I wasn’t sure what to expect when I showed up for the interview but that’s not all that unusual. I’ve been a journalist for 30 years and I’m very comfortable talking to people about very personal aspects of their lives. Today, Artur was going to tell me about how discrimination impacted him in his workplace. This very confident man who had risen to a supervisory role started talking about incidents from years earlier. He had been passed over for promotion and didn’t think much of it until his female middle manager told him that the male supervisor didn’t like the way he acted, thought him too expressive. She took this to mean “too gay”. Artur is indeed comfortably out of the closet but didn’t think his sexuality had impacted the male supervisor’s decision. He simply didn’t believe that was the reason. A couple of years later he was passed over again. This time a different female middle manager parroted the words of the first female supervisor in telling him the male boss thought him too emotional for the job. He realized at that point that being gay was the reason he had been passed over. He says he agonized on what to do about it and finally decided to look for another job. As Artur told me about this time in his life, I could see his eyes start to well. He was still frustrated, still humiliated by the experience. He told me this incident had derailed his career and he struggled for years to overcome his depression over leaving a job he loved. He felt foolish that he hadn’t reported it and that his distaste for confrontation drove him from a job he was good at.
It is one of the more emotional moments from our AB1825 training film, although “training film” doesn’t do the project justice. This is a documentary style accounting of lives changed forever due to discrimination, harassment and retaliation and it is a roadmap for businesses that want to build a culture where everyone feels productive and safe. Check out the trailer and let us know how we can support your goals in HR.
Artur had served in supervisor roles and had helped other employees combat discrimination. He had intervened on behalf of others...how had he missed it when it was happening to him! That is a question that bothered and depressed Artur for many years to come. His experience is now helping others. In this video clip Artur describes how he is turning his own disappointment and derailment into something good for LGBT veterans.