One Equal World

Posts Tagged ‘bullying

A road sign that reads, "Silicon Valley."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

More than two thousand adults in the United States responded to the “Tech Leavers Study,” a survey issued and analyzed by the Kapor Center for Social Justice, an Oakland-based organization. Respondents were selected for having left a job in the tech sector since 2013.

One of the primary aims of the study was to research what kept LGBT workers in or out of tech industries. The results were depressingly predictable.

More than any other minority group, LGBT people are still likely to be bullied out of the tech sector.

“People may think of Silicon Valley as a generally progressive place, but unexamined bigotry can still be pervasive,” study lead author Allison Scott, Ph.D., the chief research officer at the Kapor Center, said in an email to the Bay Area Reporter.

The study found that bullying and hostile work environments were pervasive, but that LGBT employees were the most common target. One in four were the target of rude behavior, another quarter report being publicly humiliated. Nearly two thirds of the LGBT subjects of the survey reported that they had left their tech job because of bullying from coworkers or superiors. As many reported that they would have stayed, if the company had done anything to address the behavior.

Perhaps more broadly meaningful, the study’s results looked at average training and severance costs to estimate that this bully-driven turnover costs the industry around $16 billion every year, more when it’s taken into account how many victims leave the industry entirely, taking all of their lifelong potential for output with them.

“For many years, we were unable to get anyone’s attention to the issues of diversity. This report is incredibly timely and important because if we don’t accurately diagnose the problems, we won’t be able to craft effective solutions,” said Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D., a co-chair of the Kapor Center for Social Justice. Companies can look to this study and others like it to provide focus to their own solutions.


The premise of MTV’s new show, “Faking It,” is very basic—two teenage girls pretend they are a lesbian couple to become popular in high school. This offbeat premise allows for “high school stories that feel really fresh and different,” according to an interview between executive producer Carter Covington and TVLine.

You can watch MTV’s trailer below:

“The show feels very unique and very current. I am very happy about that,” he adds.

Even when the show was first announced, it received many detractors but Covington says there is an inspirational message behind it. Although there is still drama to the show, the story has much more complexity as well.

For example, the show has a number of scenes that are non-confrontational yet uncomfortable. They make the watcher questions whether or not they should be offended, as in the scene below quoted by FlavorWire:

“In one scene the girls’ nemesis/Amy’s stepsister Lauren (Bunheads‘ Bailey Buntain) outs (ins?) the “couple” by screeching, ‘They are mocking the gay rights movement!’ Again, she’s right, but Faking It doesn’t care. There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek dialogue in Faking It that misses the mark and just feels tone-deaf.”

The show could also be off-putting because in high schools across the country, gay high-schoolers are bullied and persecuted, not seen as the path to popularity. Glossing over this fact could easily become offensive to viewers, especially those with personal experiences.

Will the show get past its initial shaky moments? Perhaps. But for now, it’s certainly treading a thin line.

LGBT workplace discrimination

The overwhelming majority of states have no laws against workplace discrimination of LGBTs.
Image: Shutterstock

Same-sex marriage victories that have been slowly cropping up around the country have cast a shadow over the deep-seated homophobia that lurks in the culture of our lawmakers and government. This is not an overly harsh assessment of the state of human rights in America, but an accurate one. What word other than ‘homophobia’ would better describe the impossibly slow crawl towards equality for LGBT people, what better word is there to describe the majority of Republicans who oppose equal rights for LGBTs?

It is the year 2013 and people can still be discriminated against in the workplace for being openly gay or lesbian, with no legal penalty to their harasser. It is the year 2013 and gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual people can be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The message this sends to LGBTs is that they live in a country where their government doesn’t want to protect them. It is a disturbing reality for far too many people.

According to the Human Rights Campaign,

“Qualified, hardworking Americans are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender. There is no federal law that consistently protects LGBT individuals from employment discrimination…As a result, LGBT people face serious discrimination in employment, including being fired, being denied a promotion and experiencing harassment on the job.”

This very issue is an incredibly hot button topic in Washington right now, where “legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is on the cusp of securing a filibuster-crushing supermajority of 60 senators,” reports David Hawkings. He goes on to detail how Four Republicans have announced their support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, along with 51 of the current Democrats.” This is not the first time that Republicans have “crossed over” politically to support Democratic initiatives; political strategist Kenneth Mehlman is a shining example of how a conservative Republican can still prioritize LGBT rights.

We may have a government that operates in a bipartisan fashion, but Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on basic human rights. With more Republicans crossing over to support traditionally Democratic issues, hopefully the day where human equality will be paramount in all legislative measures will come soon.

Magic Johnson doesn’t need another reason to rock, really. But now he’s given us another one. The Los Angeles Lakers legend isn’t just one of the greatest players in NBA history—he’s also a proud dad of a gay son. Magic’s son, Earvin Johnson III (EJ for short) recently went public with his boyfriend and he’s got the full support of his parents behind him.


“Cookie and I love EJ and support him in every way,” said Magic. “We’re very proud of him.”


In a time when being a member of the LGBT community is becoming more socially acceptable yet parents are still disowning children for being gay, we’re glad that such a huge American icon is choosing to be a leader and role model on the issue. Every parent should have the same response and offer the same support of their children—whether they’re gay, straight, queer, transgendered, or just figuring it out—but unfortunately we know that’s not always the case.


It’s not just that Magic is supportive of his son that makes this occurrence newsworthy. It’s the fact that Magic Johnson has long been in the public spotlight and could easily have had a negative or vague response rather than embracing his son. Think Tracy Morgan’s 2011 homophobic comments during a Nashville performance.


“Gays need to quit being p—sies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying,” Morgan reportedly said, adding, “Gay is something that kids learn from the media and programming.”


Then he went even further, discussing what he would do if his son ever acted gay. He “better talk like a man and not in a gay voice or I’ll pull a knife out and stab that little n—ger to death,” he said.


Morgan then said, “I don’t f-cking care if I piss off some gays, because if they can take a f-cking d-ck up their ass… they can take a f-cking joke.” Unfortunately for Morgan, he did piss off “some gays” and the rant has plagued him and his career ever since.


So the fact that Magic Johnson has openly embraced his son just as he is stands to be recognized. That’s the kind of acceptance and love every kid deserves from their parents. So let’s keep raising up those who demonstrate it.


The Advocate reports that American and British LGBT youth face bullying at similar rates. The piece compares key statistic garnered from two sources  Human Rights Campaign, “Growing up LGBT in America” and Stonewall/Cambridge University Centre for Family Research, “The School Report 2012”.

Of the 1,614 LGBT youth across Britain interviewed for “The School Report,” 53% reported being verbally abused and 16% reported being physically assaulted. “Growing Up LGBT in America” found 51% suffered verbal abuse, while 17% were physically assaulted.

The Human Rights Campaign piece found that 92% of LGBT youth heard negative messages about being gay, while the Stonewall survey reported 99% of British gay youth heard homophobic language in schools.

The Stonewall report details the effects of this abuse. It found 23% of the British LGBT youth had attempted suicide and 56% had deliberately harmed themselves. This compares with the estimates of from 1 in 10 to 1 in 15 for the general youth population in Britain.

One small bright spot from the Stonewall report: the number reporting verbal abuse has dropped 10% since 2007. While both reports paint a grim, if improving picture for gay youth, both also offer concrete proposals for change.