Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Earth to Andrew

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Earth to Andrew

Article excerpt

EACH MORNING WHEN THE ALARM CLOCK RINGS, THOUSANDS of lesbian and gay Americans wake up with knots in their stomachs. From line workers to executives, from short-order cooks to engineers, they fear this may be the day when their livelihoods are ripped away from them and their families.

Like other organizations, the Human Rights Campaign receives a steady stream of phone calls from distraught individuals who were fired from their jobs simply because of their sexual orientation. It is distressing to realize that in 40 states, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against gay Americans in the workplace. We also know that for every person who calls us with a horror story, there are just as many people who don't call us because they know they are not legally protected.

Based on our numerous experiences, we were amazed when Andrew Sullivan questioned, in the April 14 edition of The Advocate, the need for antidiscrimination laws such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which is pending federal legislation that would protect lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals from job discrimination. Perhaps even more puzzling was his questioning of whether job discrimination against lesbians and gay men was even a problem. It is possible that Sullivan has never experienced job discrimination, but we can assure him there are thousands of gay people who have.

According to a 1996 poll conducted by the ICR Survey Group for Lake Research, 82% of the gay people surveyed cited a law to protect gay people from discrimination in employment as "one of the most important issues" facing the community.

A complete disconnect in logic occurs when Sullivan denies this is a problem, then turns around and says that he recognizes that gays endure "intense psychological, social, and cultural hostility." If this hostile climate exists as he says it does, how can he believe that these hostile attitudes simply disappear when a gay person punches the time clock? Take Mark Anderson's experience, for instance.

Anderson, who worked for a high-powered consulting firm in California, arrived home from a business trip one afternoon to confront a chilling sight. His car had been stolen and returned, repainted as a police car, covered with antigay epithets like "Rump Ranger" and "1-800-BUTT-BOY. …

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