Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Jeff Chu on Meeting the Woman Who Fired Him Because He Was Gay: Valuable Twitter Thread for #RiseUpOct8

The Twitter thread Jeff Chu shared yesterday, which begins with the tweet above, is very important to read today, as the Supreme Court hears more arguments about the "right" of people to appeal to religious belief as their basis for discriminating against LGBTQ citizens in the workplace, in schools, in public services, in housing, in the marketplace, etc.

Just claim that your "belief" requires you to treat queer people unequally, and you should have a free pass to discriminate, powerful groups want to argue before the Supreme Court. 

This is the very same discussion I heard in my growing-up years, as the parents and grandparents of these pro-discrimiantion religious folks claimed that their religious "beliefs" should allow them to discriminate against people of color. The Supreme Court eventually squashed that malicious argument in its Bob Jones v. United States decision.

Jeff Chu tweets about meeting a woman recently who fired him in 2015 because he is gay. She came up to him at an Evolving Faith conference, said it was so good to see him — and had no memory whatsoever of how she had assaulted his dignity and disrupted his life by firing him because he is gay.

"Oh, well," she eventually said. "That was a different time." As if her discriminatory decision, which appealed to her anti-LGBTQ religious beliefs as a basis for assaulting someone else's humanity and taking away his livelihood, was just some little drop in the water that she didn't even remember having happened, and that he'd be well-advised to forget, though it affected his life in the mose serious ways possible.

I know so many gay and lesbian people with stories similar to this — about the cavalier attitude of those who have fired us solely because of who we are, and who then act as if nothing important has happened (since the people they've mistreated aren't, after all, of much importance in any case). They sail right on with their lives, acknowledge no responsibility to us and show no remorse for how they have dealt with us. And they get away with it….

There are a lot of lazy "centrists" in American political life who want to argue that there are "two sides" to this discussion, and "both sides" have a valid point to make. That's a morally vacuous — and, yes, lazy — position to take. It was morally vacuous and lazy during the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. It's just as morally vacuous and lazy today.

There's only one right side here: people should not be fired because of who they are and whom the love. Period. The lives of LGBTQ people are just as important as the lives of everyone else, and should be honored in the same way the lives of everyone else are honored.


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