One of the first major times I was discriminated against for being gay was when I worked at Walt Disney World.

On the first day, my roommate told me that she was a proud supporter of LGBTQ people and would be working with the Orlando Pride parade. After I came out to her, she went behind my back and lied about the things I said to and about her in order to get me either kicked out or fired from the Disney College Program. She said that I had made comments about her “flesh” and had insulted her when she said she’d be volunteering at the Pride parade.

I was called in to my apartment complex’s HR department the day after move-in and told that I shouldn’t tell people about my sexuality because “these people are not your friends.” The obligatory third-party who sat in the room with us agreed, and she told me she waited until she was engaged to her boyfriend before telling any of her coworkers that they were dating because she “didn’t want anybody to assume anything.”

I knew at the time that these were not comparable, but I was scared by the idea of my roommate saying things like this about me, and more scared of what she might do when we saw each other again. Although the Disney workbook guidelines specifically stated that in roommate quarrels, the plaintiff is the one who must move, I was “highly encouraged” to go to a new complex, start over, and keep my mouth shut about my sexuality.

And I did. Because I was scared and young and alone and had never dealt with this before. I had been spat at before, and I’d had schoolmates try to push me off of bleachers, but I had never, in my wildest dreams, expected to find this kind of treatment at Disney World.

It wasn’t until after I moved that I realized the bullshit of what I had went through — the injustice, the ignorance, the fake care. I had been pushed out of a home I’d barely gotten to live in because my very existence made my straight roommate uncomfortable.

And I’m telling this story because I think it ties in closely with why I’m so worried now. This happened to me at a company that prided itself on its acceptance of LGBTQ people and made sure we knew that employees could not be discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity. But this still happened. This still happened. And it’s not even the worst thing that could have happened. In Ohio, I could legally lose my job if my employer decided to fire me for being gay. There are LGBTQ people who are being actively murdered in our own country. What I experienced was not the worst thing that could have happened, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t bullshit.

What happened then made me scared. I didn’t know who I could trust, and though I was still defiantly and stubbornly out, that didn’t mean I wasn’t always wary and watchful. I’m proud now that I stayed out, and that I am allowed to get married, and that I have parents who have spectacularly supported me since I came out in 2008. But I am scared again.

We now have a president-elect who says he wants to reverse the Obergefell v. Hodges decision and wants to take away my ability to marry the person I love. We have a vice president elect who says that he supports conversation therapy. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I have a right to be scared. I am justified in being devastated about these results. I have been literally kicked, spat at, and had my life threatened for being gay. And now I have a president elect who won’t fight against that.

So yes, this election was important to me. And that’s only touching on the LGBT issues. It doesn’t even get into why I’m scared as a woman or why I’m scared for my Latinx family and friends or why I’m scared for everyone. And of course I’m going to fight tooth and nail to keep my rights and the rights of others, but that does not change the fact that I am scared.

One comment on “One of the first major times I was discriminated against for being gay was when I worked at Walt Disney World.

  1. jbgarner58 says:

    I share that fear. I really can’t think of what else to say past that.

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