Calling out homophobic jokes at work - yay or nay?

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Thoughts?
Yes, you should say something 79%  79%  [ 11 ]
It's not worth it 14%  14%  [ 2 ]
You could quit 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
Other (please explain) 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 14

Lost_dragon
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02 Sep 2022, 6:10 pm

So, I work in an office. Our HR isn't around all that much. Nor do I want to be seen as a snitch. It's a small company, so making a complaint is not something I can do subtly. Unfortunately, hearing the conversations that go on...well, it reminds me of high school.

The same messed up jokes about AIDS and now Monkey Pox. Jokes about one of the guys having a boyfriend. Plus, jokes about emasculation and so much arguing about who's 'more of a man'. It can be quite awkward when they start calling each other gay and arguing over who is 'the most gay' in the sense of who is the worst.

...Do you think I should say something? I don't want to come across poorly, but staying quiet isn't great either. Frankly there's a feeling of bitter resentment. It's a rough reminder that some people never grow out of that stage. When I was a teenager, my friends sometimes made 'that's so gay' remarks out of habit. My solution was to offer more apt words (e.g. disappointing / terrible / unattractive would be more accurate / apt). I don't want people to see me as policing their language though, I don't want to be seen as a nuisance...but I'm also sick of that always being my concern. That I have to stay quiet and fit in. Always shrinking myself down to make myself more palatable. Whilst I know that it's important to know when to pick your battles, it does get tiring.


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klanka
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02 Sep 2022, 8:04 pm

Do they know you are gay?

I'm not but hearing the same unoriginal humour all the time would drive me nuts.



Twilightprincess
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02 Sep 2022, 8:48 pm

This is a tough situation. If I were you, I might consider looking for another job unless I really liked it other than that. (I’m saying this as someone who doesn’t struggle with finding work.)

I’ve heard some homophobic comments in my workplace, but they don’t occur that often. It apparently used to be worse. My predecessor successfully sued them for sexual discrimination. I would like to move to a more liberal locale when that’s feasible. It isn’t right now, though.

I’m bi but no one knows.


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kraftiekortie
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02 Sep 2022, 11:09 pm

It is a tough situation. I believe she just got this job, after more than a year searching for a job.



Lost_dragon
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03 Sep 2022, 2:45 pm

Finding your first job is always the worst. You end up in this loop of "sorry, you need experience" - but you can't get experience because everyone wants you to have experience. I happened to be in - well, the wrong place at the right time. Some of my friends are still searching for work. It's rough searching for work, but it's easier after you've had your first job. Makes it a bit easier to escape the experience loop.

I don't plan to stay at my job forever. Frankly I started asking myself when I should leave four weeks in to the role. However, I didn't want to leave right away as I worried that would not reflect well on me. I'm now four months into this job. Well, it's closer to three as I started towards the end of the month.

Perhaps I could subtly start searching in January. Finding time to go to interviews can be tricky though.

It's certainly not my first rodeo in dealing with this type of environment. Reminds me of when I had a class where my classmates would constantly make sexist jokes and I'd just keep my head down - telling myself to keep going to get the qualification. We had a female teacher quit because she couldn't take it anymore. One of the guys told me that he didn't think the subject was for girls, to which I replied "Well it's a good thing I didn't ask". Teenage me certainly had guts.

My co-workers don't know that I am gay. I'm not closeted, but I haven't mentioned it and they likely assume that I am straight. As for the job itself, it isn't that bad. Not much room for growth though. I am glad I accepted the role, now I have experience and I can work with that.


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Lost_dragon
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06 Sep 2022, 6:19 pm

Whilst I was at work today, a couple of my co-workers were debating over whether a woman that they both know (I don't know her) is gay. Apparently she likes to wear tracksuits / sportswear and doesn't like dresses. This is reason enough for people to speculate, which seems silly. All that tells us is that she has a more tomboyish style. I mean, I'm gay and I like to wear dresses. The two aren't necessarily exclusive. I can only imagine they'd malfunction if I came out one day. :lol:


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kraftiekortie
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06 Sep 2022, 6:40 pm

I've known plenty of absolutely straight women who can't stand wearing dresses.



Lost_dragon
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26 Sep 2022, 6:56 pm

Something which I find helps is reminding myself that I've been through much worse. In comparison, this stuff is fairly minor, but it reminds me of such events, as well as circumstances that my friends have experienced, which is why it's been weighing on me so much. My co-workers aren't necessarily bad, sometimes people who say bad things aren't bad people. Just misinformed and ignorant.

I've come a long way. When I was younger, back when I was only just coming out, I could barely say the word gay. My throat would dry up and I'd physically freeze, forgetting how to speak. I'd have flashbacks of when I was beaten up for coming out. Sometimes if someone snuck up on me and / or unexpectedly hugged me, I'd freak out and accidentally end up pushing them away or punching / elbowing them. I had to teach myself how to stay in the moment and not lose myself in the flashback. To remind myself that I wasn't there anymore. I pushed through my panic, my fear - I kept coming out to friends even when my body tried to stop me.

Perhaps somewhat to spite it, that memory involved being silenced and I hated how my panic was doing the same. I'm glad I did, I found an accepting crowd and with time it stopped being scary. I was finally able to talk about such things in a casual environment.

I remember when I met an openly gay teacher. It meant a lot, seeing someone older talking casually about it - in that moment I finally saw the possibility that I might one day be able to do the same (to be in such a relationship, to be able to talk about it, to exist whilst being out).

My plan is to slowly start calling my co-workers out on their jokes.


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28 Sep 2022, 3:38 am

I would, but that's just me. I'd do one even better, I'd lawyer up, and file a hate crime lawsuit, against the company etc., since they want to run their mouths.

But I guess at the end of the day, it's up to them. I do know of cases of LGBTQ people ignoring workplace harassment/homophobia, because they don't want to put their job in jeopardy, but I personally couldn't do that. IN this particular situation and case, I would absolutely speak up. But I see. This is just what I would do, and my opinion.

So yeah. That's my take.



KitLily
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28 Sep 2022, 5:18 am

Is this page any help?

https://adm.viu.ca/positive-space/homop ... lurs-jokes

I am not gay but I have gay family members and in the future I can see myself getting angry if they get mocked or people just say homophobic things in my presence. So I'm going to look around for ways to deal with homophobes and not get into an argument with them.


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Joe90
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28 Sep 2022, 10:52 pm

People do that. As long as they're not directing it as a personal attack against you or any other gay people, just ignore them. If people at my work were making jokes about autism or ADHD I wouldn't take any notice. I might even laugh.

I only take offense to things if they're aimed at me personally. If they're being prejudiced against a community (and not spreading unpleasant hate speech) then I would just let them get on with it, as I believe in free speech.

I know I get upset when I see sites created by vengeful NTs badmouthing autistics and calling us heartless, but that's because they're so harsh and they're trying to get the whole world to turn against autistics and see us all as dangerous psychos that don't deserve to be loved, and because I have insecurities about being on the spectrum I feel that these sites shouldn't be lurking around on the internet for all to see. So it depends on the context. Joking around with your colleagues is different to spreading false accusations and hatred towards a group.


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IsabellaLinton
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28 Sep 2022, 11:07 pm

I would speak up. It doesn't have to be rude or confrontational, or even a direct response to their joke, but at some point I'd start a dialogue about idiotic homophobes and their hurtful misconceptions.



Lost_dragon
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29 Sep 2022, 7:08 pm

A little off topic but I've been thinking about a remark that was made recently by a married man at work. He showed me a picture of a celebrity wearing revealing clothing and asked if I'd ever wear something like that. I laughed and said no. He replied "Why not? If you've got it, you should flaunt it". Then he left.

I don't think he was hitting on me, but if not - seems an odd thing to say. Maybe I'm reading into it too much.

Anyway, I think that Isabella is right. Once I've learnt how to drive I'll have more opportunities for work. I'm currently studying for my theory. I think I need to stick it out a bit longer and open a dialogue. Not to go on the full offense, but rather work my way through to them. I've known groups like this before. They don't respond well to emotional pleas. You have to play their game, to approach it in a similar way they approach things. If they feel attacked (or they think that you feel attacked) they'll double down. Essentially a work around is presenting criticism as banter but keeping it consistent enough that it can't be written off.


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IsabellaLinton
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30 Sep 2022, 12:22 am

Lost_dragon wrote:
He showed me a picture of a celebrity wearing revealing clothing and asked if I'd ever wear something like that. I laughed and said no. He replied "Why not? If you've got it, you should flaunt it".


Image


Tell him you have a brain and you flaunt it every day.
That's more than we can say about him.



cyberdad
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30 Sep 2022, 1:09 am

Lost_dragon wrote:
A little off topic but I've been thinking about a remark that was made recently by a married man at work. He showed me a picture of a celebrity wearing revealing clothing and asked if I'd ever wear something like that. I laughed and said no. He replied "Why not? If you've got it, you should flaunt it". Then he left.


I think its one thing to crack jokes not directed at you but make you uncomfortable, In theory you should be able to report that but it sounds like your workplace permits that type of culture and as this is your first job it might not work in your favour.

However the latter incidence involving the married man insinuating you are hot enough to wear revealing clothes is directed at you and is intimidating. The latter is considered sexual harassment. Does your workplace have an HR?



KitLily
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30 Sep 2022, 6:02 am

Lost_dragon wrote:
A little off topic but I've been thinking about a remark that was made recently by a married man at work. He showed me a picture of a celebrity wearing revealing clothing and asked if I'd ever wear something like that. I laughed and said no. He replied "Why not? If you've got it, you should flaunt it". Then he left.

I don't think he was hitting on me, but if not - seems an odd thing to say. Maybe I'm reading into it too much.


No, you aren't reading too much into it. That was a sleazy thing for him to do. Would you go up to a man and show him a picture of a celebrity like that and ask him if he'd wear the same thing? Would he go up to another man with a photo of a celebrity and ask him the same questions?

If the answer is no, it is not a suitable question for someone to ask a colleague.

I noticed when I worked in an office, certain men treated me very differently to the single women in the department. Because I was 'a respectable married woman with a husband.' The single women were viewed differently.


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