At work today, the topic of children was broached. I mentioned that I want kids one day, and the newbie to our team asked me if I was serious. I explained to her that I do want kids; however, the want is something I don’t see myself feeling 100% until 8 to 10 years down the road. She commented that some places don’t let gay people about because “they might come out that way.” That way— I have already told this coworker that it offends and bothers me when she uses that way instead of gay/homosexual/lesbian/etc.
I brought up a great Dateline segment I watched years ago as a high school student. The segment tackled the subject of gay couples adopting or having children and how studies show that the majority of children with gay parents are heterosexual. Mentioning the segment made me remember a gay couple in Florida who are foster parents. I can’t remember how many children are in there home, but I want to say it is around 6 or 7……. all of the children are HIV positive. One foster parent is a registered nurse and stays home with the children, and the other foster parent works a “traditional” job. The foster parents would love to adopt the children, but the brilliant state of Florida will not hear of such a thing as gays adopting. My coworker then says, “Well, they shouldn’t be able to adopt the children. They probably just want to take life insurance out on the kids.” I had to remain silent, take a deep breath because I thought I was going to call her stupid or strangle her. Another coworker looked really uncomfortable; I knew she thought I was going to attack.
This coworker then proceeds to tell me, “My aunt does it. She has more kids so she can get more money from the government.” I respond, “Well, just because your aunt does that doesn’t mean that EVERYONE else is doing the same. I know that people do such horrendous things; however, you can’t use your aunt as marker to judge everyone else. You can’t use one single person as a marker to judge the character of others.”
Her last comment was something to the effect that it is her opinion that gay people shouldn’t adopt. I ended by saying, “Sadly, it’s because of people with your mentality that thousands and thousands of kids in this country out of loving home.”
Honestly, I feel sad for my coworker, but even more than sad there is an overwhelming disappointment in her. This coworker has talked about being discriminated against because she is a black female, yet the obstacles she has overcome have apparently taught her nothing. People need to wake up; learn from your life experiences. THINK hard before you speak on topics, especially “touchy” topics.
Tomorrow, I am going to once more address the issue of my coworker using that way to describe gay peeps. If it happens again it goes to HR… no ifs, ands, or buts.