Yale School of Management

Using Comedy to Foster a Community of LGBTQ Allies

At “Straight But Not Narrow,” the annual comedy show put on by Out Of Office, SOM’s LGBTQ Club, students presented skits that encouraged the audience to consider how assumptions about gender and sexuality can negatively impact the workplace. The goal was to increase understanding of the issues the LGBTQ community faces, and to foster a community of allies.

“Straight But Not Narrow” is “much more than just a skit” show, said Katy Mixter ’17, who played a character on a hiring panel who judged employees based on stereotypes. “It’s sensitivity training.”

The skits focused on gender and sexual identity in a variety of scenarios, including one featuring a job recruiter at a networking night and one in which a committee reviews a new potential hire. Another skit flipped the traditional narrative by having heterosexual couples face a barrage of questions about their identities—the same questions that gay and lesbian students said they frequently find themselves answering.

In dramatizing some of the situations that students have encountered in their careers before coming to Yale SOM, the skits were intended to help cultivate allies for gender and sexual diversity across the business community, particularly in workplaces in which LGBTQ-friendly policies may not yet exist, said Ethan Geiling ’16.

“To build a workplace where LGBTQ people feel more than just tolerated, but accepted, takes more than just nondiscrimination laws,” said Geiling, one of the club’s leaders. “It takes changing attitudes and behaviors. That’s what this event is about: empowering allies to lead the change we need to see. Be the person who speaks up.”

About the Event

Out Of Office is hosting its annual skit show that aims to bring to light issues that LGBTQ people face in the workplace. Written, directed, and starring all SOM students.