Ah, on a day where I posted an entry full of colourful pics of diversity and celebration, maybe it's only fitting to be thinking about the other end of the spectrum. Good old, bad old, homophobia.
My new work place is very casual, and I recently discovered a little bit casually homophobic. It's hard to write about it because I feel kind of torn about how I feel about it. None of the people at work are nasty, or seem especially judgemental or ignorant. In fact I like them all.
I still like them but now I don't feel so much like I'm one of them.
I don't think they really set out to say anything that was intentionally offensive to anyone, at least in their eyes. However, with a couple of offhand comments that are probably innocuous to them, they have labelled me as other without even knowing it. Two of the younger girls in the office have a habit when chatting amongst themselves to do what a lot of Gen Y kids here are in the habit of doing, using the word "gay" to describe anything that is lame. "Ugh, that's so gay." Then the other day one of my male colleagues answered a phone call from one his friends with the greeting "What-up faggot?"
So, we are still in that place it would seem. I think I was especially shocked because it's my workplace, and well I haven't encountered thoughtlessness like this for a long time. It probably hasn't occured to them that they have a real life, nay larger than life, confirmed pickle smoocher in their midst. (Don't these people have eyes? Ears? I mean, I'm no flamer but I do believe in the freedom of self expression.)
And really I do think it's more thoughtlessness rather than something darker. Having said that though, I don't want to minimise the impact of this sort of thing or seem like I'm fence-sitting. It did make me feel genuinely uncomfortable, and it is negative. I'm only a temp, but if push comes to shove and I encounter more of it, or somebody says something more offensive, I'm going to have to say something. Ultimately I would rather walk away with my dignity intact, and maybe (hopefully) it would teach them something about their attitudes.