Several years ago, I worked for a chain restaurant in Dayton, Ohio. I was an excellent short order cook, even to the point to where I traveled and helped train employees in other stores so they would be prepared for their openings. I kept applying for a position that was like a customer service supervisor and the job kept going to others who were not as well qualified as I.
Finally I was told that they would never hire me for that position because I would be supervising employees under 18 and they did not feel that it would be appropriate for a gay man to supervise those employees under 18. The last straw was when they hired a known alcoholic for the position over me and I gave my two week notice. guess what though – they made there bed and they had to lay in it – the next day that alcoholic that they hired was too hungover to come in. I laughed at my boss and walked out the door with a big smile on my face!
The first time I learned what “gay” was, I was working with a very good friend who used to pick me up from my apartment in NY, and we’d walk to work together. We went out dancing almost every night after work. We worked in the same office space so we had become very close.
Back then, being gay wasn’t out in the open. It was in the very early 70s. Everyone kept telling me that my friend was gay, and making ignorant jokes about it/him. They questioned whether or not he had asked me on a date. Everyone seemed so primitive to me. I asked my friend what being gay was about, how he became gay, etc. – just trying to get educated and informed. Once being gay became open soon after, my friend acted totally different. He was more free and certainly more happy, not having to hide whom he was. We, of course, continued our close friendship for years and years until we lost touch when I left NY.
What I remember most about this situation was how ignorant and cruel people were, and the lack of accepting people for who they were.
It should NEVER matter what sexual orientation someone is! That does not dictate the kind of human being they are. Everyone has to be born SOME way…be it black, yellow, red, gay, bi… That should never make a difference. When do we finally shed this hate because someone is not like you?
Perhaps one day people will change.. I am personally in great hopes of that!
Warm regards to all – whatever your orientation may be!
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- Learn more about Workplace Discrimination
I’ve already shared some of my story on getting mistreated as a kid, now I’d like to share my workplace story. Kids are not the only bullies, often ‘’so called” adults are bullies as well. I worked at the same job for ten years, from 1998-2008.
When I first started I loved it, but about a month after I was hired, they hired Brian. He was an immature, rude person who thought he was cool and funny (you know the type). It would take forever to tell everything that he did to me, but I’ll name a few things. He put his hands down my pants, called me sissy and other derogatory names, and also put ex-lax in my soda. These are just some of the things he did.
Every time I complained, nothing happened. About the fifth year I was there, they hired a new dishwasher named Charlie. One day after finding out I was gay, Charlie begged me to go to his church. When I kindly said no thank you, he followed me around all day and asked people where I lived. He said that he was going to show up at my apartment and ”take me” to church. I told him if he came to my place I would call the cops.
Mike was a great guy. When I was growing up, we had the greatest time. He was the older brother I never had. I never knew that he was gay until one night he was at my house, babysitting, and he told me that he wanted me to know a secret. I sat down beside him and he whispered three words, “I am gay.” He leaned back, wondering what I would do. I threw my arms around him and said, “I don’t care, I love you anyway.”
Fast forward ten years, Mike had a job working as an X-Ray tech, til he got sick. We never knew the AIDS had spread that quickly. When his job found out, they kicked him out, and treated him like he was an enemy. Mike died about 7 years ago. I still miss him, still love him, and still will never forget how he was treated. RIP Mike
I’ve been in Dallas for over 10 years and growing up in such a conservative area has been really hard for me. No harder than dealing with very conservative, Republicans in the work place. Because we’re in Texas they assume that everyone is a Republican and doesn’t mind their slander being thrown about in meetings or casual conversation. Any attempt I’ve made to stop this only makes it worse. After standing up to someone who was spreading hate, I was told that that person was “informing” coworkers that my sister and I were incestuous lesbians. I give a damn because I don’t want my children to have to hide who they are in the workplace, school, or at home. I give a damn because I don’t want me children to suffer.
A very, very, very close member of my family is gay. Sounds like it’s not much of a problem. However, this person was married and had two kids, has two very successful careers in very, very public places. These places are unfortunately very close-minded. Please excuse my vagueness, but this person has no intent to come out of the closet for a long time. It makes me sad that a person must live his/her life in silence and closed doors. This is why I have become an ambassador and leader for diversity in my community and continue to push towards a better world for this person. This is why I give a damn, for them.
My husband and partner is a former U.S. Marine. We have been together for 13 years and legally married for 2 years. He was thrown out of the Marines for being gay (before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue). It affected him deeply.
I also have quite a few gay friends that are actively and formerly Marines. I have two friends in particular that have both retired from the Marine Corps and are now at their old Marine Corps jobs as civilians. These two in particular I am very concerned about.
The first has a partner who is a California Highway Patrolman and has been with for years. During a brief time in California gay men were allowed to get legally married, at which time I married my partner of 13 years. My active duty Marine friend was not able to marry his CHP partner because he was still active duty. Since then Prop 8 killed off the chance same sex marriage in CA and since then, my Marine friend retired. He regrets not having the same chance I got.
My other Marine friend too has a partner who he has been with for years. He has retired and too is working as a civilian at the same job he had before in the Marine Corps. He on the other hand is still so frightened of being outed that he constantly lies about having girlfriends to fellow workers and has no close work friends because they may find out he is gay. It is so sad to me that he still feels he has to hide who he is to everyone but a few.
I think it is so harmful to a person to be ashamed of who they are that it must become legal to openly gay in all branches of the US Military!
That is why I GIVE A DAMN!
Every morning when I get up, I do what most people do: go to the bathroom to start my day. And in that process, at some point or another, I find myself looking the mirror. I’m proud to be a straight woman, but I have many friends who don’t have that luxury. They are forced to hide who they are, and look into the mirror every day wondering when they can be the person who they want to be, the person that they can be proud of. There isn’t a single person who deserves to have to go through that, to have to walk the streets going unnoticed, ashamed of who they are.
I’m an actress, and the biggest part of that is to be someone completely different from who I am, and that’s not an easy task by any means. However, there are far too many people who are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who are forced to be someone else every hour of every day. Just imagining it, I’m exhausted. They do this out of fear of losing their job, friends, being beaten, humiliated, and shunned. I do it out of passion for preforming and because I love it. They don’t have a choice. I don’t want to live in a world where this is acceptable. They should’ve have to.
I give a damn. You should too.
Every job I’ve had in my past there was homophobia in it. In fact, from the time I had my first job at the age of 14, the only jobs that I felt safe in were the last two and my current one. Because homophobia has become a major concern with other forms of discrimination here in Canada, too many people are finding it difficult to be out of the closet at work.
Fortunately, the job I have now in one of Canada’s top 5 banks, TD Canada Trust, has a code of conduct in place. It is what determines one’s safety and protection. It covers everything from race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. We have a diverse group of people where I work. Everybody there now knows that I’m gay. A lot of people accept it which is great. What I have come to realize is that you could be working in the organization for 25 years and I could walk in the door with only 25 days of experience with the same company and if you…the 25 year old experienced person said anything against the code of conduct and I take it to human resources, you might as well kiss your 25 year career goodbye.
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