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Complaint over charity’s gay-only job advert

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  1. Sister Mary clarence 11 Mar 2010, 3:48pm

    “This position for a helpline worker and administrator requires the person to answer the helpline and speak to people who have often suffered terrible emotional damage.”

    Last time I checked some straight people can actually do that too.

    We’d all be up in arms if the situation was reversed and it was a straights only job ad.

  2. The charity should register as a religion.

    Then there could be no complaints as religions are not bound by equality legislation.

  3. not yet! but sooooon

  4. I don’t agree. The helpline down here in Brighton is staffed only by LGBT folk and I don’t think they would take on anyone who isn’t. As the articles states, there are exceptions in law, such as those for women only in refuges and the like. I had to use a London helpline many years ago and I definitely wouldn’t have phoned if I thought the person on the other end of the phone was straight. I doubt very much that a helpline for people of colour would employ a white person either, purely because a white person won’t have the same perspective as a person of colour, that applies to an LGBT person in the same way.
    It’s not comparable, either, to the clergy demanding that they should only employ only heterosexual people.

  5. The Halcyon 11 Mar 2010, 4:02pm

    It was bound to happen eventually. I’m not sure these job ads fall under the G.O.R. rules in the strictest sense of the word but genuine empathy would be required if the hotline/support line were aimed at LGB people.

  6. A difficult one this. It’s easy to say straight couldn’t do the job because some could. I can see that a gay/lesbian etc person would be more suitable but lets not discriminate there’d be plenty of gay people who wouldn’t be able to do this job. I guess it might come at a time when so many people are looking for work that maybe they feel they need to be more specific so that the people more suited would apply.

    It’s a tricky one but I do see the argument from both sides.

  7. It’s heterophobia. If it were the other way around, I’d report them for discrimination.

  8. AngieRS: No 4: “It’s not comparable, either, to the clergy demanding that they should only employ only heterosexual people. ”

    Agreed. I think outreach workers at an LGBT charity probably should be LGBT themselves. It’s obviously not essential but it would seem advantageous to be.

    However thanks to the fact that gay people are NOT protected from discrimination by religious employers, this new case could be used to turn the tables.

    It we are not protected from discrimination by equality legislation then I fail to see why LGBT employers need to act any differently when hiring staff.

  9. No 7: Tsuchan: “It’s heterophobia. If it were the other way around, I’d report them for discrimination.”

    Well not if you’re a gay teacher at a catholic school who’s been fired for their sexual orientation. Then you’re not covered.

  10. I think the fact that only one single person has complained demonstrates how petty this whole thing is.

    At the end of the day the majority of people aren’t going to apply for a job if they don’t feel they have the experience to do it. I mean, if you had never even so much as touched drugs would you be equipped to work for a charity that works with drug addicts?

  11. The interesting thing about this story is the fact it IS a story based on the complaint of just one person. I wonder if this story will help lead to more complaints purely on the basis of hearing this story.

    Also if this had been reversed and it had been a job advertised for a straight person, would it have taken just One complaint from a LGBT person to get into the ‘straight’ press? My bet is it would have had to be compalints in droves before it stood a chance of being recognised.

    I think the thing to remember to all those saying it wouldn’t be toleranted if it was in reverse is that still today many people will be refused a job on the basis of them being gay.

  12. It’s irrelevant that only one person has complained – cases like this are used to set a precedence in law.

    If they can prove that only a gay person can do the job fair enough – but I don’t believe that’s true (and it kind of undermines our: ‘gays are just like everyone else’ line)

    Also, for a councillor to go into details of their own sexuality with a client is unethical and irrelevant. How would the callers ever know if they were gay or straight.

    I think the main reason rape councellors are women is not because they better understand the situation, but because some rape victims would find the presence of a man threatening.

  13. “if this had been reversed and it had been a job advertised for a straight person, would it have taken just One complaint from a LGBT person to get into the ‘straight’ press?”

    Of course it would. I get your point that gay people are still covertly denied employment but the press would do anything for a story – it would definitely make the news

  14. According to the Intercom Trust, poster number ten, and I assume you to be aka PinkPasty, you are a registered sex-offender. Would you like to explain how you came to be on the register but don’t make mention of it on that youtube link? Your use of Peter Tatchell’s name is shared by Intercom Trust so that diminishes your post somewhat. This is the Intercom Trust’s statement about you,

  15. Very difficult, but whilst someone who doesn’t have children can offer advice on parenting, and someone who isn’t married can offer marriage guidance, using theory. Surely there is no subsitute for real experience and hence the ability to empathise.

  16. I was unsure about this at first but after reading the whole article i agree with it
    Obviously knowing what someone has gone through is difficult from reading from a sheet and finding an appropriate answer like in a call centre

  17. Sister Mary clarence 11 Mar 2010, 6:30pm

    We’ve been fighting for equality for many years and I think people seem to be happy to ditch it.

    This is not equal opportunity and it is disappointing that so many people do not recognise it.

    Any employer could if they chose use an argument against equality – lot of lifting, too heavy for a woman, customers are mostly white, wouldn’t be able to relate to a black person serving them, a lot of stairs, not fair on someone in a wheelchair.

    The person spec should details the attributes necessary for the post, as with any job, and it should do so without discriminating against any section of society.

  18. Sounds like a lot of LGBT “Do as we say, not as we do.” to me.

  19. It seems a reasonable exception to non-discrimination policies, especially in the case of the helpline worker. “reasonable” being the operative word.

    It’s as if I, as a man, sought out a job to counsel women about what it is to be a woman in a male-dominated society.

    I don’t think it’s heterophobia at all.

  20. I don’t think its reasonable to exclude straight people from this job. People who work with homeless drug addicts aren’t required to have first hand experience of either of the above in order to be considered for the job. Double standards do my head in.

  21. Mihangel apYrs 11 Mar 2010, 7:58pm

    Initial, gut reaction, is that it takes a queer to counsel one, but that opens the question of a gay man dealing with a yoiung lesbian, or vice versa, or with a bisexual person.

    I really see no problem with anyone applying, but a good sift and interview will identify people how can actually do a good job

  22. Dave North 11 Mar 2010, 9:41pm

    Having been one.

    Interviewers tend to choose the candidate that they want to work with, whilst weighing up the pros and cons of their skill set.

    It’s an absolute swine trying to agree with this stance given our own comments, re. the likes of the Laddelle woman and her refusal to perform civil partnerships.

    I think if a heterosexual is deemed capable of doing the task, then they should be given the opportunity until deemed incapable.

    Given the screaming for rights from our side of the coin, the last thing we want to do is introduce heterosexual discrimination.

  23. Pumpkin Pie 11 Mar 2010, 11:04pm

    But Intercom Trust executive director Dr Michael Hall said that requirement was parallel to a rape crisis centre only employing women.

    End of story. I just don’t see how you can argue against that, and none of the dissenting opinions on this page have made me think otherwise.

    We’re talking about people who may be in very dire situations here, people who may be very vulnerable and even reticent to seek help in the first place. It does not matter how well a straight person could do the job – if somebody who has been victimised and abused by straight people knows this charity employs straight counsellors, they’re not going to come in for help at all. In that way, a straight person really couldn’t do the job as well as a gay person, because they wouldn’t even be able to attempt it.

    The comparison to a rape crisis centre isn’t entirely misleading. Although only a small percentage of calls this charity gets will be as serious as the routine goings on at a rape crisis centre, they still do exist and it is for these eventualities that they need to plan.

    The comparisons to construction work or a restaurant/bar/shop are entirely misleading. Construction equipment cannot refuse to be wielded by a woman. The laws of physics in fact dictate that anybody of sufficient strength can move it, be they male or female. In an establishment such as a shop, they are not dealing with vulnerable people who desperately, emotionally need to pick up a packet of crisps. In this case, it would benefit only the company’s profits to pander to their customers in such a way. This sort of exploitation definitely would be discrimination. And I think you’ll find disabled people are routinely turned down for jobs that they literally cannot physically do. Wherever possible, workplaces should be arranged to suit the needs of disabled workers, but it’s not discrimination if it’s actually impossible.

  24. Good
    I also agree with SimonM
    this is about helping people and many heteros won’t understand

  25. Sister Mary clarence 12 Mar 2010, 10:58am

    It is incredible the weak arguments people are putting forward to justify discrimination and yet they apparently can’t see it.

    What if a REALLY camp straight guy applied for the job, one that everyone actually thought was gay, but had a wife and six kids at home?

    Any good folks?

  26. “The person spec should details the attributes necessary for the post, as with any job, and it should do so without discriminating against any section of society. ”

    But considering that religious employers will be legally allowed to discriminate against LGBT people when hiring and firing, then I really fail to see why LGBT emmployers need to be strictly bound by equality laws either.

    The religious opt out from equality legislation makes the legislation effectively useless as it opens the door for other groups to demand exceptions from it.

    If a religious employer is allowed to discriminate then I really don’t see why an LGBT employer is not allowed to use the same reasoning to discriminate.

  27. “it is incredible the weak arguments people are putting forward to justify discrimination and yet they apparently can’t see it.”

    Yes the justifications for discrimination are very weak.

    But so what.

    Religions are entitled under equality legislation to discriminate. That makes an absolute mockery of the equality legislation, so I really don’t see why this charity should feel duty bound to follow it.

  28. Sister Mary clarence 12 Mar 2010, 11:58am

    My point I think … two wrongs do not make a right

  29. Having experienced the slimy Michael Hall, and been on the receiving end of his vitriol, I can confirm that pink pasty is correct. Unfortunately for intercom, I have no convictions of any kind (although they attempted to conflate me with a sex offender on their website, which I reported to my own diversity manager).

    Two people do not make a case, but my experience and pink pasty’s experience, is matched by other groups throughout the south west. I know a gay youth group leader who was forced out so that intercom could gain control of his youth group. There are probably other groups that I do not personally know, and pink pasty has reported other incidents when intercom has threatened LGBT people instead of its claimed mandate to support them.

    This issue has little bearing on this advert, but basically there needs to be a debate about intercom’s legitimacy in general even thoughthey tend to quash, stifle and marginalise any attempt at such debate. They pathologise all those who question them (pink pasty is usually singled out for derision, but I was not prepared for when Michael Hall turned on me!) and I certainly question their right to receive money meant for LGBT people in the south west when they do us such disservice.

  30. Pumpkin pie makes so much sense – again!! This is perfectly legal; this charity isn’t choosing not to employ straight people because they don’t like them – that would be heterophobia. That is completely different. When someone refuses to employ someone simply because they are black its racist, when someone refuses to employ a black person that can’t speak English then its a genuine determining factor. Surely people can see the difference!

    This organisation is following the part of the law that says its ok to discriminate on grounds of authenticity (chinese waiters, getting a woman to play the part of a woman in play), or decency (female care worker showering a female disabled person) or sensitivity (women in womens crisis centres, LGBT person providing support to LGBT person on crisis line) etc.

    That is why the church can legally insist that their vicar is a christian but not the vicar’s secretary.

    This part of the law exists for every equality strand AND ALWAYS HAS!

    THIS IS NOT NEWS it happens ALL the time.

    Once again, Pinknews muckraking.

    (Admin staff – bit dodgier to defend, mind you)

    chinese restaurants can legally disriminate against non chinese waiters on grounds of authenticity; admin staff in women’s refuges can discriminate against men on grounds of

  31. Of course 2 wrongs do not make a right.

    However it is unacceptable for the LGBT population to simply roll over and accept that religious employers are legally protected if they want to discriminate against us.

    Neither Labour nor the Tories are willing to insist that religious employers (many of which are STATE FUNDED) be bound by equality legislation.

    In such revolting circumstances, I think it is unacceptable to roll over meekly and accept it.

    The government has created this situation where employment discrimination is legal. They need to realise that there are consequences for this.

    This charity should uae the same arguements as the catholic church as to why they should be allowed to discriminate against straight employees.

    It’s not right, but it’s OK in my view.

  32. Sister Mary clarence 12 Mar 2010, 1:13pm

    Just because other people behave in a certain way does not permit or excuse us behaving in the same way.

    We either endorse the principles of equality of we don’t.

    The person best suited to the job should get it. The recruitment process should identify the individual with the skills set most closely matched to the person spec and that person should get the job. They may be LGBT, but they may not. The helpline operator taking the initial call apparently does not have to be, but the person them following in the advocacy role apparently does – why.

    I would guess there are a range of inquiries to the helpline that need ongoing advocacy support, some sensitive, some not so, but its that ghetto mentality rearing its head again to assume that only another gay person could empathise with a gay victim of crime, or a gay person having problems filling in a benefits form.

    That being the case, everyone would be doing it.

  33. I ask how you’d prove you were gay…..

  34. “We either endorse the principles of equality of we don’t.”

    Nice theory and in principle I agree.

    But seeing as there are legally protected exceptions to the principle of equality then it is not incumbent on ANYONE to abide by equality laws.

    If LGBT people were fully protected by equality laws then I would be loudly condemning this charity’s ‘gay only’ advert.

    As it stands it is legal to discriminate against us. Until that shanmeful situation is rectified then I think LGBT groups should endeavour to practice equal treatment towards non LGBT people. But if they feel that it is in their best interest to hire ONLY LGBT people, then they should go right ahead and do that.

  35. Themenstruator 12 Mar 2010, 3:18pm

    Everything is Straight only. Put on the tv? Look around you. It’s shoved down our throats. BE STRAIGHT.
    As a lesbian, if some breeder tried to reach out to me in a charity situation I’d laugh in their face. I’m going to give some straight loser a donation for a GLT event or issue?
    I say keep the straights out of everything. No need for them at all.
    It’s just not safe. We are not safe because of them.

  36. Themenstruator: Chip. Shoulder. Lose it.

  37. Pink Oboe Player 13 Mar 2010, 11:17am

    Come on now RobN, Themenstruator is a perfectly balanced rmer. A large chip on both her shoulders. Anyway, I think she gets a bit cranky this time of the month. Can’t think why

  38. Pink Oboe: As you probably know, “All men are potential rapists”.
    I found a picture of her:

  39. Adam allen 7 Sep 2010, 10:01pm

    I quite agree.anyone working for a gay charity of any kind,should and must be either can a hetrosexual understand the gay persons plight?also it is deplorable that religious organisations etc are alowed to discriminate against persons for being gay! Shame on them. I suggest that homaphobics are just that because they are probably gay themselves.

  40. Normally this would be discrimination, but the circumstances quoted sound quite reasonable. The law allows justified exceptions to discrimnation laws, and i think this would fall into that category

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