I had a short telephone interview with a reporter from the Sacramento Bee today. She was doing a story on tomorrow’s “Day Without a Gay.”
Sacramento’s gay and lesbian community center, where I’m volunteering tomorrow (yes, I almost always end up caving in and doing the right thing…), was contacted by the reporter, and with my permission the center gave the reporter my contact info.
Her story, which captures our phone interview fairly well, is below; you will note that she saved her best material for last. (Hee hee hee…)
Dozens of Sacramentans plan to miss work, ‘call in gay’ Wednesday
By Jennifer Garza
Kris Applegate, who is gay, will not be at his job as a legislative analyst Wednesday. Instead, he will volunteer at the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center.
Applegate is joining dozens of others in the Sacramento region who are “calling in gay” to their place of employment as a way of highlighting the visibility of gays in the area.
“We’re everywhere — we work for the state, we’re accountants, we’re lawyers, nurses and doctors, we’re in the cubicle next to you,” said Applegate, 30. “Hopefully, this will show the role we play in the community.”
The national “Day Without A Gay” event was modeled after a similar effort by Latinos to recognize their value in American society. It was spurred by the passage of Proposition 8, the Nov. 4 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage.
Participants will skip work to volunteer at nonprofits. A post-Prop 8 town hall meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Sierra II Center in Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood.
The Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center in midtown expects about 30 volunteers will do everything from data entry to building maintenance.
“We had so many calls that we had to make sure there’s enough work for them to do,” said Bonnie Osborn, the center’s communications director. “A lot of the people we’re hearing from have never volunteered here before. But since Prop 8, they’re motivated.”
This is Applegate’s first time as a volunteer at the center. Applegate, who is taking a vacation day from work, told his boss in advance that he would not be in the office Wednesday.
“Out of respect for my employers, I didn’t want to blindside them,” said Applegate. “They were very supportive.”
Robert Crook also told his employer in advance that he is taking a vacation day in honor of “Day Without A Gay.”
“I’m doing it out of solidarity,” said Crook, who works for the state. “If there are a lot of empty chairs in the office — and I hope there are — then that will really make a statement.”
Critics have said that missing work is not a good idea, given the worsening economy.
Crook understands that some people will not be able to “call in gay” but says the economy should not be the reason.
“For some people, it’s tantamount to coming out and they might not be comfortable with that and I understand,” said Crook. “But this is a human and civil rights issue, and to me, it’s more important than the economy.”
A few comments on the news story: The headline says that “dozens” will “call in gay” tomorrow, but that’s just the number of people the reporter was made aware of through her contact at the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center. No one can really know how many gay men and lesbians in my city of Sacramento and the surrounding region actually will “call in gay” tomorrow; the reporter and I discussed that fact, in fact. My best guess is that it will be in the hundreds.
And speaking of “calling in gay,” note that both I and the other gay man interviewed for the news story requested the time off and are using vacation time that we earned. I surmise that few people are really going to “call in gay” (call in sick, that is) and that most of them responsibly have pre-arranged their absence, as I did.
Finally, if you want to see what we gay men and lesbians are up against, read the vicious comments that visitors to sacbee.com have left on this news story by clicking here.*
Under the cover of complete anonymity (of course), these courageous haters spew forth venomous hatred that once was reserved for blacks.
It’s true: Gay is the new black!
*Sacbee.com has a system where you can report comments as hate speech or obscenity/vulgarity, and I’m reporting the hate speech as hate speech and the obscenity/vulgarity as obscenity/vulgarity, so by the time you click that link, a good number of the comments that I was talking about might since have disappeared…