‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ in the workplace?


The enigmatic Rep. Steve King (R-IA) sat down with ThinkProgress earlier this week, and the issue of discrimination against gays came up. To avoid such discrimination, Congressman King recommended that gays not be gay:

You have private sector businesses here and they need to have freedom to operate. In the first place, I would think that unless someone makes their sexuality public, it’s not anybody’s business, so neither is it our business to tell an employer who to hire. He won’t know who to discriminate against in the first place.

Think about what that would entail. Anyone at your job ever recap the great vacation he just had with his wife, or have to leave the office early because her husband couldn’t pick up the kids from school? Anyone ever been invited to a company party, and oh, yes, you can bring your significant other along, sure! Anyone reading this ever heard a co-worker mention his fiancée and their wedding plans? (Guilty as charged.)

Forget even saying anything – anyone reading this ever seen a picture of someone’s wife, husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend just sitting there on someone’s desk?

We went through all this during the debate over the eventual “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, and the notion that Congressman King – with his rather lengthy track record of anti-LGBT stances and homophobic comments while wanting similar protections for himself – would continue making the argument that such a policy would work in the private sector isn’t that surprising. But still, anyone remotely acquainted with the notions of heteronormativity and hetero privilege knows that telling a gay person to not be gay means telling them not to be who they are, for the sake of not making prejudiced people uncomfortable.

Some might consider Congressman King’s stance ironic, given that he represents a state in which same-sex marriage is legal. Perhaps that’s why, as the Des Moines Register reported this week, the National Organization for Marriage’s recently-released confidential memos reveal that they wanted King as their point man in Iowa to fight for a repeal. Read that report here, and what else that caught my eye today:

What are you all reading this morning? The thread is yours.

'Don't ask, don't tell' in the workplace?