In October we learned about the effort from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, the organization for those cured of The Gay, to get Disney to ban discrimination against ex-gays, the semi-legally protected sexual orientation class. It didn’t go so well.
A shareholder meeting this week saw the proposal get shot down, which Disney’s board recommended, and because there weren’t enough votes to reach a 3 percent threshold the matter cannot be brought up again for another four years.
The idea of “ex-gays” as a sexual orientation is a little bit silly for a few reasons. First, it suggests that sexual orientation can be changed, which is a farce. Second, if somebody was gay, but is now straight, that person is in theory a heterosexual, and would fall under any existing sexual orientation protections, because one’s sexuality cannot be a reason for termination.
But PFOX, a ragtag merry band of library enthusiasts, wanted specific protections for any employees identifying as ex-gay. Because without them, theoretically, Mickey Mouse could fire you for switching from gay to straight. And while that scenario is pretty much impossible if the world’s leading psychologists are to be believed, who are we to say what sexuality a Disney employee gets to identify as?
In a blog post, the Human Rights Campaign calls the shareholder vote a “victory.” Which is a little funny, because isn’t the Human Rights Campaign in favor of prohibiting all types of discrimination?
Us? We support banning workplace discrimination based on any sexuality. And that includes someone who believes he is ex-gay. We don’t want anyone forcing us to fit into the boxes they created, and we refuse to do the same to anyone else. If ex-gays want to be protected, great! We’ll support it! We don’t really believe anyone can ditch homosexuality, but if deep down you think you did, you shouldn’t be targeted in the workplace for identifying as a former ‘mo. Even if PFOX is a laughable institution, there are people out there who believe they are ex-gay, and they should not suffer the torment of workplace harassment for the same reasons gays, bisexuals, and transgender employees should not: because it isn’t right.
Our initial criticism of PFOX’s Disney strategy had nothing to do with keeping ex-gays protected, but with the organization’s obvious double standards about sexuality protections; PFOX is the same organization that lobbied against the Matthew Shepard Act, showing it only sometimes supports discrimination protection based on sexuality.
And now, it appears, so does HRC.