"I object to how my gay coworker decorates his office."
Why does my coworker in the adjacent cubicle have to display so many things that say ‘gay’? He’s got a gay rainbow flag, several photos of himself and his partner, and even a poster from the movie Milk. It’s a gay-friendly office, so I’m not sure why he has to be so loud about it. By the way, I’m not alone here; some of the other straight guys here feel the same way.
Here’s what I’m wondering: Why do you need to display so many things that say “straight”? Okay, that was rude—sorry—but do you see what I mean? Don’t you or your straight colleagues put up art or knickknacks that in one way or another show people “being” heterosexual? Pictures of girlfriends or boyfriends perhaps? What about a movie poster with, say, Jennifer Lopez or Jennifer Aniston? Or that plaque on your office wall commending you for years of service to the Boy Scouts of America, which prohibits gays from participating either as members or leaders?
My point is that many of the objects we’re used to seeing around—and read as neutral—actually do convey lots about us and our identities. You may not be aware of what your decor says to others, and he may not be aware about what his says to you. Instead of stewing about it, why not walk around that cube wall, ask him to coffee, and start up a conversation about some of these issues? But, first, take a quick look around your own space as well as those of your straight coworkers, because those who live in glass cubicles shouldn’t throw . . . well, you know.
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