A fun little workplace experiment

First, a little background, I live and work in a small town in East Texas. In this setting, there aren’t many openly gay people at work. Okay, there are none, except perhaps for me. I have one of those rainbow sashes hanging from my rearview mirror in my car. I also leave whatever book I happen to be reading out on my desk. In many cases, these are gay-themed or issue-oriented (for instance I’m currently reading A Place at the Table). However, nobody has actually asked me if I’m gay, and I’ve not volunteered any info because I’m not certain of the reaction the company would take.

Into this milieu, I decided to conduct a social experiment. A couple of Fridays ago, I left a back issue of The Advocate in the breakroom amongst the other old magazines people leave to provide reading materials for breaks.

For several days last week I’d check into the breakroom to see where the magazine was. It was frequently left at different tables. On Thursday, I walked by the breakroom and saw a group of three women looking through it and talking. Later that day, it disappeared.

This morning I brought the latest issue and placed it amongst the magazines. It’s already gone missing. Hmmm. Am I not alone here afterall? I hope it’s that guy in legal.

Maybe someone is offended and is removing it so it will not contaminate the faithful.
What you need to do is get some sort of ink that is only visible under special circumstances and then see who’s hands are showing. I’m not sure on the tech details but I’m sure someone will come up with a way.

I placed the latest issue, with Randy Harrison on the cover, in the breakroom this morning. It’s been sitting on the table, in slightly different orientations, by the phone all day so apparently folks have been thumbing through it while on the phone.

Maybe it’s because I’m here in SoCal, but at my particular company, that trick wouldn’t work.

See, we market a drug that treats Kaposi’s Sarcoma. I think (at one time, don’t know if we ever still do) we ran ads in the Advocate, so I’ve seen it in our “Corporate Library” right alongside issues of Cancer and various academic journals. It was kind of a weird sight at first, to see a “non-work related” magazine in our literature shelves. I’ve often been tempted to grab it and read it myself.

But as far as I’m concerned, that guy in [our] Legal is gay. And he’s a looker, too!

You don’t want a lawyer. They’re nothing but trouble.

[slight hijack to reminisce] Years ago, I worked for a market research company. The woman who did most of the hiring for the survey techs, for some reason, seemed to hire gays and fundamentalist Christians in equal numbers- one of my gay coworkers speculated that she did it for sport- wanted to watch the fur fly in the break room or something. It never did. Actually, except for the one chick who I strongly suspect was just this side of paranoid schizophrenic (she talked in those flat tones that a lot of seriously mentally ill people seem to use, and about… well, I won’t go there) everybody seemed to get along quite harmoniously. When my parents’ marriage finally dissolved, I was grousing to one of my gay coworkers over the fact that the reason my mother finally gave my stepfather the heave-ho was because she found out he was seeing a sixteen-year-old boy and refused to break it off, and I said, “You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if he left her for a nice lawyer, or someone who could support him in the style to which he’s become accustomed”. I had no idea a human being could laugh so hard. [/slight hijack to reminisce]

Maybe someone is hiding it. I’ve never looked at the Advocate. Are there any pictures in there that someone (a reasonable person) could take offense at? Is it like Cosmopolitan for gay people, or is it more of a serious “discussing the issues” kind of magazine? You don’t want to get in trouble with the Human Resources department for leaving your magazine lying around in the lunch room. (Or maybe you do!)

It’s like Newsweek, although some of the ads are a little racey.

Sorry, I must take exception to this “game”.
Promotion of any agenda being social,political,sexual or theological has NO place in the work atmosphere.

You are not paid to troll for possible partners or like thinking persons at work…

I would liken leaving a copy of the Advocate equivalent to leaving religious tracts on the lunch room table. They would soon find the round file.

I am not gay but I respect those who are, and I have my own beliefs, However I do my best to keep my opinions out of the workplace and at home or places more suitable to debate and/or discussion.

Just my opinion But I may be wrong…

Craneop2 stole my thunder. I was going to mention that somebody is doing the same thing at my laundrymat. The only difference is they’re leaving Watchtower publications. I suspect if you found that sort of thing in your breakroom you’d likely bristle. I figure I’ve got these things in perspective myself, but nevertheless there’s something awfully patronizing about leaving “issue related” literature lying around where unsuspecting people are exposed to it. It suggests to the mark that they are not capable of thinking for themselves, that they need to be 'enlightened" by your unique and insightful tract. I view it as an intellectual/idealogical booby trap, not harmful per se, but patronizing.

He isn’t promoting anything. I presume that anyone at Homebrew’s work is allowed to bring in reading material for personal use during breaks. Leaving an Advocate lying around is not the same thing as leaving religious tracts. Religious tracts are designed to convert, they aren’t meant for the personal use of the person who bought them. It is more like leaving a Left Behind book or some national religious right magazine (of which I can’t think of a single example, but there must be one) lying around.

I feel I must add that I would have the same view even if the material was consitent with my own ideology.
It’s rather heavy handed, boorish and rude.


Actually, I’ve never read * The Advocate *, but if it is like * Newsweek * that doesn’t sound like a tract. ** Forbin, Craneop **, have either of you read * The Advocate * ? If it is like * Newsweek * it seems extreme to ban it from the break room, or do you think it is mischaracterized? If it is written simply for a gay audience, it isn’t seeking converts. Then again, if it has explicit pictures, and they are banned for others (ex: no *Playboys *or * Playgirls * either) it doesn’t belong.

 I'd be more mad at the self-censors who throw the stuff out unless there is a set company policy.

Geez, people, its the first freakin’ link on Google.

Reading a gay newsmagazine’s website won’t turn you gay, I promise.

There are religious magazines left in the freakin’ breakroom. There’s a table in the breakroom where people leave old magazines for other people to enjoy. Why shouldn’t I add one that many of my co-workers have never even heard of? It’s simply idiotic to compare it to passing out tracts. Speaking of, by the way, I would have no problems with people leaving tracts on the table. If I don’t want to read them, I won’t.

So is the fact that several of the major corportations in the nation have non-discrimination policies promoting an agenda? Is the fact that CitiGroup has a Gay employee group, as well as women’s, bicycling and other employee groups, promoting an agenda?

The title alone clearly indicates Homebrew’s intent. He is bringing this material to solicit a response from his coworkers. If he brought a trade magazine, related to work, or a sports magazine or something like that, he would never describe it as a “social experiment”.

I snipped this one, but it does indicate that Homebrew acknowledges that there is such a thing as gay themed literature. Is it just possible that this might offend some people?
Whether that’s right or wrong is debatable, but there is no need to provoke anyone. No need, that is, unless you’re “conducting a social experiment.”

It’s possible his coworkers are naive. Similarly, it’s possible that they are discretely avoiding the issue. In either case, Homebrew has brought it forward in an untoward manner.
Additionally we see from this quote that he is unsure of the ramifications. There isn’t enough information in this thread so far to determine what company policy might be. He may also be very justifiably concerned that management will sanction him even if it violates company policy. That’s a worthwhile fear, and from the OP it’s difficult to determine if that’s the case.

As I see it, this is the smoking gun. For all those who protest that The Advocate is not a religious tract intending to convert unbelievers (Or the ungay), Homebrew has declared his ulterior motives with this statement. He is bringing this material in to experiment with his coworkers reactions.

Again, snipped, just to show that he’s attending to his experiment. If he just brought something in to read and enjoy, he wouldn’t need to monitor the breakroom like that.

Snipped again.
I think Homebrew is being inconsiderate towards his coworkers. The magazine was very likely thrown away, yet he persists in bringing a new one back a second time.
For what it’s worth I agree with those who have stated that The Advocate is not precisely the same thing as a religious tract. Nevertheless it is ideological dynamite, and Homebrew knows it. The title of the thread alone indicates that he does.
If this had been a pit thread with an OP bemoaning the loss of his magazines from the breakroom, complete with descriptions of his evil, intolerant coworkers, I would have been somewhat skeptical when I learned the nature and content of the literature. Homebrew removes all skepticisms with his OP title and subsequent declarations. He did this to experiment with people. That is not a very polite thing to do.
Please note that I did say my feeling would be the same even if the ideology was one I shared.* I don’t approve of any conduct in the workplace that deliberately antagonizes ones coworkers.
*In fact, you don’t even know if I share the ideology of Homebrew’s magazines. And that’s how it should be. Experimenting with people is what I disapprove of here. I want that to be the principal point of my response.

I think your comments are an attempt to draw a response from me that will lead to this being put in the Pit. I’m not antagonzing or patronizing anyone. I’m sharing a magazine with people who may or may not even have been aware that such a magazine exists. If they see the mag and don’t want to read it, fine. If someone else sees it and wants to, then that’s fine also. I’m not forcing anyone to look at gay porn, it’s a NEWS magazine and they have an option of picking it up or not! How is it inconsiderate to put out current issues of news magazines to complement the year-old Ladies Home Journal? Would you consider Newsweek or Business Week to be inappropriate?

Yes, I’m interested in the reaction. It gives me some idea of how open I can be at work. Sure, I’d be happy to find out there are other gay folks at work. It doesn’t mean I’m cruising.

You haven’t explicitly stated your ideology, but your insistance that any mention of “gay” is inflammatory is telling. And your automatic assumption that I’m looking for a sexual partner is insulting.

No need to bring this to the pit Homebrew.
I think you’re bringing inappropriate material to work, that’s all. We have a disagreement, and I don’t think it’s worth name calling or a pile on. It was you, not me, who stated that it is an experiment. I am not posting anything here in an attempt to attack you personally. I think you’ve made a bad decision, and I think you ought to stop doing so. We all make bad decisions, including me. Don’t assume that because I disagree with you that I am an enemy. Actually, I wish you well in your workplace, but stirring the pot in this way may be bad for everyone.

FWIW it was the Craneop2 who suggested you might be looking for a partner, not me.

Your bad decision is to imply that the fact that a magazine has a gay perspective makes it inappropriate. That’s highly insulting.

Ok the advocate is not a gay oriented publication? I really can’t say so myself as I have never read an issue. However from the way you describe it Homebrew I would suppose so.

As for the trolling for partners I would have to quote “I hope it’s that guy in legal”.

Does that explain my objections?