Comment on a controversial target, and you could easily end up as one yourself. It happened to Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce President Jimmy Flannigan.
Flannigan took a bit of Facebook heat for his comments on Austin's KTBC-TV about the firing of Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, who was fired due to anti-LGBT comments he made in a GQ interview. Flannigan is often called by the local news station for commentary regarding LGBTQ employment and economic issues.
"After this appearance last night," he wrote, sharing a link on his Facebook page, "we got people contacting the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce asking me to be 'fired' from my volunteer job because I offended them and their support of this guy. My irony meter exploded."
"There's a community of people with anti-gay beliefs," Flannigan said when I called to ask him about it today, "who want to maintain their friendships with gay friends and family. It's difficult to maintain the two ideas at once. So they get upset that their beliefs are being pointed out, rather than address the issues themselves."
So did the thread of his post – with friends weighing in on everything from his TV appearance, Duck Dynasty, and A&E's reasoning, to tolerance and workplace discrimination.
"This is what an LGBT chamber speaks about — employee rights," Flannigan said during our phone conversation. "Those protections do not exist in Louisiana. If he [Robertson] wanted some LGBT person fired, he could do it."
While he didn't learn anything new about workplace discrimination, Flannigan did learn a little about the need for awareness. "I've had conversations with people who didn't know gays could be fired [just for being gay] — friends of mine. It was stunning."
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