Michael Sam: A Fictional Victory?

Despite what the narrative tells us, gays have an advantage in almost every social and financial area of American life. The NFL draft of openly gay football player Michael Sam further demonstrates this point. This week President Obama spoke of Sam, stating: "I really like the fact that Michael did it before the draft, because his attitude was, 'You know what? I know who I am. I know I can play great football and judge me on the merits,'"  The First Lady tweeted that Sam was an “inspiration to us all.”  The NFL stated via the SportsCenter twitter feed that they admired his honesty and courage. Jay Carney spoke for the White House stating that everyone “marveled” at his courage.

This brings up an interesting and significant narrative conflict. If a gay football player can receive such high and enthusiastic praise from the President of the United States, how is it that the coming out itself is courageous? Something just doesn't add up. Michael Sam represents gay people in the general workplace and liberal’s insistence that it is a hostile environment for them. His being drafted is historic because it is a step forward in ending gay discrimination.

Gallup conducted surveys here, here and here (2012 -- 2013) which concluded that around 59% of Americans (74% between 18 and 34) support same-sex relations. This is consistent with a Pew survey (2013) on the same topic. In the piece linked at the top of this article Gallup, Experian, and the Census Bureau concluded that gays make more money, have less debt, have a lower unemployment rate and better education than their straight counterparts. Yet an LA Times article titled: A rundown of LGBT workplace discrimination statistics concluded that 21% of LGBT employees reported experiencing discrimination in hiring, promotions, and pay.  The article states, citing the Williams Institute, one out of every 25 complaints made about workplace discrimination came from gays. The Williams Institute shows 37% of gays reporting discrimination overall.

The LA Times article quotes the percentage of Fortune 500 companies employing their own anti-discrimination policies protecting gays at 96% and the Williams Institute states 86% of federal contractors have such protections in place.

So the question is if the majority of Americans are comfortable with homosexuality, the vast majority of major companies self-regulate to protect LGBT employees and gays make more money and have less unemployment than straight people, where is all this discrimination coming from?  In a detailed analysis from the Williams Institute the data is presented as such: “In sum, this research shows that widespread and continuing employment discrimination against LGBT people has been documented in scientific field studies, controlled experiments, academic journals, court cases, state and local administrative complaints, complaints to community-based organizations, and in newspapers, books, and other media.” The study itself states that the results are provided by asking LGBT individuals if they had experienced discrimination within the last five years. This survey was published in 2011 and is the most recent available.  The five-year mark began at 2008 and before. What is interesting is that 10% of the responders indicated they were not “out” at work. 

Some examples of workplace discrimination provided by GLAD (Gay Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) include Considine v. Brookdale Senior Living who filed a lawsuit after she was denied the ability to include her wife on her employer- provided health plan (2013), D’Amico v. Cranston School Department where a teacher was denied family leave time to care for her partner (2008), and Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Co. where a man claimed  that coworkers shouted anti-gay slurs at him in English, Spanish, and Italian and was awarded $95,000 (2012).

One possible explanation of the high discrimination number is that a great many things directly, indirectly, or not involved at all with the employer can be counted.  The Huffington Post wrote in 2012 that discrimination costs businesses around $64 billion per year.  Why would a business actively promote or allow anti-gay discrimination when it is clearly a horrible business choice?

A subset of this data includes Transgendered individuals which have the highest reported discrimination, between close to 78% according to the Williams Institute and 90% according the above linked Huffington Post article. A comparable psychological possibility can be seen in the 2013 EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) African American Workgroup Report which states, for example: “…employees who feel that they have little chance of promotion are likely to have feelings of injustice.” and “…56 percent of African American employees reported "great" or "moderate" discrimination against African Americans on the job.” 

We can be fairly certain that employers are not intentionally discriminating against this level of black employees in 2013. A Gallup poll of blacks on the subject of race relations in 2013 revealed that 50% of black responders felt black- white relations were “always a problem” and 59% said they were unsatisfied with how blacks are treated in the U.S versus a 2013 Gallup poll showing 72% of whites feeling race relations were very good.

After looking at the conflicting data it is easy to see how liberals can cherry-pick points to prove their narrative of a hostile America towards gays.  But like the information provided by black individuals, there is clearly some confirmation bias happening. The vast majority of white people have no ill feelings towards blacks and yet blacks perceive a majority who wish to discriminate against them. In the same way the studies merely ask gay Americans if they feel discriminated against. As is implied with the shouts of victory due to the drafting of an openly gay NFL player, it seems gays may have a skewed view of how straight people think of them.

Is it possible that the expectation of discrimination mixed with the liberal affirmation of demanding one’s minority status always come first be at the root cause?  Would a man slowly transitioning into a woman over many months be burdened with oversensitivity to even the slightest stare or mumble? Are out and proud gays creating discomfort by perpetually demanding they feel hatred from individuals who simply wish to interact with them as every day people?

By aggressively celebrating a gay person achieving what straight people manage every day, we create an environment where gays require constant praise and support to feel validated. What Michael Sam represents is the height of liberal paranoia and bias. Through manipulation of surveys and polls they have convinced gays that straight people desire to discriminate against them and by being victorious over such obstacles is bravery at its finest. I am certain most do not care about this football player’s private life just as I am certain most do not care about anyone’s in the workplace. What the data seems to tell us is that gay people are doing pretty well, even if that reality does not fit their preferred narrative.

Chad Felix Greene (@Chadfelixg), author of Jewish Children’s Books, Non–Fiction and Social Commentary (www.chadfelixgreene.com)

Despite what the narrative tells us, gays have an advantage in almost every social and financial area of American life. The NFL draft of openly gay football player Michael Sam further demonstrates this point. This week President Obama spoke of Sam, stating: "I really like the fact that Michael did it before the draft, because his attitude was, 'You know what? I know who I am. I know I can play great football and judge me on the merits,'"  The First Lady tweeted that Sam was an “inspiration to us all.”  The NFL stated via the SportsCenter twitter feed that they admired his honesty and courage. Jay Carney spoke for the White House stating that everyone “marveled” at his courage.

This brings up an interesting and significant narrative conflict. If a gay football player can receive such high and enthusiastic praise from the President of the United States, how is it that the coming out itself is courageous? Something just doesn't add up. Michael Sam represents gay people in the general workplace and liberal’s insistence that it is a hostile environment for them. His being drafted is historic because it is a step forward in ending gay discrimination.

Gallup conducted surveys here, here and here (2012 -- 2013) which concluded that around 59% of Americans (74% between 18 and 34) support same-sex relations. This is consistent with a Pew survey (2013) on the same topic. In the piece linked at the top of this article Gallup, Experian, and the Census Bureau concluded that gays make more money, have less debt, have a lower unemployment rate and better education than their straight counterparts. Yet an LA Times article titled: A rundown of LGBT workplace discrimination statistics concluded that 21% of LGBT employees reported experiencing discrimination in hiring, promotions, and pay.  The article states, citing the Williams Institute, one out of every 25 complaints made about workplace discrimination came from gays. The Williams Institute shows 37% of gays reporting discrimination overall.

The LA Times article quotes the percentage of Fortune 500 companies employing their own anti-discrimination policies protecting gays at 96% and the Williams Institute states 86% of federal contractors have such protections in place.

So the question is if the majority of Americans are comfortable with homosexuality, the vast majority of major companies self-regulate to protect LGBT employees and gays make more money and have less unemployment than straight people, where is all this discrimination coming from?  In a detailed analysis from the Williams Institute the data is presented as such: “In sum, this research shows that widespread and continuing employment discrimination against LGBT people has been documented in scientific field studies, controlled experiments, academic journals, court cases, state and local administrative complaints, complaints to community-based organizations, and in newspapers, books, and other media.” The study itself states that the results are provided by asking LGBT individuals if they had experienced discrimination within the last five years. This survey was published in 2011 and is the most recent available.  The five-year mark began at 2008 and before. What is interesting is that 10% of the responders indicated they were not “out” at work. 

Some examples of workplace discrimination provided by GLAD (Gay Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) include Considine v. Brookdale Senior Living who filed a lawsuit after she was denied the ability to include her wife on her employer- provided health plan (2013), D’Amico v. Cranston School Department where a teacher was denied family leave time to care for her partner (2008), and Patino v. Birken Manufacturing Co. where a man claimed  that coworkers shouted anti-gay slurs at him in English, Spanish, and Italian and was awarded $95,000 (2012).

One possible explanation of the high discrimination number is that a great many things directly, indirectly, or not involved at all with the employer can be counted.  The Huffington Post wrote in 2012 that discrimination costs businesses around $64 billion per year.  Why would a business actively promote or allow anti-gay discrimination when it is clearly a horrible business choice?

A subset of this data includes Transgendered individuals which have the highest reported discrimination, between close to 78% according to the Williams Institute and 90% according the above linked Huffington Post article. A comparable psychological possibility can be seen in the 2013 EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) African American Workgroup Report which states, for example: “…employees who feel that they have little chance of promotion are likely to have feelings of injustice.” and “…56 percent of African American employees reported "great" or "moderate" discrimination against African Americans on the job.” 

We can be fairly certain that employers are not intentionally discriminating against this level of black employees in 2013. A Gallup poll of blacks on the subject of race relations in 2013 revealed that 50% of black responders felt black- white relations were “always a problem” and 59% said they were unsatisfied with how blacks are treated in the U.S versus a 2013 Gallup poll showing 72% of whites feeling race relations were very good.

After looking at the conflicting data it is easy to see how liberals can cherry-pick points to prove their narrative of a hostile America towards gays.  But like the information provided by black individuals, there is clearly some confirmation bias happening. The vast majority of white people have no ill feelings towards blacks and yet blacks perceive a majority who wish to discriminate against them. In the same way the studies merely ask gay Americans if they feel discriminated against. As is implied with the shouts of victory due to the drafting of an openly gay NFL player, it seems gays may have a skewed view of how straight people think of them.

Is it possible that the expectation of discrimination mixed with the liberal affirmation of demanding one’s minority status always come first be at the root cause?  Would a man slowly transitioning into a woman over many months be burdened with oversensitivity to even the slightest stare or mumble? Are out and proud gays creating discomfort by perpetually demanding they feel hatred from individuals who simply wish to interact with them as every day people?

By aggressively celebrating a gay person achieving what straight people manage every day, we create an environment where gays require constant praise and support to feel validated. What Michael Sam represents is the height of liberal paranoia and bias. Through manipulation of surveys and polls they have convinced gays that straight people desire to discriminate against them and by being victorious over such obstacles is bravery at its finest. I am certain most do not care about this football player’s private life just as I am certain most do not care about anyone’s in the workplace. What the data seems to tell us is that gay people are doing pretty well, even if that reality does not fit their preferred narrative.

Chad Felix Greene (@Chadfelixg), author of Jewish Children’s Books, Non–Fiction and Social Commentary (www.chadfelixgreene.com)

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