Have protocol and policies made it easier for the current-day-Gay to get promoted?
Within a decade, being Gay has gone from being outlawed to accepted and it's been quite the journey. The current-day-Gay has a lot less discrimination to deal with, but this wasn't always the case.
Our predecessors were used to hiding their sexuality in the workplace, scared it would hinder their income. But are the tables turning? I generally find that being gay gives me a professional advantage. But why?
Larger companies and public organisations are prone to strict Non-Discrimination policies. Example - They must employ a certain quota of disabled adults and ethnic/religious minorities, and being Gay is now another tick box. It seems that Gay Is The New Black (am I allowed to say that...?) and by admitting to loving ladies, I put myself in a strong position.
Take my last job for example. After just a year I found myself progressing, fast. Every promotion available and Boom... It was mine. Who gets first pick of holiday slots? Yours Truly. Do I fancy a week off for London Pride at short notice? Well you got it, lady, and have a luminous, fruity cocktail on us. My bosses and their invisible puppeteers were doing anything to keep me, and it didn't take long to figure out why.
It was because I'm gay. To them, I was a mark on a chart that proved to any auditor that they were an Equal Equality Workplace, and therefore my lady-loving tendencies put me top of the list for retention. I could do no wrong. But this got me thinking... Even though this may seem like a Golden Ticket, isn't this as bad as "back then", when being Gay would have prevented me progressing?
Whilst I wasn't complaining at first, I then considered my colleagues. They were hard working people, equally as qualified for promotion, not to mention infinitely more professional and punctual. (I get ritually distracted online at bedtime stalking unattainable Instagram lesbians and so getting up at 7am can be an issue).
Surely they were getting annoyed with me mincing my way up the ladder, Rainbow Coloured Cape flowing freely behind me? Weren't they as qualified as I was? Why was it always me who got preference? So I decided to ask them, and it turned out - They didn't hate the fact that I was gay... More power to me... What they resented was that I was consistently put before them because I counted as a minority. And we all agreed, this wasn't fair.
Now in order to test my theory, I decided to have a little fun. I was working for Local Government at the time so I figured, to prove my point, I'd apply for every job on the internal vacancy list and see how far I got. And guess how that turned out?
Five interviews in one week. That's how. Before I knew it, I found myself sat in front of the top professionals of the Government-Food-Chain, trying to keep a straight face as we all pretended I wasn't there because of my sexuality. These were jobs way out of my professional reach, far above my pay scale calling for a skill set that I could barely pronounce, yet there I was, wasting everyone's time. And we all knew why.
To them, it was protocol. Essential, even. As though my famous lesbian wrath would come raining down upon their heads if they didn't offer me the opportunity. Wouldn't I accuse them of discrimination? Shouldn't I be treated with kid gloves, for fear of some sort of dyke-driven disciplinary matter?
Well I felt, that even though this may have been in my favour, this was as bad as before. We're looking for equal rights, not special treatment! Personally, I want to get that promotion on my own merit, not because I like labia. But speaking to a lesbian friend within the UK NHS, where the same rules apply, she told me to pipe down and enjoy the perk.
So how do we feel about this advantage? Is it outrageous, or just karma evening out the score? I don't know how the future looks, but one thing is for certain... We want equality. Not special treatment, not "positive" discrimination. Just the freedom to be ourselves without our sexuality affecting anyone's opinion of us. Both personally, and professionally.