I just got back from my recent Atlanta trip for training and I have a couple of stories. The first one deals with my classmates and I will talk here.
Previously I have had really good experience with a lot of coworkers at training when they found out I was married to a man. Either they would still be outwardly friendly and nothing would change, or if they didn’t like it, they still had that weird “you might be gay, but we work together” attitude, which meant we wouldn’t have any issues, we just wouldn’t hang out.
In the past I have always gotten invited out by other people int eh class. I am a shy person, but I would ensure that at least one day each week that I would go out and get to know people. I hate networking, but our agency and the federal government is rife with it, so I do it just in case something happens later.
However this time was different. This is the first time I have gotten the “ghost fade” combined with the “ignore what is happening” response. Not everyone did this, there were still some friendly people, and I appreciate that. However, the first day I got into the hotel I met three of my coworkers and we hung out at the hotel, even went to the stupid “happy hour” they have.
I can’t tell you how much I hate happy hours, they are horrifically forced situations that I have to talk to people about sports, or about how cool the military is, both of which I find unappealing (except for some Seattle teams, I do sometimes go for that).
The three of them though were really cool, chatted me up and down and wanted to go out to eat a couple times during the week. The next morning during the first day of class they were still really friendly, chatting during class, etc. That is until one of my actual coworkers who was in training as well asked how Wolsey was doing.
At first the three just had a weird look at Wolsey’s name. It isn’t a common name anyways so I don’t think they quite caught it. At this point I had gotten so used to my actual office and their acceptance of Wolsey that I didn’t even think twice about the looks the three of them had.
A little while later my actual office coworker mentioned husband and the three of them froze as if time had stopped. I knew at this split second what was going on. They hadn’t realized I was in a same sex marriage, and just stared at me.
For the next two days they wouldn’t talk to me other than what we had to do in class, and they didn’t sit in the same spot in the cafeteria/restuarant area either. It was quiet, and they didn’t once say anything negative to me, but even I can tell a ghost fade when I see one.
Funny enough I was talking to my office coworker on Wednesday the transgender word came up. Once they heard that they wouldn’t look at me at all. It was as if I didn’t exist, or perhaps I am the scariest thing in the world. I realize sometimes people are caught off guard and need to retreat for awhile, this wasn’t like that though.
I am still new to a lot of this LGBTQ things that occur. I haven’t had this happen often and it resulted in my being annoyed. I can sometimes be petty, and I pushed that petty button while I was there. For the next day and a half I kept talking loudly about transgender rights, about how happy I was married to my husband (more than the normal amount I talk about every day), etc. Each time they were more and more uncomfortable.
Karma was hard on them, I ended up sitting next to one of them each time we rode the bus back and forth to the hotel (that would be four trips, I got one of them twice, and each of the others once).
Do I feel bad, no I really don’t. I think bigotry should be painful. Do I worry about the “networking”? Not really, I have my family’s self-destructive seed of not really caring to know people that I don’t like. This insulates me from that worry.
There was a high note for this, I was once again reminded that I am I glad that I work at my office because of their accepting of Wolsey and I. I might have other issues, but I really appreciate that people are supportive, or at the very least they keep it to themselves.
Well that is my first story from Atlanta for the 2016 summer!