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Gay police officer targeted with homophobic bullying from co-workers

Patrick Kelleher August 20, 2018

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A gay police officer in San Francisco has alleged that he was the target of a year-long campaign of homophobic bullying from co-workers, according to a lawsuit filed against the city.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Brendan Mannix, 28, experienced homophobic harassment and discrimination from two sergeants who made derogatory remarks to him.

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The lawsuit says that they called him a “queen” and said he was “too dramatic.” When he reported the bullying, the department allegedly failed to do anything to prevent it from continuing.

Mannix has been working at the station since 2016. His attorney said in a lawsuit that this was when the trouble began, and that he quickly noticed an “Old Boys’ Club atmosphere at the station.”

“Anyone who did not fit a precise mold – broadly speaking, straight, cisgender, white and male – was targeted for mistreatment; those who complained about it were treated even worse,” he added.

The sergeants often made jokes about Mannix’s sexuality, with one suggesting he was in a sexual relationship with another gay officer who worked at the station. When he did something that the sergeant believed was stereotypical for gay people, he would say, “ugh, you gays!” or “God, you gays!”, according to the lawsuit.

He also had his hair and his physical appearance mocked, and one night, when he said he was cold after they had found a dead body in the water at night, he was told not to be “such a queen.”

Last year, Mannix took three months leave from work to “maintain his mental health.”

When he went back to work, he filed a formal complaint, however he claims that the sergeant was “dismissive”.

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After his complaint, he says he was given unfavourable assignments at the station. One day while out chasing a robbery suspect, he radioed for help, but nobody came to his aid.

LGBT+ people can often experience harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Catalyst, an organisation that works to make workplaces better for women, says that one-fifth of LGBT+ Americans report experiencing homophobia when applying for jobs.

The report also notes that offensive jokes based on sexual orientation or gender identity are a form of harassment, and found that 62% of LGBT+ employees had heard jokes about gay and lesbian people at work.

Workplace discrimination for transgender people and LGBT+ people of colour in the US is significantly worse than other groups.

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