Sexuality in the workplace

Ciera Williams

Here is what we know: Michael Sam was recently cut by the St. Louis Rams in what is being referred to as a pure “football decision.” We can only speculate why he was released. Maybe his skill level was not up to par. Despite a decent line of stats in the preseason, there are plenty of men who will play ahead of him. This is understandable. Some people may think his lifestyle brought too many unwanted ESPN reporters to the locker room. This is wild considering he’s been thrust into the limelight despite refusing a reality show about his first NFL season and constantly stating that he wants others to focus on the football, not his sexuality.

We don’t know anything for sure. All we have is maybes. Lucky for him, the Dallas Cowboys have decided to give Sam a chance as a practice player. The “media circus” is nothing new to Jerry Jones and company.

What I do know, however, is that the rights of LGBTQ folks in the workplace have long been violated. There is no federal law explicitly banning firing people based on their sexuality or gender expression. That is, you can legally be let go for coming out to your boss. This is something many people take for granted.

Imagine this scenario. It is your first day of work. Your spouse and two children are extremely proud of you. You want to put a family picture on your desk because they are your pride and joy. When asked to create a bio for the company website, you want to include your most exciting accomplishments. When Christmas comes, you want to invite your wife to the company party. You want all these things, but you realize you probably shouldn’t. You conclude it would be best to sacrifice parts of you to make others comfortable. This is an ongoing reality for many in the LGBTQ community.

Working in a safe environment should be an undeniable right. I should have the option of whether or not I want to disclose personal details. These details will not affect your daily life at all. It is a shame that we, as a society, ask those who stray from the mainstream lifestyle (heterosexual, Christian, etc.) to compromise their behavior in order to make others feel comfortable. You can have your opinions, but your opinions should not desecrate my entire existence.

Ciera Williams is a junior sports management major.