Who Invited You?
Working with the public can be trying at the best of times. I like to think that I have it easy compared to some as my organization is very relaxed and open minded about lifestyles and dress codes and what not. No one at my work place has ever cared that I am gay, Monster Squad volunteers here and everyone knows who he is. I have never had to deal with the "Is he? Isn't he?" rigamorale. To be honest my mannerisms don't hide it well and so therefore I have come to terms with the fact that the easiest way to handle things is just to be forward and honest and tell the truth.
My colleagues and supervisors all seem to be very fine with this.
However, it is the public who is less than kind about these things.
I am verbally attacked on a frequent basis for my sexual orientation.
This bothers me greatly.
It bothers me for it is something that I have no control over. It has bothered me since grade 6 when all of a sudden I was branded a fag. I hate that there is this lack of control over my perceived identity. And that is part of what I hate the most is that it is all about perception.
I am writing this as I was verbally assaulted at work for trying to do my job. I was informing a patron of why should could not monopolize our 15 minute express computers (they are for 15 minutes only, that is why they log off every 15 minutes) and she told me "I don't care you fucking gay". Well . . . being fairly used to this negative treatment from grade 6 onwards I was not that shocked, I told her she was banned the rest of the day for being homophobic and she yelled at me some more. But at least she left the building when I told her she had to.
Managment has actually banned her for 2 months which I was surprised by, but I guess if they did not do something then I could go to the union and they would get into even more trouble. So I would like to believe that management did what they did because they care about their workers and work environment, but I am not that naive.
So lets examine this in closer detail shall we?
The woman did not want to be told to relegate her computer to policy, she just wanted to sit there all day being logged off every 15 minutes so she could facebook, twitter, whatever. She did not care that other people were waiting for computers and she really did not want the staff to tell her to get off the computer.
The most bothersome element of this that I find is that she immediatly went for the jugular. She did not pitch some random hatred, but very clearly went for something that is considered offensive wether you are gay or not. As far as I am aware gay men don't like be treated negativley for being gay, and straight men (for the most part, I am sure there are many straight men who would not care at all) don't like being called a homo cause - well they are not homo's. I personally did not attack her weight, her hair, her skin colour, her awful nails, and any other tangible element of her. Why? Oh because I have manners - that is why.
So why is it that so many hateful people take something that is none of their business and make it there business? Or why is the attack taken to a personal level? I did not randomly just start talking to this lady and tell her policy for no reason, no I told her because she was violating policy. So instead of accepting her shortcomings and just getting off the fucking computer - she has to treat me like a second class citizen. Why?
I guess that is what i don't get about all of this is why it is acceptable to put down gay people,but if I were to attack her in retaliation and say something about her being black, that would make me a horribel racist. Now lets forget any she started it nonsense and focus on the fact that she did start it. I kept a level of professionalism that she negated.
All of this still makes me feel like shit.
I hate being attacked for assumptions as to who I may be.
I hate that constructs state that because I appear and act a certain way dictates that I must be a certain way. But I also hate that somehow name calling toward gay people is still considered acceptable by mainstream society. Or at least it seems to be.
And in the end it seems to me that even though she may be banned for a period, that somehow she will not stop being hateful, in fact I am sure that the banning will be my fault for expecting to be treated equally.
Fuck - sometimes the world just can suck.