Advocating for significant political issues in the workplace is as difficult as it is important.
It takes tact and nuance to the choose the right issue, the right time, and the right tone. And sometimes, it may even feel like a fool’s errand to fight that battle.
One Redditor, known as GoldfishInaBox on the site, found themself feeling that tension recently. They described the entire ordeal in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
Right in the title, the Original Poster (OP) clarified the particular issue at hand.
“AITA for not speaking up about my boss’s homophobia?”
They began with some encouraging detail.
“Hi, y’all. I [Non-binary 20-year-old] work for a very polite woman [around 30-years-old] as a nanny. I adore the job and all that comes with it.”
“The pay isn’t the *best*, but her relaxed approach to parenting and not minding me being on my phone when the baby is asleep makes it an incredible job.”
“She is a lovely and kind woman who, up until recently, I thought was a very open minded individual.”
OP found themself in the midst of what felt like a typical day.
“I recently was watching the baby when when my boss’s [Mother-in-law (MIL)] came by to visit and chat.
“My boss has more children than just the baby I nanny. Her middle child stays with the MIL in the afternoons for online learning reasons to my knowledge.”
“MIL came by and brought the kiddo along with her.”
But then came a turn.
“The kiddo is a super sweet child and very energetic, but because they wanted to relax and I was busy feeding the baby (normally if he’s there and I have nothing to do I’ll play with him to be nice) they just plopped him on the couch to watch Netflix while they talked.”
“He started watching a show and the MIL turned it off, stating that the characters were gay and that she didn’t want Middle Child exposed to that.”
OP found themself at a bit of a crossroads.
“I was shocked to hear MIL and Boss’s conversation take a startling turn towards a homophobic rhetoric, but it wasn’t my business.”
“Because I needed to do a background check to be a nanny I just give out my deadname to people I want to work for. I don’t mind.”
“When I am able to afford the long process of changing my legal name and everything that involves I’ll happily do it.”
“But right now I’m just a nanny. I’m just there to get a check at the end of the day.”
Not everyone agreed with OP’s approach.
“I told my friends about it when I got home and a lot of them were disgusted by the fact that as a member of the LGBTQ+ community I didn’t stick up for myself.”
“My friends, while I love them, are all still in college and many have not had their first job yet. I tried to explain that there’s a time and a place to speak up about homophobia, and that was *certainly* not the place.”
“They said that by staying silent I was teaching middle child that being homophobic was fine.”
“And I’ll admit, I might have been.”
Nonetheless, OP trusted their gut.
“But I have also casually mentioned my ex girlfriend to him before and when he asked questions I was happy to explain, this was before I learned about my boss’s beliefs.”
“I know that it’s important to be out and proud, but I enjoy and need this job. I’m just there for a check, not to preach the queer agenda to this family and pray things turn out like a hallmark movie.”
“So, am I the a**hole?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
By and large, Redditors agreed with OP’s decision to keep quiet.
“NTA – And I don’t think you should bring it up.”
“You work as a nanny, and your job is to be a nanny, not to convince old idiots who aren’t talking to you that it ok for you to love your girlfriend.”
“Why risk your job, paycheck, and potential other jobs just to prove a point? Do the job, get paid, move on, and let the old lady be a bigot.” — FalcorDD
Others expanded on OP’s very pragmatic concerns.
“NTA. When they have bills to pay they’ll understand not wanting to get fired, because if you said something, you’d be replaced with someone more complacent.”
“You could have also been opening yourself to verbal violence from them.” — bigbuttfu**er
“NTA. You’re 100% right there is a time and place and that was not it. It’s not as if you would have voiced your opinions and magically MIL would say, ‘you know what, you’re right, I love all gay people now!’ “
“But there’s a very real possibility you would have lost your job (they’d find some “unrelated reason” soon to fire you). And by losing your job you would have lost any opportunity to be a positive LGBTQ+ role model for the children.”
“After all, it’s likely too late to change MIL’s mind, but definitely not too late for the kids.”
“There’s a good chance your employer is not homophobic and doesn’t share MIL’s views, but just pretends to agree (or doesn’t openly disagree) so as to keep the peace. Especially if your employer knows your NB and has no issue employing you.” — ifimhereimrealbored
Some spoke from shared experience.
“NTA it’s not your job to be a LGBTQ+ spokes person and activist 24/7. As you said, there is a time and a place.”
“I also work as a nanny for an individual family, so I hear you. We aren’t protected by discrimination laws like people who work for big companies.”
“So if your boss doesn’t like you, or something happens, the really can just fire you. This isn’t worth losing your job over, at least from where I’m sitting.”
“I’m sorry you’re friends weren’t more supportive. You already got blindsided by the homophobia, I hardly think you needed to guilt trip as well.” — JusttheBean
“NTA, speaking as a lesbian myself and someone who’s definitely old enough to have had several jobs. You’re in a sticky situation where the need to have work to survive has to outweigh the inherent injustice of being beholden to homophobic bosses.”
“It doesn’t sound like you have an HR department to help you out either. It sucks but you aren’t doing anything wrong by letting it slide. We often have to stay silent or closeted to stay safe and survive.”
If you ever have the opportunity to switch jobs in the future, I would recommend doing so and mentioning explicitly in your resignation that you’re doing so because of the homophobia in your working environment.” — joyless_pedant_1283
The support was evidently appreciated by OP. They added an update about their stance after reading through all the feedback.
“After reading through this I kinda realized that my friends were being assholes for guilting me over just looking out for myself. I had been feeling like I’d outgrown this friend group for a while.”
“They all are going to college on their parent’s dime, which honestly? Good for them! But they also have not worked any real jobs. We all came from higher middle class families.”
“I told them that I just couldn’t have been an activist in that moment. I have food, rent, and savings to look out for.”
OP’s friends even continued to pile it on.
“They all (yes, literally everyone in the group chat) started saying that me compromising my identity was terrible and I should be ashamed for hiding the fact I was gay.”
“I told them that we don’t live in She-Ra. Homophobia has real consequences and the consequences would have been my livelihood!”
“They all said that they had hated me since I got the job.”
So OP advocated for themself.
“I used to be the group therapist and I told them they have to stop venting to me during work hours and they all took this as me abandoning them.”
“I told them I’m not being paid to be their therapist, I’m being paid to be a nanny. After that I left the GC.”
“Needless to say, I’m pretty crushed. I don’t have any IRL friends and now I won’t have any online friends either.”
“I know I’ll be ok as long as I keep on moving forward and as long as I keep working. Thanks for all the comments, guys. I hope you all have an incredible day!”
OP’s confidence and autonomy will undoubtedly serve them well in the future. Unfortunately, the next few months may be a tad on the lonely side.
We wish them the best.