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I’m One of the Lucky Ones

Aug 01st, 2011 07:05 PM By Ken

I’m a 49 year old, twice married man, who, after years of struggle, and self-denial, came out last year. The first person I told was my closest friend, a married woman, who is also a co-worker. She, of course, decided that I needed a “Coming Out” party and started inviting various friends and coworkers. At first, this made me a bit nervous. We do work with a few homophobic people. The truth is that everyone at work simply accepted this “new” me as me!

A funny little side story to this. When I get into a bad mood at work, my coworkers say that my “evil twin”, Ted, is in for the day. Just before our staff Christmas party last winter, I was mentioning to my friends at work that I wondered what would happen if I told management that I wanted to bring “Ted” with me as my date. Another of my coworkers, one of the ones that I thought was the most homophobic overheard us, and in a very indignant manner, said that management had no right to say anything and that I should bring whoever I wanted as my date. I was very pleasantly surprised by his tone and his total acceptance of me and my sexual identity!!

The Workplace “Cocoon”

Aug 01st, 2011 05:09 PM By Carol

I’ve read a lot of the stories on here, and it seems most of us have one thing in common: the workplace “cocoon”. I’m sure you’ll know what I’m taking about. Even if you work in an accepting environment, you still shield major parts of your personal life from your co-workers. You refuse to indulge personal information, regardless of acceptance. This defense mechanism shouldn’t have to happen, yet it does.

I haven’t been out very long (I came out as bi during a very drunk Christmas ‘09, and then as fully gay in March of this year), but I’m still hiding who I am to different people. I’m out to most of family and all my friends, but that’s it.

I’d just as soon hide that part of myself from my co-workers than divulge that information, mostly because it’s safer and easier. In this economy, you never know if an employer will cut labor (especially true here in GA), and I don’t think 3 months is enough time to trust your coworkers enough with that information. (I say 3 months because my last 2 jobs laid me off after that time.)

My last job was working in a factory. I had one co-worker out of several hundred that I trusted enough to come out to. I came out to her around the time I came out to my family. She was accepting and proud of me, like I knew she would be. But I still found myself talking in hushed tones to her about it, or pulling her away from other ears, or using gender neutral pronouns just out of habit.

Equality matters to me, but we’re a long way away from the acceptance we deserve. Until then, as a fail safe, I’d just as soon keep my mouth shut.

Why I Can’t Hate

Aug 01st, 2011 05:05 PM By Ariel

Hello, my name is Ariel, I am just about 19 and I live in a small town in Texas. I am Christian, and heterosexual and have gay friends, and it hurts me when I see the gay community under fire for the way they are.

To see them turned away from careers, unable to get married, not being able to adopt because they’re living in the world. I can relate to this pain in more ways than people can imagine, because along with being heterosexual, and Christian, I am also African American one of the few on my campus.

I go through days where I am looked at hatefully, and told hateful remarks. So I understand what hate based on uncontrollable circumstances feels like. That’s why I can’t hate anybody based on their sexual orientation, race or religion. That is why I give a damn.

Working at the Post Office

Aug 01st, 2011 04:04 PM By Guillaume

I’m a French gay guy and let just say that France is kind of a cool place to live when you’re gay! Even if government has not allowed gay marriage nor adoption yet, recent studies show that an important majority of French people is in favor! Mentalities change and people start to give a damn.

Well, this is not what I was aiming to talk about. :)

I’m a student and during summer break, I work at a “center of mail distribution of the Post” ( sorry, I don’t really know how you call it in the US) of some town near my home. I’ve worked there for two summers now and I’m starting to know everybody who work there and I’ve learned to really like some of my coworkers whom some of them became friends.

Even though I find it pleasant to work there, there’s only two colleagues of mine which are aware of my sexual orientation. I’m out to all of my college friends, to most of my family, but when it comes to workplace, it gets harder to just say “ok, I’m gay”. Indeed, workplace is where I’ve heard most of the sexually offensive “jokes” so far. “Come on, don’t be a fag”, or “this client’s just a queer” are two in many sentences I have to ear and endure everyday.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if I’m cool with my sexuality, I can’t help but fear to let slip a sentence like “I met someone this weekend, HE is…” I know I won’t be beaten up or anything, but I fear and I know that the look of most of my colleagues will change and I just don’t want that. Having to go to work everyday knowing that only two persons will talk to you and the rest will stare at you and give you the “don’t touch me AIDS carrier” look, is simply unbearable.

I know that I haven’t suffered any great discrimination but I wanted to share this story anyhow, just to prove that we need people to give a damn, it’s so important not to feel alone at work, it’s where you spend most of your day and it can’t be a place to be feared.

Thank you for reading my story and I hope my English wasn’t to confused :)

Total Waste?

Jul 01st, 2011 10:16 AM By DANIELLE

I was working for a major bank in Florida, and was constantly being harassed by my boss. When I finally told him I was a lesbian, he proceeded to call me a waste of space and fired me. We are in the middle of a lawsuit right now. Who I choose to love does NOT make me a waste.

My Equality

Jun 27th, 2011 04:05 PM By Olivia

My story starts in a small town in Mississippi. I was 1 of 2 openly gay youths in my high school. Open only at school, though, as my home life did not allow my sexuality. I was made to go to church 4 times a week in the hopes of saving my soul. I was sent to Christian counseling to “pray my gay away”. It didn’t work. I eventually ended up serving a 5 month sentence in the county jail for my lesbian relationship.

People wonder how something like that could happen in the year 2000, but many places in America are still living in the dark ages. And local law enforcement (especially on the county level) can do whatever they want to with no point of accountability. Now I have moved away and am a freedom-fighter with GetEQUAL. I am sick of being a second-class citizen but having to pay the same taxes as everyone else.

I’m sick of living in fear of being fired everyday because of my sexual orientation and having no protection. And I just want to settle down and marry the woman I love, have a kid and live a normal life. But I am denied that. I just want to live and am told everyday that I can’t. Well, It’s time to change that. It’s time for everyone else who is fed up to stand up, band together, and declare that we will no longer stand for this treatment. I’m an American and I demand to be treated as such. Who’s willing to stand up with me?

HAWAII BECOMES 13TH STATE TO BAN DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION

May 03rd, 2011 10:20 AM By

According to the Human Rights Campaign:

On Monday, Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law House Bill 546, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment and as a matter of public policy. The bill had received final legislative approval in mid-April.

Hawaii becomes the 13th state to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in employment, housing and public accommodations, marking one-quarter of U.S. states with such laws. More than 125 cities and counties also have such laws on the books.

Hawaii law has prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation since 1991. Hawaii also already prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in housing and public accommodations.

View a map of state employment nondiscrimination laws >>

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MISSISSIPPI CORRECTIONS OFFICER REINSTATED AFTER ALLEGEDLY BEING FIRED FOR BEING GAY

Mar 30th, 2011 03:36 PM By

According to HattiesburgAmerican.com:

bilde“The Forrest County Sheriff’s Department and the American Civil Liberties Union have settled out of court in a lawsuit filed by a former sheriff’s deputy who alleged he was fired because he was gay.

“As a result of the settlement, André Cooley will be reinstated as a deputy corrections officer. The department also will change its non-discrimination policy to explicitly forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Bear Atwood, legal director at the ACLU of Mississippi, said Cooley’s was the first case of its kind in the state – wherein an employee sued a public body for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“‘It’s not a legal precedent, but we’re hoping that employers in Mississippi will follow the lead,’ she said of the settlement reached Monday.

“She also said that Forrest County will have the first sheriff’s office in the state to include a sexual orientation clause in its non-discrimination policy.

“‘I’m very happy that the sheriff’s department has clarified in writing that they do not discriminate based on sexual orientation,’ Cooley said in an ACLU press release. ‘Everyone should be judged by their ability to do the job, not by their sexual orientation.’”

Read the full HattiesburgAmerican.com story >>

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HRC: “TELL CHICK-FIL-A THAT WORDS WITHOUT ACTION HAVE NO MEANING”

Feb 04th, 2011 02:55 PM By

The following is from our friends at the Human Rights Campaign:

imagesRecent news that a Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A branch provided food to the anti-gay Pennsylvania Family Institute has placed the fast-food chain in hot water. The privately held and family owned business donated food for a seminar entitled “The Art of Marriage: Getting to the Heart of God’s Design.” With this donation, the chain highlighted its Corporate Purpose “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.” Despite that sentiment, there has been an intensely negative response to the company’s association with the Pennsylvania organization.

Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy posted a video response on the company’s Facebook page. While in his message Cathy emphasizes that it is their mission to treat every customer with heartfelt hospitality, and provide a welcoming and comfortable environment, a video posted on Facebook is not the right way to communicate corporate policies. Does the company include sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy? Are there policies in place to examine whether to make donations to certain groups? The answer is: we don’t know. Why? Because Chick-fil-a does not participate in the Corporate Equality Index. HRC has sent a letter to the company encouraging them to participate in the CEI and to ensure that LGBT people are protected, not by words but by actual corporate policies.

As consumers, we all have the power to get our own message across with how we spend our dollars. It is with this thought in mind that we publish our Buying for Workplace Equality guide, as we hope to harness that purchasing power by providing you with the most accurate review of a business’s workplace policies toward LGBT employees. By supporting businesses that support workplace equality you send a powerful message that LGBT inclusion is good for the bottom line.

While the ultimate decision is up to you, you have the resources to decide: Would you rather get your lunch at Burger King, who first joined the CEI just two years ago, committing to transparency in their work towards equality and raised their rating to a 73 in this year’s report? Or at Cracker Barrel, whose work to improve its policies and practices affecting LGBT employees raised its CEI score 40 points in one year? Or, would you rather go to Chick-fil-A, who perpetuates a message that while you may be welcome to eat at their restaurant, you are not welcome to enjoy equal rights?

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The Job Atmosphere At Work

Jan 31st, 2011 03:06 PM By Robert

I am a 44 year old gay man that recently outed myself after a lifetime of hiding who and what I am. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I realize now that a major portion of my depression I suffered was from hiding that I am gay. At work some of the co-workers found out that I am gay from an online social network site as we are friends there. It turns out someone from another store starting calling the other stores within the same company and were asking about me.

Now the people I am pretty sure that know are not even looking at me and or are walking around me as to not walk by me to get to their destination within my store. Some of them who see me out in public when shopping look down when going by me and ignore me. I believe it is all for me being gay.

I Give a Damn that all LGBT individuals be treated as any other persons be treated with respect, kindness, caring and compassion as we are all the same “”"Human Beings”"”

Robert

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