Jenn T. Grace, the Professional Lesbian

I teach straight people how to market to gay people. If that's you, you are in the right place! I will help you get inside the mind of your potential LGBT customer.

Why don’t you have a picture of your wife on your desk?

who-no-picture-on-deskThis weeks LGBT Question from a Friend comes from a recent conversation my wife was having with a co-worker. In my circle of friends and colleagues I am the go-to person to ask any LGBT related questions and my web appears to be expanding into my wife’s education world as well. We started talking about a conversation she was having with a co-worker of hers last night and I thought this would be a great topic for my blog.


So my wife is a special education teacher for a public school system. Just recently while on her lunch break she was sharing our wedding photo album with a co-worker/friend of hers. A student came in with a question for her and as the student walked over, she closed the wedding album and addressed the students request. Another teacher within range said “What’s the big deal if they catch a glimpse of it? And why don’t you have a picture of your wife on your desk? You have one of the kids…”


Her response to said co-worker was “We aren’t there yet.” I am in 100% agreement with her on this one. She is completely out at work and does not hide it among her fellow teachers, administrators, etc. However, she feels there is a time and a place for everything and exposing her personal life to her students is not something she chooses to do. Sure, there are plenty of teachers who have pictures of their opposite sex husbands, wives, partners, on their desk. But that doesn’t mean she should do that as well. I think the important piece here is that she is out with her colleagues and can do so because she is in an open and accepting environment. There are many LGBT people that do not  have that privilege in their work places.


In my shared opinion with my wife, her personal life should be of no business to the students she teaches. Being an LGBT educator in many areas of this country can still be risky. She teaches at an elementary school level so inviting criticism or issues from parents who don’t want their children learning about LGBT people is not on her agenda. Sure, being out and proud is something we all must do in some form or another to keep the movement moving, but using children as a way to get that message out shouldn’t be a part of it.


A Confession

Lifetime Movies RockI’m going to make a confession here. I have a love for Lifetime Movies. In all of their sappy, overly dramatic, poorly acted out glory! I mention this because in 2000 there was a Lifetime movie called The Truth About Jane. (If for no other reason, please comment and let me know if you’ve seen it!) It’s a totally dramatic teenage coming out story. I bring this up because I remember vividly in the movie one of the teachers running into many problems. The student confided in this teacher and the student’s mother was unaccepting of her daughter coming out and presumed the teacher was ‘pushing her lifestyle’ upon her. While this is not a direct comparison to my wife in an elementary school setting these are things that teachers must consider.


TN RainbowIn early 2012, the state of Tennessee’s House Education subcommittee approved the “Don’t say gay” bill which aimed to stop the discussion of ‘homosexuality‘ in elementary and middle schools. Here is a quote from an article in USA Today“Opponents say it will not curb talk about homosexuality among grade school kids but will send the signal that it should be stigmatized. But several lawmakers argued that it would protect parents’ right to educate their children about their beliefs on their own terms.” As a parent myself I see the value of being able to educate my children on my terms. However, I think having a bill around this is totally over the top and unnecessary.


This happened in recent years and demonstrates how far we have to go for LGBT people to be accepted everywhere and for true LGBT equality. I think my wife is making the best decision for her which is not to discuss her personal life with her students.





Be SMART: 5 steps to measuring your progress (Part 6 of 6)

BeSMART-300x300Wow, we are finally at the conclusion of the 6 part series about Maximizing Your LGBT Outreach with a Solid Plan. I have enjoyed covering the 5 parts of creating an effective plan with you. From determining who you are marketing to, to figuring out how you are better than the competition to showing you where to start the actual outreach. Last week we talked about the foundation of relationship building and now we are going to talk about how to be SMART in measuring your progress. There’s no sense in having a plan if you aren’t going to measure and track it!


Throughout this series we’ve talked about planning, having a vision and a mission but now this is where the rubber meets the road. We need to make sure you have S.M.A.R.T. goals in place to maximize your success.
Your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Think of a sporting event like football. You have two teams with one common objective – to beat the other team. Each team has different people, different coaches, different strategies and a recipe for success to win. What they also have in common is that they are SMART about the end results they are looking for. If they weren’t smart and strategic, why would they even be on the field trying? It would be like playing the other team blindfolded. It’s the same thing in your business.


Are your goals designed blindfolded? Or do you have a clearly defined objective at hand? Maybe you have an end goal in mind and a clearly defined objective, but are they SMART?


An example

Let’s run through an example together. Let’s analyze how SMART this goal is.

“My goal is to increase registrations for my training course over the summer.”



Is this goal (S)pecific? Is ‘increase’ registrations, specific? Nope. Is ‘over the summer’ specific? It’s okay, but it could be better. The goal should read like this -

“My goal is to get 100 business owners to register for my training course from June-August.”



Is this goal (M)easurable? Yes, it’s absolutely measurable. The goal is 100 business owners. That is something that can be tracked and measured. If we went back to the orignal statement of “My goal is to increase registrations for my training course,” then it would not have been measurable. The word increase is relative.



Is this goal (A)ttainable? Only you will know the answer to this question. Are you shooting for the moon with absolutely no idea how you will get there? Make your goal attainable. You can always change your goal later and bump it up if you’ve hit your targets. I’m not suggesting that you don’t make your goals lofty. I am all about making a goal something you need to reach for, what fun would it be if they weren’t, right?



Is this goal (R)ealistic? Realistic in this case really means is this doable? Is this goal something you are capable of doing? Is the learning curve on this project straight up or is it a gradual incline you can handle? In the example above, the goal is to get 100 business owners to register for the training course. Would it be realistic if my goal were to get 1,000 people to register? Would this be something I could do. While it may be doable, it wouldn’t be a realistic goal. Would I be capable of serving the needs of 1,000 people at this very moment, probably not. Could I pull it off, yes, but would I want to, no. You need to be realistic with yourself and your clients.



Is this goal (T)imely? Do you have a time frame built around your goal? Having a time frame gives you a goal to strive towards. Without a time frame what’s the motivation for putting some pep in your step? What’s your built-in incentive? Without time limits there isn’t much urgency to get the job at hand done. In the example above, the goal has a specific time frame attached to it. I didn’t just say the summer, I specified June-August, so three specific summer months.



I would suggest running through this exercise with the goals that are related to your LGBT outreach plan. By the end of the exercise you will have SMART goals which will make it easier for you and your team to execute on.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this 6 part series and were able to implement and execute on what we talked about. I love to hear success stories so if this was of value to you and you are having success with it, let me know. I’d love to highlight it in an upcoming podcast.


For more information you can tune into the next free webinar and ask questions during the live Q&A.


Looking for the other parts of this series? Catch up on them here.




#33: Storytelling with Christin Mell [Podcast]



I am pleased to bring you a fun episode of the Gay Business & Marketing Made Easy podcast! Today we talk with Christin Mell, the co-founder and CEO of tello Films. We discuss her film making calling at an early age, what the coming out process looks like in her world and the incredible impact tello Films is having on the lives of many lesbians around the world.




To listen to this audio podcast please click the play button on the left above. Or subscribe to the free podcast in iTunes today!


Below are the items mentioned in this episode of the podcast.

Tello Films


Hastag Project Trailer


You can get in touch with Christin here -

Tello Films