by YOUR HEAD FAG IN CHARGE
Like many twenty-somethings, I work a dull desk job with a seemingly never ending supply of annoying tasks. To unwind from the daily grind, I like to read various bits of news and useless information. Anyone who’s worked a dead end office job knows distraction is key. And unless you were fortunate enough to work in a more casual setting, you also know that your evil employers will block you from accessing certain websites. Most of the time this is reasonable. You can understand why they wouldn’t want you on Facebook all day or looking up porn. But imagine my shock when I tried to read a psychology article and was told the website was blocked for “gay or lesbian or bisexual interests.” Yes, you read that right, and no, you didn’t accidentally fall into a time machine to go back to 1958.
I’m not sure what’s more offensive – that my employers block “gay or lesbian or bisexual” interests or that such a category even exists within their protection software. Could you imagine a website being blocked because of “heterosexual interests”? No, of course not, because such a thing would never happen.
To be fair, my employers block numerous sites for many reasons, such as “entertainment”, “sports”, and “shopping”. It’s not a big deal that this particular website was blocked. I can read the article later. What’s troubling is that this is passive discrimination. We’ve undergone several sexual harassment and discrimination seminars. None of my coworkers would ever say anything about my sexuality to my face. Yet our technology is somehow behind the times… or maybe it was created in Alabama.
I’m not a sensitive person. I try to be politically correct to others but can easily laugh at myself. But seeing this in a professional setting, in such a formal manner was degrading. It wasn’t targeting me personally. Even if a straight coworker tried to access the website they’d get the same message, but that’s irrelevant. There are no excuses. Just because it’s not active discrimination doesn’t mean it’s not discrimination.
This got me thinking – how many gay people have to deal with similar little daily acts of discrimination? I live in a fairly liberal state, so I can only imagine what others deal with elsewhere. What are some instances when you’ve been unintentionally offended? And also, did you bring it to anyone’s attention or just keep quiet and deal with it? I genuinely want to know what others have experienced. Share your stories in the comments!