Donnerstag, 16. Dezember 2010

Asking and Telling

I have given my fingerprints and my academic history. I have listed every person with whom I have ever lived and in which cities we resided. I have described myself, given photos of myself, filled out questionnaires about the mental faculties and medical histrories of myself and my family. I have had two physicals, a TB test and discussed what an inability to reproduce means to me. So why is it, then, that our social workers blush, clear their throats and ask our pardon when they ask the question "So how would you describe your sex life?"
Our lives our open books and rightly so. We are adopting a child and the people responsible for attesting to our soundness want to know everything about us. Issues in our bed may well become issues in our home, so questions about our sex-life makes sense. When I apply for Swiss citizenship, bureaucrats will not only question myself and my husband, but also my references, friends and co-workers about my sex-life. This too makes sense. The natuaralizers need to know if my relationship is on the up-and-up and that I did not simply marry for the red passport.
I have never and cannot anticipate ever being in a situation in which my employer asks after my sexuality or sex life. When working with Planned Parenthood, the most intimate question was "do you feel safe in your home?". When working on a project for a domestic violence shelter for same sex couples, I was not asked about my sex-life or sexuality. So why do the government and the military feel that they have the right to make their employees sex-life their business. Why are they illegally ferreting out details in order to remove their soldiers from their posts?
Our California social worker has worked for the city for 30 years. In her daily attempts to help children live happier lives, I am sure that she has seen things that I would never let myself imagine. In removing children from homes and placing them in others, she has seen much that would typically be kept "behind closed doors". Nevertheless, she sat at our dining table and blushed from embarrassment, when asking about our sex life.
She needn't be ashamed. She is our social worker. I do, however, say shame on any government or military official, who would believe that the sex-lives of their employees is any business of theirs. Shame on asking, shame on telling, shame on the discrimination and bigotry that would stop Americans from serving their country.

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