Fire Chief Recalls Pride March

San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarman, who ordered Firemen to participate in the Pride Parade, said she understood how people could find the event offensive. The trial, where 4 firefighters are suing the city for being harassed during the gay pride parade, began Monday and is expected to last two weeks. Apparently, the men were so shaken from the parade they “requested critical-incident stress debriefing, or the same type of emergency counseling offered to firefighters dealing with on-the-job casualties.” This must have been one wild parade. (Previous stories from us on this here and here)

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  • ajax

    Having been born in the Jurassic period (unlike many of you) I recall a time when it was de rigeur for firefighters and police to call me faggot. Where’s my critical-incident-stress-debriefing? WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    When did firefighters become such delicate blossoms? They need some good strong homos fighting fires in San Diego.

  • Woof

    I have to deal with Straight harrassment every day in my job. Maybe I need to sue.

  • Joe Brummer

    let me get this correctly. A bunch of men who run into burning buildings, risk their lives working near things that could explode and kill them are traumatized by dancing naked men? Bullsh**

  • shivadog

    I don’t think it was right to send these people to the parade if they objected to it, but what a bunch of wussies. I hope these morons don’t get a cent.

  • Jack Scribe

    I agree with SHIVADOG. These misguided civil servants are trying to get a big payout…just another suck job on the government teet. And San Diego is financially wobbly.

  • kevwyn

    so would going into a burning drag club send them straight to the padded cell? all those burning wigs and false eyelashes adding fuel to the inferno from gay hell………….what a bunch of golddigging whores.and im sure they objected and were forced to go, a days pay to sit in an airconditioned truck and drive, how rough

  • tallskin

    Can;t the Pride organisers counter-sue on the grounds of blatent homophobia being expressed from these arsewipes?

  • Gargoyle

    Isn’t gay pride an oxymoron?

  • Sean S.

    While civil servants do have a right to avoid undue harassment from the public, to varying degrees depending on their job, and certainly if an agency makes it UNSAFE to work in an environment (due to lax policy or procedure) than certainly a public employee has a right to sue. It’s this kind of logic that allows those working in high risk civil jobs to sue for improvement of work conditions or funding to get necessary training or equipment.

    Its hard to imagine how this could possibly be the case in this situation. Firefighters, alongside police, are routinely put not only in harms way, but in situations of protecting or monitoring those whom they may find morally offensive or repugnant. Police whom protect Nazi protest rallies, fire marshals whom regulate or monitor events they disagree with, etc. It kind of goes with the job description. The idea that an employee in such a position can “opt out” is ridiculous, unless there is a significant reason why they could not attend or there is a good reason that the forced attendance of a specific civil servant may result in more problems than its worth.

  • Puddy Katz

    I disagree Sean. They can be assigned to perform essential functions even if it offends them, so police must protect Nazi protesters and firemen must put out fires in gay bars.
    This is not an essential function and I am guessing the court will rule with me. Jobs have specific descriptions, they do not have to have a “strong reason” to opt out, only that it is not a real function of the job. Would you want to be assigned tasks or told to do non-essential work, or even work not in your job description, because your boss held certain political or social opinions, even ones you disagreed with? Civil servants have job protections and rights too. They don’t give them all up by joining the civil service.
    It is also a violation of their freedom of expression and assembly since they (and we too) should not be forced to express and opinion that we don’t believe it, again especially as a condition of employment. Protecting their rights protects ours, I wouldn’t want to be forced to attend an ex-gay rally by my boss when it is not part of my job to do so.
    I am amazed that people don’t want to extend to others the rights that we want or have for ourselves or see that denying rights to those with whom we disagree will, in the end, destroy our rights.
    As to Woof: Yes, you should sue if you are harassed at work. That might bring about a solution to your problem. Forcing firemen to attend a gay pride march will not end the harassment at your job and will not solve the problem in your work situation. Take appropriate steps, not ones unrelated to the problem.

  • Anonymous

    Does the San Diego fire deparment routinely participate in other parades (St. Paddy’s Day, Latino, etc)? If so, then this is just another community event they should go to. If not, then they MIGHT have a case.

  • Sean S.

    “Civil servants have job protections and rights too. They don’t give them all up by joining the civil service.”

    I know. I am one. And I deal with groups (especially religious groups) that I do not agree with/want to talk to everyday, but guess what? I do it because it’s my job as a social worker, whose clients come from a variety of ethnic/religious/group backgrounds to deal with these groups. I don’t see how fire fighters, working in a community outreach role, can opt out of this.

    “It is also a violation of their freedom of expression and assembly since they (and we too) should not be forced to express and opinion that we don’t believe it, again especially as a condition of employment.”

    Civil servants espouse and uphold tons of legal decisions that they personally may not agree with, and no one’s suggesting that said employee doesn’t have the right to openly and vehemently disagree with brass about an issue, or with larger policies and political issues. But you can’t pick and choose which laws and policies to enforce on personal whim, and that extends to community outreach to groups that you may disagree with or not especially like. It is perfectly acceptable for civil servants to be ordered either to speak with, speak to, or interact with citizens in their jurisdictions for pure promotional purposes, even if they don’t like said group.

    If these guys win, whats essentially being said is that a civil servant can opt out of speaking with any group or community of taxpayers he/she does not like. That agency promotion or recognition be purely limited to volunteers. And, in the end, the public face of an agency will be diminished as public outreach and promotion is scaled back. And thats bad.

  • ted

    I live in San Diego, and I was at that parade. It was pretty tame, nothing at all like the pride parades in New York or San Francisco. My guess is that these firemen went to the stress-debriefing because their lawyers told them it made them look better for the subsequent trial. I’d love to hear what the counselors heard from these guys. Gay panic is not a defense for refusing to do your job. This is not about sexual harassment; it’s about justifying their bigotry.

  • Puddy Katz

    Sean, Bullshit. The role of a social worker and the role of a fireman are different. Yes, you do have to speak with lots of people you may not agree with, that’s what social workers do, or at least it can be argued that is basic to their jobs. It is the case with firefighters.
    Secondly, opting out of a parade for firemen, does not entail that all civil servants do not have to “speak” with all people.
    The case will be decided in their favor and distinctions, good ones but fine ones, will be made.
    Thank god you are not interpreting the laws.

  • Sean S.

    “Secondly, opting out of a parade for firemen, does not entail that all civil servants do not have to “speak” with all people.”

    It constructs a very slippery slope where civil servants can opt out of public events where the agency or department has a significant interest in attending in order to further the agency’s mission, recognition, or cooperation with citizens.

    Public agencies have a significant and legitimate interest in interacting with a wide variety of public groups, from neighborhood associations, churches, private groups, and yes, even gay pride events, in order to build goodwill with the people they serve.

    A float in a pride parade is not some gestapo like tactic to strip firemen of their right to free speech; its an attempt by an agency to build goodwill with a constituent group that it serves. Theres no “freedom of assembly” or “free speech” issue at stake, since no one here has suggested that the fireman have somehow been banned from speaking their minds on their like or dislike of gay people. There is no issue at stake that the firemen can attend any anti-gay, or anything else they want, on their own time.

    What is at stake, however, is whether a government agency can make its employees attend promotional functions for said agency. To me its a no brainer; if you work at a public agency, you should be okay going out and doing community outreach for said agency if its requested of you, regardless of whichever demographic group you are speaking to.

  • Sean S.

    Let it be pointed out whom is behind this legal action; none other than the Thomas More Legal Center, the same group of conservative wingnuts that advocate for funding of private religious schools, supports the teaching of creationism, and believes its “improper” for public agencies to interact with or be tolerant towards any non-Christian group. So its clear that they have no interest in the “Free speech” issue, except when its convenient for them, and seek the promotion of “Godly” values.

  • Puddy Katz

    I repeat, the courts will run that this is not an essential, or core, or even important, part of their job (community outreach) and that their freedom of expression and assembly trumps any public interest therefore.
    This is the “no brainer”.
    And, Sean, the funding for the lawsuit, is unimportant as far as determining what the law is.
    What are they teaching in social work school?

  • Sean S.

    “What are they teaching in social work school?”

    That its unethical to discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, etc. In fact, its so important that its mentioned not just in the NASW’s (National Association of Social Workers) Code of Ethics, but its enforceable by our respective state licensing boards.

    The idea that some public servants can lose their license, and their ability to practice, over snubbing a member of the public, and another can not only snub, but then possibly win compensation for having to deign to deal with said person, is absolutely fucking ridiculous.

Comments are closed.