Some closet queen in Texas wrote to popular advice column Dear Abby — we’re more Ann Landers kinda gals, but to each her own — about a pushy co-worker who can’t take ‘mo for an answer. Adding fuel to her burning desire, the entire office has gotten on board, leaving poor Can’t Come Out in Texas with a moral dilemma on his hands — to beard or not to beard:
Dear Abby: I am a 29-year-old gay man. Coming out at work isn’t an option. I like my job and want to keep it. However, a female colleague is not only trying to persuade me that the two of us would make a good pair, she has gotten all of our co-workers involved. I have already told everyone, including her, that I’m not interested in mixing my personal life with my professional one. However, because of my unwillingness to do what they “recommend,” the pressure from everyone has gotten worse. Would it be unethical to hire a “girlfriend” to stop by the office next week to bring me my lunch? Maybe my co-workers will finally back off.
— Can’t Come Out in Texas
Abby, however, is not pulling any punches and she knows sexual harassment when she hears it:
Dear Can’t Come Out: You have described a classic example of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. Your co-workers and supervisor may consider themselves to be “Cupid’s helpers,” but their actions could be the basis for a lawsuit. That you are gay has nothing to do with it. If you were straight, what is being done to you would still be intolerable. Document everything. Go to your supervisor’s boss if necessary and state plainly that you need help to stop this.
And this is why we need the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. Here those co-workers are wasting their precious slacking-off time trying to set up Can’t Come Out in Texas with a woman when they should be trying to get him together with eligible bachelor Can’t Get a Date in New York. No one’s going to be crying sexual harassment at that wedding — or, since this is Texas we’re talking about, that same-sex commitment ceremony the government won’t recognize.