Ugh, just when I thought things were getting better at work (now that I’m in a different office and a lot of the trash has been taken out) we’ve taken another step back and this is stressing me out.
First things first, I’ll make it very clear I do not hide my sexual orientation from anyone. It is what I am. I’m not currently in a relationship but my sexual orientation is what it is. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember and I don’t ever remember waking up and just randomly deciding I was bisexual. No, I’ve been attracted to both sexes from the time I was a kid. I’ve had both boyfriends and girlfriends over the years. It is what it is.
Anyway, I digress. I’ve not hidden my sexuality from anyone at this company and yes, I have dealt with a certain amount of homophobia the entire 2 years and 1 month I’ve been here. Unfortunately, the employees who really took up for me and acted as a buffer between the homophobic comments and myself are no longer here and thus I’m now left on my own.
It really does suck too – not surprisingly in the crane business (and any other heavy machinery business) the majority of people are conservative, Bible-thumping, chauvinistic, homophobic, hyper-masculine rednecks. I’ve come to expect that. On the other side of the coin, I expect to be treated with dignity and respect, and especially in the professional workplace.
So in the past couple of weeks I’ve had a couple of incidents of homophobic comments hurled my way. The first was one of them complaining about “fags” and how he hated us and blah-blah-blah. I bit my tongue for as long as I could but I hit my boiling point, went into full autistic meltdown rage mode and confronted the sorry bastard. After a few profanity-laden outbursts I asked him if he used the n-word among other similar types of slurs. Of course he said no, so why does that make it OK to call me (and every other LGBTQ+ person) a “fag?” Anyway, he didn’t back off so I figured I’d report it to HR who said they would intervene.
Fastfoward a couple of weeks later to this weekend. I’m knee-deep watching IndyCar and not giving a fuck about football (say what you will – I really don’t). Another one of my coworkers called me up on a weekend on my work phone to ask if I was watching the game. Like WTF is that shit? I of course told him no and that I didn’t really care about football. What did he call me? You guessed it – a “fag.” I responded with “yeah, that’s what I am, got a problem with it” and then unloaded on him and hung up. I won’t stand for that.
Anyway, after all this was done and complaints were filed I don’t know what’s going to come of it. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not federally protected classes and Texas does not protect us either. If my boss wanted to he could fire me solely on account of my sexual orientation and I would have no legal recourse. It’s actually kind of a scary thought. I didn’t know this until recently but the CEO has a gay brother so I imagine at least he is sympathetic but I don’t know about those who are immediately over me. I guess we shall see what comes of the subsequent investigation.
Until then, I guess I’ll just keep doing what I do and hope for the best possible outcome. I don’t necessarily want to get anyone fired, I just care to be treated well. That’s all.