Thursday, September 24, 2009


If someone is ridiculed for their sexual orientation [in the work place], an atheist hesitates to draw attention to himself. Someone in the racial minority tends to fear participating for fear he’ll be the next target. There is a domino effect.

Surprisingly it’s younger LGBT workers who are more likely to hide their identity, with only 5 percent of employees in the 18 to 24-year-old age group saying they are totally open at work. Some fear losing connections, being passed over for advancement or getting fired if their boss or co-workers knew about their identity. Many fear for their safety.

[For the full article, see here.]
[For the full report, "Degrees of Equality," please see here.]

Beyond showing that all minority groups share in the need to advocate for their own and for each others' rights, it should come as no surprise that younger LGBT people are very hesitant to come out at the work place, and this may well put the lie to the hope that younger Gay people will be more aggressive in overriding the homophobia of others that prevent the acquisition of full and equal civil rights.

It seems to me that, although younger people are more "liberal" regarding attitudes to LGBT people than are older people, Gay people may well be no more likely to become activists on behalf of the acquisition of civil rights than is the current generation, and less likely to become activists than the previous generation that was embroiled in the 1960's culture where activist rhetoric and action was normalized in the U.S. and much of Western Europe.

The irony may well be that the ferocity of the oppression of the 1950's-1970's helped breed the courageous activists that made possible what gains have been made in the last several decades; the seeming liberalizing of attitudes toward LGBT people and issues might well lead to subordinating the fight for equal rights by Gay people and allis to an indolence borne of careerism and the desire to conform.

The hope that the future generation of LGBT people and allies will become more activist than the current generation may well be a false one.
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genevieve said...

That same ferocity is need now. Oppression is oppresion no matter the decade or the century. One reason the anti-war and civil rights protests were effective was because the people saw that the inequalities directly affected them. If a particular group of people are denied their rights, then it won't be long before another group will denied theirs.

Jerry Maneker said...

You're absolutely right, genevieve! Careerism and the desire to "fit in" and not go through "the season of suffering" that MLK spoke of seem to me to be the major reasons why there isn't much more meaningful LGBT rights activism.

Incremental "improvements" might well be worse than no improvements at all, in that when people settle for crumbs of equality, rather than full equality, the oppressor has won for the foreseeable future.

We can see how the oppressor is winning by the pathetic willingness of all too many LGBT people, including the professional "activists," to put the acquisition of marriage rights up to the vote of the electorate.

I may be overly optimistic, but I'm hopeful that the Equality March on October 11th may help heighten the anger and the recognition of the realities of LGBT second-class citizenship, and help create the needed fire in the belly to engage in meaningful activism to achieve full and equal rights across the board, equivalent to all of the civil rights that heterosexuals enjoy.

Best wishes, Jerry.

psa91 said...

In Singapore, the older ones are still in the closets hiding from the Christian fundies...

whilst the younger gays are accepting their orientation much younger ... I guess they will not be satisfied with hiding and the status quo.

Not sure how to stir people up to fight for their own rights ...

Jerry Maneker said...

Thanks for your comment, psa91. Your last sentence is the deal breaker! Best wishes, Jerry.