It’s been a while that I’ve been at the Pharm, and I swear my coworkers all know me as that one person who can’t stop singing. (It’s either that or the person who gets locked out of the system at least 20 times a shift because of a stupid mis-scan, but let’s leave it at the first one).
One my favorites to sing is Poli Genova’s “If Love was a Crime.” To most of the other coworkers at work it’s just a catchy/radio-friendly song with a slightly cheesy dance (thankfully there’s no footage of me singing in the plant) that they seem to like. To one coworker (which I’ll just call C), it sucks for a very good reason:
As one of three out non-straight people (the two others being me and a coworker “A”), C knows for certain how love is a crime in the USA. Even though the Supreme Court declared marriage equality in all 50 states on 6/26 last year, it’s still not the end of the debate. In 28 states including Michigan it’s still legal for companies to discriminate for sexual orientation, and the same goes for 32 states (also including Michigan) for gender identity. So in the worst case situation, a person could get denied a job, healthcare, maybe even housing, etc., especially in states with religious freedom acts (*glares at Mississippi*). I’ll also throw in that in some cases you could say that love used to be a crime (e.g. Loving v. Virginia, 1967) with interracial relationships. Thankfully all the places I’ve worked at have had a non-discrimination policy, so that’s not an issue at work, so love itself isn’t a crime in this situation. It can, however, lead to crimes. Stuff like what happened on 6/26 this year.
And that’s what happened to C. Long story short (since he’s not telling the full story), C had a significant other for a while. The two were out to very few people, and everyone thought they were friends/roommates/brothers. One day the SO died (most likely from some person slipping something into his drink at the bar), and C’s life fell apart. The death was ruled as accidental and C’s memorial tattoo for the SO got ruined. It’s been almost a year, and it’s taken until now for him to tell the story.
I keep thinking about C’s story and what I should do with my own relationship/orientation (or lack thereof). What if I don’t tell enough people and my SO dies like C’s SO? Thankfully I don’t have to be completely in the closet. I’ve pretty much told everyone I know at school about being ace to the point that this happened on National Coming Out Day:
Me (wearing an ace flag hat): Hey, no one’s noticed my hat so far today!
Classmate: No, everyone noticed the hat, but no one cares anymore. That would be because you wear that hat ALL THE TIME.
Most people at school have gotten the point: Love is not a crime. But at the same time, I can’t tell my family about the situation and still can’t be out, so it still feels like a crime…