Sexual Orientation and Tech Comm

Subject: Sexual Orientation and Tech Comm
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 23:38:26 -0700

>(soapbox mode on)

>I disagree. Sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with technical
>communication

Is this something you know as a result of study or is it a piece of received
wisdom?

In my state (Washington), people who are--or who are thought to be--gay,
lesbian, or
bisexual--have no protection from discrimination in employment. They can be
summarily
fired any day for no reason other than their employer deciding they are
G/L/B. These
technical communicators have no recourse under Washington State or Federal
law. They
disagree with you that orientation has nothing to do with technical
communication.

> And since for many people homosexuality is a "hot button,"
>and God knows we already have no lack of controversial matters to discuss on
>this list, why add this to the mix?

From this it would seem that you would prefer Frame vs. Word for the 2000th
time, or
the 1000th message on HTML. If homosexuality is a "hot button" with some
people then
isn't that all the more reason to discuss it? It affects people on this
list--I can quite
confidently say that everyone on this list either IS homosexual or knows
homosexuals in their
family, among their friends, or in their neighborhoods/workplaces.

>I don't think homosexuals need to
>isolate themselves from the professional mainstream by forming their own
>clique, since in a professional context one's marital status has no bearing
>on their work

It is to laugh, albeit bitterly.

Since homosexuals don't get to *have* marital status--or benefits, or
any of the other privileges that heterosexuals take for granted--it is hard
to accept that
you thought for long before writing that it "in a professional context one's
marital status has no bearing on their work."

And since when did forming an affinity organization mean "isolating
themselves from the mainstream."
Should the Society of Women Engineers fold up? Should NAACP close up shop?

And say, when did straights become, "the mainstream"?
And what's this about "their" work?

>. I've never heard any rumblings calling for a group of only
>single female technical communicators, for example. Let's stay together, and
>keep our focus on matters related to our field of work, not our after-hours
>social life.

I don't want to "stay together" with anyone who says that being together means
we can only talk about those parts of life that meet with your approval.
Your personal myopia about what constitutes "matters related to our field of
work" is appalling but it need not be the standard or a bar to discussion on
this list.

The fact is that there are *lots* of people in STC and other organizations
who are
*different* than your idea of "mainstream" and many of them are professionally
handicapped by the idea that if they show the world who they are, they will be
punished. In some cases it is self-limiting fear, in others it is the
absolute truth and
they are *wise* to hide. Especially from attitudes such as yours.

John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

The Bill of Rights -- The ORIGINAL Contract with America
Beware of Imitations. Accept No Substitutes. Insist on the Genuine Artic

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