Happy Corporate Pride everyone. In the ever surreal landscape of life in the wastelands, my multinational employer is having a Pride day this week. I ought to be thankful that it is making an effort, but for some reason – despite my glued on smile – I find it quite bizarre. Thursday is ‘Rainbow’ day – a day where we are encouraged to wear our brightest clothes to ‘celebrate diversity’ and to ‘show our pride’. Hurrah. Yet I am not actually that celebratory. Such ungrateful behaviour on my part.
Is it so wrong to want to be left alone? Am I not allowed to celebrate my personal diversity by wearing grey trousers; muddy-brown open-toed sandals and a sludge green sweatshirt; and either ignoring everyone, or hissing at them if they approach me?
I am out at work. No cowering in any closet for yours truly. I go about my business without a care in the world. I loathe cheap sentiment though. Having one day a year to celebrate LGBTA diversity (the ‘A’ in this specific version of the acronym stands for ‘allies’ so the heterosexuals feel included) is all well and good; but shouldn’t every day be like that? Singling the LGBT employees out to be targets for inclusion on a specific day, strikes me as a bit of a box-ticking exercise. A corporation engages in these activities so it can include them in their brochures.
Obviously this situation is better than getting sacked for being gay, which was a reality until recent years. I don’t appreciate being singled out though. Are other minority groups subject to days like these?
The law bans discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation already. Isn’t it a form of reverse discrimination to be specifically targeted for inclusion? I really don’t want a load of well-meaning colleagues approach me in their brightly coloured fabrics to give me the thumbs up because I am gay. It will be well meant, but toe-curlingly embarrassing nonetheless. I wouldn’t dream of approaching a ginger haired person and saying ‘Hurrah for you, you’re ginger’, for example.
Nevertheless I will smile my fake smile, and give a cheery thumbs up in response. I will be beaming with insincerity. To not do so would mean that I am not a team player. And there can be no crime more heinous in a corporate environment than not being a team player. That would be to identify myself as a person who does not share the company’s values, and therefore perhaps not an ideal fit for the corporate culture.
I have rent and bills to pay.
Make no mistake though– we all know that as soon as it becomes economically viable, the company will become less diverse (i.e. smaller) and sack a load of people to save money. It’s just that your sexual orientation will never be used as the reason to sack you. Your salary – which can be reduced by 50% by hiring a new graduate to replace you is a perfectly acceptable reason to replace you. As my colleague Beryl, who sits with the noose around her neck, waiting for an end date to her contract, so she can go forth to explore exciting new opportunities in the job market; is well aware. At the age of fifty.
My complaint is petty and obstreperous I know. The event and the people running it are well intentioned. And this is the nature of a corporate behemoth. I just have to suppress my gag reflex slightly.
I’m not twisted and bitter you know. BAH HUMBUG!