Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stop Workplace Discrimantion Already.

For the past 33 years proponents of a bill– created to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers – have been trying to get it passed in to legislation, but to no avail.

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was created to stop discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as gender identification, and instead, push employers to hire and fire based on merit alone. Unlike other bills that ensured inclusion of all races in the working world, H.R. 2015 is struggling. Why?

Because it appears that many people still believe folks CHOOSE not to be heterosexual, and thus, they should be able to adjust themselves if they want to work; as if it is simply a mask that can be taken on or off, depending on the weather, the day of the month, etc. Or that if one identifies as male, but is biologically a woman, or identifies as female, but is biologically male, or anywhere in between, that it should be easy enough to done a dress if one has an “F” on their birth certificate.

The problem, for opponents is that these “choices” are immoral and unnatural – despite mounting scientific and psychosocial evidence – thus workers falling into these identifications should not get special treatment.

Why the hell not?

As it stands, there are only a handful of states that protect workers against this type of discrimination, and once an employee is fired (or not hired at all), they have no federal law protecting them. This is a problem.

Clearly we live in a very categorized world – because we are a society that boasts forward movement and success, we have created a system where labels are placed on people to demoralize, quell their advancement, and to successfully create dichotomies. People are either good or bad; straight or gay; conservative or liberal, woman or man.

But how can we really live in such a boxed in environment. I think many people can relate to times in our lives where we realized, “hey, things are not simply black and white.” Life is constantly a mesh of ideas, and to pretend otherwise is downright ignorant.

I mean, what is it? Are we simply stuck in stereotype madness: A woman has to wear a dress and heels in the workplace so that people know who to go to when they need a baking tip? Or a man has to wear a suit in case a piece of furniture needs to be moved? Are we really that dependant on outside identification?

More, does a man or woman have to be in a heterosexual relationship so that office mates know who to complain to when they get in to a fight with their partner? It appears that people forget the concept of empathy – the idea that believe it or not, humans are capable of reaching beyond their specific lives, and talking, working and hanging out with people who are not exactly like them. How interesting that our country has had a long standing opposition to socialist/Marxist ideas - because that would mean giving up individual characteristics - yet we constantly find ourselves hating people's independence.