With the exception of a few trolls, it’s safe to say readers of this website are big supporters of equality in the workplace, and anti-discrimination laws that keep us safer on the job. Like a federal ENDA! But while various cities and counties and states have created a hodgepodge of protected regions for queers, there are still plenty of us who live in places where we can still be fired for being gay, bi, or trans. That sucks. But here’s another sucky reality: There are plenty of us who have no jobs, who are struggling to feed and support ourselves and our families, whose life savings have plummeted, whose hopes of retiring soon have vanished, and who would trade in their MBA for a Starbucks gig if it meant a paycheck. And for that group of us who want a job, any job in this economy, how much dignity are we willing to trade for a job?
Worrying about getting fired for being LGBT is one thing, but what about willingly taking a gig in an environment that’s homophobic? Careers where dealing with the “fag” jokes are everywhere; so too are careers where a good old boys club rules upper management, while gay men and women are relegated to the lower rungs. Forever. And transgender job hopefuls, whether out or unable to “pass,” face their own set tyranny from co-workers and bosses. Whether you work on the sales floor of a retail store, on a shipyard, in an art gallery, a tech start-up, or on the executive suite of a Fortune 500 company, there’s always some anti-LGBT bullshit to deal with.
So while it’s great to hear about the gay-oriented job fair Out to Work, and how it teams potential employees with queer-friendly employers, those opportunities — where you’re all but promised a discrimination-free job environment — aren’t there for everyone.
And yet, we still need jobs. We still need to survive. So, let’s discuss: Would you take a job that you knew would entail some level of discrimination against LGBTs? Is there a “tolerable amount” you could endure (i.e. a co-worker saying “that’s so gay” is fine, but not picking your own bathroom is not)? If the pay is good and there are great health benefits, does that influence your decision? Have you picked a job you knew would be intolerant to you? Are you in one now? Have you refused a job because you knew it would be unbearable? Tell us about your living situation (married? single? supporting kids?), the factors that go into a decision like this (need to pay off student loans? move out on your own? have health care?), and how much anti-LGBT crap is too much (some? any?).
Let’s share. And, though we urge you to use caution in identifying the company you work for (retaliation is a bitch), if you’re so willing, go ahead and name your employer (or one you turned down) … but you might want to make yourself anonymous with a different username. And don’t post anything libelous, because companies have a tendency to subpoena websites like this one for IP addresses when they don’t like what’s being said.
(Cartoons via Slap Upside The Head)