Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Google Backs Gay Rights

Google, one of the most forward-thinking, non-evil corporations out there, has announced a global campaign supporting LGBT rights designed to allow LGBT "employees to have the same inclusive experience outside of the office, as they do at work, and for LGBT communities to be safe and to be accepted wherever they are."  I think one of the most important aspects of this ambitious campaign is that they plan to "focus primarily on countries with homophobic laws and cultures."

I won't say that LGBT's in America, and particularly in Western Europe, are "spoiled" because it implies that the rights and equalities we do enjoy are an indulgence at the whim of the heterosexual majority, as opposed to our due under the principles of justice and fairness.  However, we should always be mindful that we enjoy a life freer from interference than many of our brethren worldwide.  The Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean are just some of the localities where our rights are essentially non-existent.

Violence against LGBT people is common place and often overlooked by local law enforcement, if not state-sponsored and endorsed.  We've been holding gay pride parades for decades, but only our Russian and Eastern European compatriots even attempt to do so.  And often they are denied permission or face too much local opposition to stage such an event.  I hope that Google can use its influence in these places where it conducts business to make some real changes in the lives of the LGBT population and in the societies at large.  I certainly applaud their effort in even attempting to do so.

Workplace Drama

I didn't witness this scene, but a co-worker told me that one of the attorneys in the office was berating another co-worker because he happened to hear her say that she supported President Obama.  Apparently he just started going off about how she shouldn't be voting for him and how could she support someone who supports same-sex marriage, etc.  What's offensive isn't his attack on gay rights.  He's free to believe whatever he wants to believe.  But as a professional attorney he should know that loudly broadcasting his political opinions and trying to browbeat a subordinate into voting his way is grossly inappropriate in the workplace.

And I have to give credit to my firm.  They have a written policy against exhibiting "hostility" towards anyone based on perceived differences, including sexual orientation.  That's not as common in the South as it is in other, more urbane parts of the country.  It makes me feel good that they support my right to simply do my job without being harassed for who I am.

As soon as I heard about this little dust up, I went and ordered my long overdue Obama 2012 bumper sticker.  In Los Angeles, there was a safer social space where I felt comfortable discussing my sexuality if it came up in conversation.  (I didn't go out of my way to wear it like a badge on my sleeve.)  After working in Memphis for over a year and a half, I finally felt comfortable enough to "out" myself to one co-worker that I'm friends with.  But if this guy challenges me about the bumper sticker, I'm going to tell him I support President Obama's position on gay rights, particularly since I'm gay myself.  There comes a point where you have to stand up and be counted.

Slippery Slope

Ugh!  The page-view graphing function for this blog looks like an amusement park slide: a steep decline!  I maxed out at almost 300 page views on July 4th.  Maybe if I can just get myself published, I can get them to print my web address to generate some traffic.  I've done everything else I know to try and rise above the internet information overload.  Right now I've got poems submitted for consideration at five magazines and one short story at another.  We'll see if I get lucky, and someone actually decides to publish me.