Community + Activism / Bullying + Discrimination

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

“How do I deal with homophobic (and sexist and slightly racist) colleagues? I’m new to the job and so can’t really speak up. It wouldn’t go down well. Especially when it’s a small company with no HR department, I’m still in my probationary period, and the boss shares that horrible viewpoint. Should I just let it go? Because I really need this job.”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Broderick Greer as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Broderick Says:

Dear In-Need-of-Job,

Your question isn’t complicated at all (I’m joking).

It’s actually consistent with a lot of the social difficulties I face on a daily basis. Here is my typical inner-dialogue, “Is this the right time for me to address what I perceive as a homophobic/racist/sexist statement? How will my speaking out about this perception impact my currently peaceful relationship with the verbal racist/homophobe/sexist standing in front of me? When is Happy Hour?” One of the challenges of being a sexual, racial, or gender minority is the constant reality of counting the cost of when to advocate for one’s self and when not to. There is no clear way forward at any given time. There are, however, a few ways of seeing yourself and others that might bring you peace in the midst of interpersonal chaos.

As you are probably already aware, there has been quite a bit of work done around micro aggressions, those subtle verbal indignities that take place in the everyday. Microaggressions can be racist, sexist, and homophobic in nature. No matter the frequency with which microaggressions occur, they have no place in your workplace, home, or relationships. It is within the best of the common good for those kinds of statements to be recognized for what they are: splinters in the fabric of human flourishing. This recognition, though, does not have to happen in a staff meeting or in the office of your boss. This recognition can occur on your terms. Be creative. Be proactive. Counter your office’s culture of microaggression by practicing microaffirmations.

Microaffirmations can range anywhere from silent phrases like, “I am enough. I beautiful. There is more to me than the eye can comprehend,” to verbal  pronouncements like, “The joy of this day is shrouded in negativity. I will find the joy in this moment, no matter what.” To break out of the negativity of your coworkers and supervisor might make you look like a square, but it puts you in a respectable position. You will be letting the people around you know that you are a force to be reckoned with, a bitch of sorts. This self-differentiation is important. Push for clear boundaries. The point is not to be the bigger person. The point is to be the better person. When you encounter your offenders at staff meetings or around the water cooler, smile and nod. Your unwavering kindness is your best friend in this situation. To practice kindness in the face of injustice might be seen as a weakness, but it’s not. It takes immense strength to shower others with love. Just ask Martin Luther King, Jr.

The way you worded your question indicates to me that you are a thoughtful, introspective person. Guard your thoughtfulness and self-reflection. Do not allow your humanity to be stripped away by the thoughtlessness of others. Oppression, in whatever form it takes, does not happen in a vacuum. It devours the soul of the oppressor more than the oppressed. It damages relationships and tears down bridges. The reversal of that culture of oppression and aggression is in your hands. Remember that the people being waging these verbal assaults are not waging them against you alone. They are instruments of racist/homophobic/sexist systems much larger than any one person or group of people. We are all complicity in some way to these complex systems. With that in mind, I advise you to be patient and merciful as you sow seeds of a more gentle, kind future.

Your Fellow Struggler,



Click through to read more about Broderick and our other Second Opinions panelists!


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Hi, I’m twelve, and the very first person I came out as bisexual to was my brother. He was totally cool about everything. I don’t know if he had enough perspective at the time (since he’s only nine) to really understand the magnitude, but all the same. Now, a few months later, I hear him saying “fag”, “homo”, and “gay” in derogatory ways all the time. Is it just one of those ‘I’m trying to be cool’ phases or does he really have a problem with it? If he has a problem, how can I confront him?”

-Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Nick Barsuli as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Nick Says:

Coming out to younger siblings reveals its own set of challenges (as well as rewards). The issue is typically that they hear a lot of things from all sides about what to do or say to “be cool” and “fit in” amongst friends at school. Because of that, it’s completely likely that he is just saying these things without knowing the negative connotations behind the words. Since you said he is the first person you came out to, it seems safe to assume you two are pretty close as siblings, so I’m sure he loves you just as much as you love him.

On that note though, I’d say having a talk with your brother about what he says and why it makes you uncomfortable would be a great jumping off point for how to deal with the situation. Many people (age aside) just don’t understand what is offensive and what is okay to say. In fact, I had a similar issue with my sister a couple years ago, and she was 17 at the time (and I’ve been out as gay to her for about 7 years now). I had to explain to her that what she was saying was offensive to me, and I explained why.

Now, I won’t say that the conversation will go the same way as in the movies, and your brother will apologize and hug you and say that he didn’t know, but he knows better now. In fact, my sister yelled at me and called me overly sensitive, and we fought a bit. The truth is that no one likes being told that they’re being rude or offensive. The trick is to bring it up in a way that doesn’t seem like you’re attacking him. Tell him you know he didn’t mean to hurt you, but the words he uses in a derogatory manner are still hurtful.

On the other side of things, if he actually isn’t okay with it, he might just need a little bit of time. Remember, however, that the important thing here is that YOU are comfortable with you. As he is your brother, know that he loves you still. He might not understand, but you just have to give him time to figure out what that means. Coming out to a younger sibling at an early age helps give them a reference point for all the things they’re being told around them. At that age, they’re still learning what “gay” and “bisexual” mean, and having someone they love whom they can mentally associate with certain descriptors helps them shape how they feel about those words.

You’ve already made a huge step in your life by feeling comfortable enough to come out to someone you care about, so congratulations! Remember that you have a strong support team for you if you ever need it.


Click through to read more about Nick and our other Second Opinions panelists!


, , , , , , , , , ,

"I’m fine with being gay, but I am also effeminate - my voice, my mannerisms, even the way I walk. People from within the gay community have told me that ‘I’m just making it harder for everyone else to be accepted,’ and people at school have been super accepting, but they still make fun of me for being girly. I am at the point where I don’t even want to raise my hand in class. I’m fine with being gay, but this is horrible. What do I do?"

- Question submitted by Ubuntu

Dannielle Says:

This is so many messed up things all in one.

First, the fact that anyone in the gay community is telling you not to be yourself because you’re making them look bad? FUCK. THAT. Nothing pisses me off more than ANYONE from ANYWHERE like EVER saying “stop being you, it’s making me look bad” … i’M SORRY WHAT? HOW ABOUT YOU FOCUS ON YOU AND I WILL FOCUS ON ME. ugh.

I want to move to your school friends for a second. Chances are, they think that making joke comments about the way you act / talk will show you just how comfortable. We all, at one point or another, make jokes to prove that we’re totally cool with whatever is going on.. I remember having a friend in college who was a gay man and he would make comments about how I was being “so dykey” AND I WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I didn’t have the wherewithall to say something, but if I were me now, I’d literally just be like, “listen, i know you don’t mean anything negative by saying that, but it makes me feel really weird for some reason and it would mean the world to me if you could make fun of my love for popstars or something instead.”

If your schoolmates are cool with you, they’re cool with you. It doesn’t sound like they’re trying to hurt you, it sounds like they’re trying to be funny and failing. SOOOOO… Just say something, don’t make them feel super shitty or anything, just let them know in a gentle and nice way, they’ll come around.

Kristin Says:

This question makes me want to flip all of the tables in my house over. I only have a kitchen table and a coffee table, so it wouldn’t be quite as dramatic as it sounds… BUT YOU GET MY POINT.

First of all: bullying is bullying is bullying (is being shitty is being mean is being inconsiderate is making people feel othered is deciding what is normal) is bullying is bullying. If you are out there and you think you are just ‘playing around’ with someone by pointing out things that you find to be ‘different’ from other people, hold on just a second and reflect on what you are doing. Do you know that the person you are joking around with is actually enjoying those jokes as well? Are you saying those jokes in front of other people who may not completely understand your sarcasm? Where does your sarcasm even come from, and is that a thing you want to emphasize in this world? These are important things for ALL of us to think about.

Second of all: If you have ever told someone else to not be themselves, to not express themselves, or to hide any piece or part of themselves because you were worried about your own reputation or the reputation of a community: shame on you. This fight, our fight, is about acceptance. That DOES NOT MEAN acceptance of things that still ‘seem normal,’ and it DOES NOT MEAN proving that ‘we’ can be just like ‘them.’ Don’t try to prove your sameness. Be yourself, and demand acceptance. Let others be themselves, and demand that they, too, be accepted.

Third: my advice (sorry for ranting). Regarding other LGBTQ people who knock you, I would advise you to speak some of those words I spoke above. Tell them they are fighting against themselves, and that you are always going to be you. If they don’t understand that, find the people who do — we are out here and we are plentiful. Regarding your schoolmates, I think it would be a really good move to pull a few of the people you trust the most aside and explain how you are feeling. Ask them to act as your ambassadors, so that you aren’t left with explaining everything to everyone. Tell those few, and, since you have been met with a certain level of acceptance already, see if that conversation can spread its wings and alert the others to the fact that their words are hurtful.

I understand why you would be afraid to raise your hand. Know, at the very least, that there are thousands of people reading this right now who would never say those hurtful words, and fight every day so that you can be you without having to feel those awful feelings.



, , , , , , , , , , , ,

"I’m getting bullied at my middle school because I dress like a boy (I’m a girl). No one has done anything physical, but people laugh and call me a dyke. I don’t want to dress differently, but I don’t know how to handle it. Help?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack

Justin Says:

That does not sound like a good time at all. I too got called names when I was younger, the F word being a favorite utterance of theirs as I would walk by on my way to class. I always assumed it was the clothes I wore, or the strange haircuts I had, or even the fact that I was in theater. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it was more about them than it was about me. Everyone is insecure about something at some point in their lives, particularly in middle school and high school. I tended to silently dwell on my personal stuff, while others felt the need to publicly shout obscenities at me in order to deal with theirs. Does this make it ok? Absolutely not. But it is something to think about.

My advice to anyone is: BE WHO YOU ARE. But I understand that it is WAY more complicated than that when you are in middle school. And people my age have a hard time remembering that. Some people are incredibly ignorant and have no idea how what they say can really hurt and haunt other people for a long time. I tried 3 different tactics: Confronting the word-lobbers with witty retorts of my own, ignoring them completely, and asking them nicely to stop. None of my tactics worked as well as I had hoped. It wasn’t until I found my own group of “weirdos” to be myself with, that I finally stopped being hurt by what others said, and realized that in the grand scheme of things… the name callers didn’t even matter.

But it is easy for me to say all this now, 20 years later, hindsight and all, telling you to bide your time, that it will get better. That doesn’t help you NOW, when it DOES still matter, and it IS a big deal. I was lucky to find a group of people that celebrated my differences when others were more interested in demolition. My advice is to seek out those types of people, who will compliment you on the way you dress, and high five your ideas, and make you feel good about being a fellow human being coexisting on planet earth. They are out there. They are real, and they exist, and they cannot believe there was ever a time when you weren’t a major player in the story of their lives.


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

"Hi! I work at BIGCORPORATECOFFEESHOP and recently my boss asked if we could bring our own mugs into work. Naturally, I brought in my Everyone is Gay travel mug. I was quickly pulled aside by my boss and asked to not bring in that mug again because others may see it as offensive. Do I just let it go and bring in a different mug? Or should I have a conversation with her about it since it makes me uncomfortable?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:


I would say something if I were you… no, that’s not true.. I would passive aggressively continue to bring in my EIG mug.

BUT THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO HANDLE THINGS. If I were you and I had the wits about me, I’d talk to my boss and say ‘Hey, I really love working here and I was a little concerned when you asked me not to bring in my mug, it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable so I was hoping we could talk about it’

If your boss is a decent human they’ll be like ‘sure-zies’ and you guys can talk and you can at least know boss’ reasoning. Boss might be right, I know if I had an ‘everyone is gay’ mug at the BIGCORPORATECOFFEESHOP in my home town it would offend A LOT of people. People would probably report me, make a fuss and stop going to that BIGCORPORATECOFFEESHOP. I’m wayyyy too passive agressive to deal with that and also I don’t deal well with confrontation, so I’d just be crying in a corner.

HOWEVER, I think deep down this isn’t about a mug and it is worth the conversation. Corporate things are weird and there are rules and dumb things and it’s never up to just one human. BUT YOU GUYS, if you have a conversation with your boss, perhaps you can have a convo with your boss’ boss and your boss’ boss’ boss. This is a good thing. Any opportunity to dialogue about issues that are important to you, IT IS A GOOD THING. Talk to boss. Tell boss your feelings and start to make a change in the BIGCORPORATECOFFEESHOP. This one conversaysh could lead to a world of awesome things that BIGCORPORATECOFFEESHOP could do for us gayheads.

Kristin Says:


Sorry, that is totally not the point.

So, here is my question: What is this about? Is it about the word “gay” on the mug, or is it about the implication that “everyone” is gay, and what, specifically is the policy that is being used to enforce you not using this mug? If no one is allowed to have mugs with other company logos, then FINE THEY WIN. If the reason that you cannot have this mug is because CoffeeBoss is worried that people might be uncomfortable with gaythings… then HOLD THE PHONE PEOPLE, NUH-FUCKIN-UH.

I think, if I were you, I would do the following:

1. Temporarily stop bringing the mug.

2. Arrange a meeting with CoffeeBoss, where you explain why you were offended, and where you ask why, specifically, you are being asked to not bring the mug into the store.

3. Get your employee handbook and look up the policies. Is there a policy that is supporting the actions of this boss? My GUT says prolly not – and in that case, you go back to CoffeeBoss and you have a discussion about this, and you PROLLY start bringing in that mug again bc… eff that.

4. If there is a policy that says you cannot bring gay things to work OR if CoffeeBoss still says no without a backing policy, then please send an email to  {drumroll please} SUPER GAY: Everyone Is Gay’s new superhero who can be reached at supergay [at] everyoneisgay [dot] com. We will help you figure it out and right the wrongs.

{high five}

Go team.