and now he’s going global.
“He’s infectious, to the whole team,” said Beatrice Sanford, Taylor’s co-worker at the Lansing Grand River Assembly.
His work with inclusion has been so effective in Lansing, that he was just elected to serve on GM’s LGBTQ+ Global Board.
“The amount of people that approached me with their own personal stories was the most rewarding part,” Taylor said. “They had never been able to share that at work before.”
He said the manufacturing world and the LGBTQ+ community aren’t always viewed as connected.
“A lot of my friends that are a part of the LGBTQ community were concerned and kind of skeptical for me to come here, in that it wasn’t a friendly environment,” said Taylor.
Taylor was outed at work and stereotyped as “too feminine” to work on the assembly line.
“Trying to prove that wrong was always something I faced once I was out,” said Taylor.
That was Taylor’s wake-up call that something needed to change. Since working on the assembly line, he’s guided the staff to a much safer space.
“24 years ago it was quite different when I walked into the manufacturing plant floor, and we’ve changed tremendously for the better,” said Sanford.
Taylor has given staff training, and started a group to make GM an LGBTQ+ safe space.
“That was actually the first GM plus chapter to ever be at a manufacturing site,” said Taylor.
Making history, by making positive changes. Sanford said she isn’t a part of the LGBTQ+ community, but she said she relates to Taylor’s struggles as a Black woman.
“He’s given us the courage to be our authentic selves,” said Sanford.
Sanford recalled that Taylor’s efforts gave her the courage to correct co-workers that had been mispronouncing her name for years. Taylor said his new role will help him help even more people.
Taylor is working with GM to bring more LGBTQ+ training to the workplace, among many other inclusivity efforts. He hopes his story will give others the bravery to be themselves, and the courage to be a voice for the voiceless.
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