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Old 05-12-2014, 06:42 PM   #1
[Purple_Rain]
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Homophobic work collegue

Hi Guys,

Sorry, didn't know where else to put this.

I've been in my current job for 8 months, and like all jobs it has it's ups and downs but generally, as jobs and colleague and office atmosphere goes it's fantastic.

Until today. Colleague O was saying how his girlfriend was having friends over whilst he was out elsewhere, the usual banter about how she waited until he was out the way to get hot men over. He bantered back and then said it's OK, the men are a married gay couple. Conversation continues a little bit in a light-hearted way. Colleague O gets slightly more serious and says how stupid it is that get people in a civil partnership can't convert it into a marriage without getting 'divorced' first (I think he is mistaken but that's irrelevant to this post).

Colleague G pipes up and says that gay people should only be allowed civil partnerships and that that's fine because it's the same thing. He then continues and says 'I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. I don't think gay people should be able to get married'

Before this I liked and respect colleague G. And now I feel awkward and 'dirty' in his presence. He basically said I do not deserve equal rights to everyone else in my company. I think the shock of having such an articulate, intelligent, nice man (or so I thought) suddenly come out with this crap is more the reason that I'm having such a hard time processing this. I guess I feel like my trust has been betrayed? My trust that work was a 'safe' environment for me.

On the flip side maybe I'm over reacting. I am well aware a lot of religious people (Colleague G is Mormon) do not agree in gay marriage. He is entitled to his opinion, even if I think his opinion and his logic behind it are inherently flawed. However I personally am not religious and disagree with the way the religious institution is run; yet I don't bash his religion out of respect for his beliefs. Out of respect for the choice he made to believe. I didn't chose to be gay.


The reason I'm writing this post is I don't know what to do. I haven't told anyone at work yet, besides another colleague who I confided in because I was upset. Should I tell management? it's a small company and would likely make things very awkward. I don't want to get him in trouble. But at the same time I want to feel safe to be myself in my work place and I currently really do not (for reference i'm in the UK so I am protected by law against discrimination. but then again so is he). I kind of want to just pretend he didn't say anything, but for the remainder of today I was anxious whenever he was around and that's not a healthy was to work. But it's irrational, he would never do anything to harm regardless of my sexuality.

Help?

Sorry for the wall of text, and thank you even just for reading this.





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Old 05-12-2014, 06:46 PM   #2
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Is it even homophobia? or does it not 'count' because it's his religion?





"I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell." -Picasso
"No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war." - Picasso

'I have scars becuase I have a past; but they, like my past, do not define my future'


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Old 05-12-2014, 07:59 PM   #3
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Does he know that you're gay and know your feelings towards same sex marriage etc? I ask because I think that there is a chance that if he knew then he may have not expressed those opinions in front of you. I guess if you're having a conversation with one person who agrees with your views and no one else is taking the opposite stand point then I don't think that it's a well rounded view on how people handle those kind of situations.

I think religion and opinion on this topic in particular is a very murky area, although it is bigoted what he said, if he has always had that opinion compressed on him then it's obviously what he sees as normal and although it wouldn't be fair to force that onto you in the same way it wouldn't be fair to force him to change his opinion.

I'm pretty sure mormons are opposed to same sex relationships altogether so in a weird way he actually sounds a lot more liberal on the point then a lot of overly religious people.

I don't think he meant is as homophobic, however the fact that you feel unsafe etc is the main concern and even if people don't think he was being it still doesn't belittle your feelings about it.

I'm not sure what you can do apart from have a word with him about it, you don't even need to say anything about your sexual orientation, but I know that confronting people on this kind of thing can be intimidating. I would try not to let it mar your whole opinion of your workplace.




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Old 05-12-2014, 08:02 PM   #4
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I just wanted to offer you a *hug.*

I'm a Christian and believe that gay people should have right to marry in a church if they feel that's right for them. Love is love, regardless of the gender of the people who have feelings towards each other. We're not all of the same opinion. *hug*

If he thinks that, then he should keep it to himself. I guess it's his right to hold that opinion, but it is not his right to express it in a way that makes people (you) feel uncomfortable. That is unacceptable.

Perhaps have a word with management. I don't think you'd be doing the wrong thing.



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Old 05-12-2014, 11:29 PM   #5
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Thank you all very much for your replies.

Liv - yes, he does. I am openly gay at work, make gay jokes about myself as banter etc etc. He has never said anything like this before even though he has known I'm gay from the start, which is another reason it was shocked me. I agree I don't think he meant it as homophobic, or more accurately didn't realise he was being homophobic. But to me it feels like he was saying gay people are 'less than'. I won't let it mar my whole opinion of my work place. I have thought about talking to him but i don't feel confident enough too (confrontation isn't my strong point) and I also would not want to have that conversation without someone else there.

Carmen - My workplace is rather small (at most 15 people in the office) so I worry about stirring things up to much by saying something. As it is I am the only one affected, if I say something more people will be affected.

Thank you aubergine - I know not all Christians are like him, far from it. there is a tiny minority who are horrible and many many more who are like you. I have many christian friends and family members who accept me, which in a way makes what he said worse - If other people can practice their religion without being homophobic why can't he? Homophobia is a choice.
I agree if he want's to have that opinion fine, it's his opinion, but he shouldn't vocalize it. I also don't think talking to my boss would be 'wrong', but it is very possible it might be the wrong option for me at work.



I have a lot of thinking to do. The colleague I confided in has offered to talk to my boss for me. I still don't know what I want to do.





"I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell." -Picasso
"No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war." - Picasso

'I have scars becuase I have a past; but they, like my past, do not define my future'


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Old 06-12-2014, 11:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Purple_Rain] View Post
Thank you all very much for your replies.

Liv - yes, he does. I am openly gay at work, make gay jokes about myself as banter etc etc. He has never said anything like this before even though he has known I'm gay from the start, which is another reason it was shocked me. I agree I don't think he meant it as homophobic, or more accurately didn't realise he was being homophobic. But to me it feels like he was saying gay people are 'less than'. I won't let it mar my whole opinion of my work place. I have thought about talking to him but i don't feel confident enough too (confrontation isn't my strong point) and I also would not want to have that conversation without someone else there.
Urgh ok that makes it even worse. He sounds like one of those people who says things that are racist but then says 'oh I didn't mean you' to people. It's understandable that you felt that way, I think it can be really difficult for people who are religious to accept that point of view when marriage is seen as something that is exclusive to heterosexual people by them.

Yeah I wouldn't want to confront him either, maybe speaking to your boss is a good idea. You could ask the person you have spoken to to be there when you speak to your boss.




There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you.
But there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.
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I aint no abacus but you can count on me.


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Old 06-12-2014, 04:13 PM   #7
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What baffles me is if he has a problem with marriage being a religious institution, and being gay is against his religion so we can't get married, then why do those Christians not campaign to say atheists can't get married? It seems contradictory.

I think I've decided to not say anything. To be politely courteous but nothing more than that. I know that I have the 'backing' off the rest of the office should I need it. I guess it's kind of a 'rise above' attitude and just carry on as normal but steering clear of him when possible. Which shouldn't be too hard, he's in another department and we just play table football together at lunch. Which I probably won't do any more if he's there.





"I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell." -Picasso
"No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war." - Picasso

'I have scars becuase I have a past; but they, like my past, do not define my future'


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Old 06-12-2014, 06:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Purple_Rain] View Post
What baffles me is if he has a problem with marriage being a religious institution, and being gay is against his religion so we can't get married, then why do those Christians not campaign to say atheists can't get married? It seems contradictory.

I think I've decided to not say anything. To be politely courteous but nothing more than that. I know that I have the 'backing' off the rest of the office should I need it. I guess it's kind of a 'rise above' attitude and just carry on as normal but steering clear of him when possible. Which shouldn't be too hard, he's in another department and we just play table football together at lunch. Which I probably won't do any more if he's there.
A lot of Christians do and it may be the case with him but I think that you should just see him as one person with a skewed view and although it does stir up very horrible feelings for you he is just small minded.

I think rising above it is the best course of action because it will mean less trauma for you in the workplace and that is what I think is important here. We don't have to get a long with everyone, so being polite but nothing else is taking the high road which a lot of people find difficult so that is definitely a great perspective to take.

As you say you have the backing of your office and you know if your own heart your stance and those things will work as a work armour. It sounds as if you have more clarity on the situation and are being really rational which is great.




There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you.
But there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.
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I aint no abacus but you can count on me.


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Old 06-12-2014, 11:27 PM   #9
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Sorry you had such an uncomfortable experience. Do you think there's a possibility that he momentarily forgot that you were gay when he made that comment? I think that in your situation I might be tempted to speak to him, to let him know that you find what he said quite discriminatory and how it made you feel like you weren't entitled to the same rights as other people. Obviously you need to be the judge of whether that's a good idea or not, I just think that if he's a decent guy he'll understand where you're coming from and take on board the feedback that it was uncomfortable for him to share his opinion in that way. And hopefully make him think about his beliefs and how they impact on others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [Purple_Rain] View Post
Out of respect for the choice he made to believe. I didn't chose to be gay.
I do just want to say that I don't think belief in God is entirely a choice. If it was then I would have become a Christian a long time ago because I would really like to be, I just cannot make myself believe something that I don't. I appreciate though that the actual practice of a religion is a choice, and believing that a particular religious group has the right idea about God is perhaps more of a choice than sexuality, which of course is not a choice at all. I hope that makes sense and that I haven't misinterpreted what you are saying and therefore rambled for no reason!



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Old 14-12-2014, 05:36 AM   #10
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Exactly. "I'm a Christian, and therefore I think I have the right to dictate what non-Christians should do in their private lives." It definitely still 'counts'; just because he's religious does not give him the right to be a bigot!

What he's said isn't discrimination, but it could be counted as harassment. Depends on how your management feel, if you would ever involve them. He deliberately said it in front of you, knowing you're gay, and it made you feel uncomfortable. Sorry you had this experience. :(

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