Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Discriminating on the grounds of sexuality

Well, here we have another nominee. This time, it's a woman. I think. Hard to tell from the picture that accompanied the article I read. Tracy Jarman, the Fire Chief in San Diego. Jarman, a lesbian, decided that it would be a "fun event" if the fire department would take part in the City's Gay Pride parade.

On a volunteer basis, of course. Oh, except for those firefighters who say they were ordered to attend. But I guess they don't count.

At any rate, at this "fun event", they were subjected to comments from the crowd along the lines of "show me your hose" and "give me mouth to mouth". Later, the men allege, when they obviously were not replying in kind, they were subjected to increasingly hostile comments.

And of course they were forced to watch as bystanders rubbed their crotches (their own, I assume and not those of the firemen), blew kisses at the firemen, and so on.

Yeah, that's my idea of a good time. Good clean family fun.

It's bad enough that the men felt as if they were being forced to attend this idiotic bacchanal. But the thought that crossed my mind was that there have been- as yet- no repercussions for Jarman, who clearly subjected these men to a hostile environment. If she were a man, and this was a parade celebrating heterosexuality, then the fire chief would have already been dismissed from the job. But of course, she's both a woman and a lesbian. Therefore, she's safe. Because we all know that women are incapable of sexual harassment, and of course no lesbian could (or would) ever discriminate against men.

Realistically, I wonder if she knows that she likely only got the job because as a lesbian, she hit the jackpot- a minority on two counts, her gender and her sexuality. But I have no doubt she's well aware of it- her status is far too useful for someone looking for an appointed job in government.

None of which is to imply that she's completely unqualified. She might be terrific, and could have been the best candidate out there. But of course, one of the wonders of "affirmative action" and similar programs is that there's always that lingering doubt. More likely, she was a slightly qualified candidate, who's skills were exceeded by any number of heterosexual white men, but she was picked over them.

At any rate, she clearly is lacking in judgement. As I said, if this were a male putting this kind of pressure on gays or women in his department, he would be lynched. But she'll likely get away with it. My best hope is that the men will win their lawsuit, and the City will be forced to apologize and promise never to subject anyone to such harassment again. But this being California, I wouldn't bet on any of that happening.

So for volunteering some of her subordinates to take part in an event which is completely based in sexuality, where one man yelled at them "blow my hose"- a clearly inappropriate sexual comment- I nominate Chief Tracy Jarman for this week's "WTF were they thinking?' award.

1 comment: said...

I'll second that.