Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Perspective and Privilege

A 2011 Williams Institute report (PDF) notes that 27% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents have reported workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. For those who are out in the workplace, that number rises to 38%.

78% of transgender respondents report workplace harassment, with 47% reporting discrimination in hiring, promotion, or job retention.

6 years ago, 7,001,084 people voted for Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry.  Last week, Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla, resigned "under pressure after his [financial] support" of Prop 8 surfaced. He had donated $1,000 to the campaign for Prop 8.

On April 7, 2014 a Google News search for "Brendan Eich" returned 27,800 results.

So, to be generous, something like, what .0000001% of Prop 8 supporters have experienced pressure to resign due to their support of Prop 8. And, I assume this number is somewhat accurate because, holy shit wow, do we ever hear about it, and have Important Conversations about it, and have people Really Take A Stand about it when, stop. the. presses. a cisgender white (presumably) heterosexual man's livelihood is threatened because of his now-unpopular political stance and, meanwhile, a trans person not getting a callback for a job interview is just ho-hum business as usual.

You might be able to tell that I've been largely annoyed with many of the conversations and blog posts I've read about this man and his situation, even within the gay-male-dominated "LGBT" (ie, gay) blogosphere. Indeed, I consciously refuse to fall into the Tolerance Trap wherein I grandly denounce Eich's resignation and suggest that, oh my, how intolerant of us to not tolerate people's intolerance of us!


I believe that Prop 8 was an absolute moral wrong that caused actual harm. My life, my dignity, my self-respect, my relationship, and my marriage are not academic debates. Having conversations about whether I'm sufficiently deserving of equal rights with people who demand that I do so with the utmost civility and decorum has never been "fun" for me.  It's degrading.  Nor do I believe that it is healthy, for me, to be 100% forgiving of those who have harmed me without apology, even if they've "only" harmed me by hating the idea of my equality so much that they spend their money on opposing it.

To those who now demand magnanimity of me, of "us" - for we are still an "us," it seems - I'm not saying I find it entertaining, either, to see a person resign from a job for supporting Prop 8.  I have no idea who or what entity initiated the pressure to get Eich to resign, even as anti-LGBT conservatives and some gays blather about [content note: mixed metaphors and appropriation] the Gay McCarthyist Witchhut Lynch Mobs.

I'm simply remaining agnostic to the frenzied, desperate, and super fun debates about whether its "fair," or "tolerant," or "moral" for people to "be pressured" to resign for supporting Prop 8.  I usually hate it when people tell me I should worry about more important things, but I admit, I do think the LGBT community has greater concerns than coddling the fears of bigots who are now anxious about possibly having to suffer consequences for their financial support of our inequality and degradation.

I'm a lesbian. I've only ever known consequences and the potential for ostracism from this. How lucky for bigots that they just now are understanding what that might mean.

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