For my interview, I chose four of my friends to answer five questions. They are all ranging of different backgrounds and identities. I interviewed each of them individually during their free time and made it so it would be a very casual, conversation like interview instead of something formal and slightly intimidating. The way the interview process went was I asked the question and wrote down their response as accurate as I could and then read it back to make sure they were okay with what I wrote. The website mentioned is lgbtqintheworkforce.wordpress.com.
Atkins: QPOC (Queer Person of Color) (They/them/theirs)
Bogle: Queer (She/her/hers, They/them/theirs)
Castro: Transgender Male (He/him/his)
Rivers: Cisgender and heterosexual (She/her/hers)
- What do you feel when you hear that 28 states in the United States can legally fire an employee for their sexual orientation or gender identity?
- Atkins: I’m honestly not surprised to be honest. I was actually expecting a higher number. How recent is that statistic? (Lopez: I want to say within the last five years. I have a website with that stats I can give you).
- Bogle: 28 states? It’s less than I expected actually (laughs). It’s just frustrating because it’s one of those things where “it’s just the way it is” but at the same time you want to fight to change it.
- Castro: It’s just sad. I mean, there’s more you can say but overall it’s sad. There are people in this country that can potentially be unemployed because of their orientation.
- Rivers: Really? I had no idea Where are your sources? (Lopez: I have a website with hyperlinks to legitimate sources I can give you) Well damn. I’d say it’s just a shame. I mean, people getting fired for being gay or trans doesn’t seem like a legitimate reason to me.
- How do you think you would react if your employer were to fire you soon after you had come out to him about identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community?
- Atkins: I’d be pissed as hell. I will do the angry black stereotype and go off. I’d be like “Uh, McScuse me!? I did not work my *ss off for this bullsh*t!” (Tries to be serious but ends up dying of laughter). Just kidding, but I would get pissed. Probably leave a bad review on all of their sites and tell everybody how horribly they can treat their employees.
- Bogle: Probably say “F*ck you” and leave. I wouldn’t want to be civil to a place that would discriminate against a person’s identity.
- Castro: Could I sue them? (Lopez: You could but the chances of it making it through court is slim) Well that sucks (laughs) but I would still try.
- Rivers: I don’t really know. I identify as heterosexual and a cis person. I guess I would be upset, but I honestly don’t know what I would be able to do.
- Why do you think being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is an issue when working? What are some examples of why people would be concerned?
- Atkins: I could easily see it as just fearing what they don’t know or understand. Someone who isn’t involved in the LGBTQ+ community whether as someone who identifies in the community or an ally, you really can’t understand it.
- Bogle: I’m guessing it has to do with all of the stigmas with the LGBTQ+ community. All gay people having AIDS or some type of STD, people within the community always ready to argue about their equal rights, that constant fear hetero-CIS people have that people in the queer community want to sleep with them when there are clearly better looking and nicer people obviously (Laughs) (Lopez: How would that involve the work place?) Customers might have an issue with a queer person touching their food, and complain to the manager and since “the customer is always right” they employer might let that person go.
- Castro: People believing stereotypes. (Lopez: Like what?) People of the community being horny all the time and wanting to date everyone they see. I can also see employers themselves not having a problem with their employees orientation but still fire or not hire them because they don’t want to deal with the repercussions of having the customers complain about it. (Lopez: How would the customers know though?) Not sure. But there can always be an incident where you’re outed
- Rivers: Honestly, I’m just picturing old people still stuck in their ways and just fearing queer people.
- Why do you believe it is harder to enlist a gender identity and sexual orientation nondiscrimination law than an anti-racist nondiscrimination law?
- Atkins: Things like race and ethnicity can be considered the majority of the minority. Does that make sense? (Laughs) (Lopez: Something like race and ethnicity is experienced by more people than their gender identity and sexual orientation?) Yeah, there you go (laughs).
- Bogle: Probably because people find it harder to defend a person’s ethnicity, something that is so deeply rooted in them, than their orientation and identity because there hasn’t been a cold hard reason for a person to be gay or non-binary.
- Castro: Um…I’m honestly not sure (laughs) I hadn’t thought about that actually. I guess maybe because it is a person’s personal identity that they choose that people don’t like.
- Rivers: I think it’s because with race and ethnicity there’s more of a strong population behind it. Say like if a girl was discriminated at work for being Salvadorian, there would be a set community of Salvadorians to be able to support and back her up. But, if she was a trans woman, the support system is a lot weaker. You get what I’m saying? I’m trying to phrase this correctly (laughs while making exaggerated hand movements) (Lopez: You good, I’m following you)
- Was there a time you were discriminated against in a place of employment (be it as an employee or a customer) and if so, what was going through your mind when it happened?
- Atkins: Once when I went to get my hair done, the stylist was just chatting with me about random things, you know like most stylists do. At the time I was dating a person that identified as female. When she asked if I had a boyfriend, I told her that I had a girlfriend. Then she stated in this really mean tone “you a lesbian?” Thinking back on it, it might have been easier to say yes but instead I explained to her how I’m pansexual and then told her how I don’t identify as female. She didn’t talk as much after that, only to ask questions about how I wanted my hair.
- Bogle: It wasn’t really discrimination. I was telling my coworkers about how I’m involved with the queer community club on campus and they asked why. I told them “Because I’m queer as f*ck”. They were just all surprised that I wasn’t straight I guess (laughs). They didn’t say much and so far I still have my job.
- Castro: When I was applying to a place back in my hometown, I had no idea what to put down for my gender. I asked one of the people working there and she just gave me this look after I told her I was trans. She told me to just put my “actual gender” to avoid confusion. I put down a phony number and email and left.
- Rivers: Nope. I’ve only ever worked on campus and volunteered at camps so I don’t think there would be a chance that would happen since we have things like Title IX and that a person’s identity is highly valued here.