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Dealing with prejudice in the workplace 

I am in a strange situation. I work in the corporate sector in marketing and sales. It is a high-stress, fast-paced job, and everyone has a short fuse. I have a co-worker who is losing business to a competitor who happens to be gay. In her fits of anger, she keeps calling him a faggot. I hate it. The thing is, I am not gay. And if anyone in our office is, they are in the closet. She has used the word in front of other co-workers and even our boss, and no one seems to be bothered.

I am torn about what I should do. I am black, and if she was using the word "nigger," I would call her on it and raise issue with our HR department. Can I file a complaint on behalf of a group I do not belong to? If she found out I complained, she would see it as a threat to her own job, which could lead to a decidedly hostile workplace. But if it was a racial slur, I would not let that deter me. I want to do the right thing. How would you handle the situation?

Not My Problem?

If someone at my office were tossing the word "nigger" around, NMP, I would lodge a complaint. I would resent the assumption on my co-worker's part that since I'm white she can use racist speech in my presence, because, hey, all us white people are racist POS, right? And I would complain because a workplace that tolerates racist remarks is a workplace that tolerates homophobic remarks. Have a word with HR.

I have a new co-worker, a young man who is gay and quite effeminate. He's slim, wears makeup, has boyish/feminine features, and has done some modeling work as a woman. He said in a lunchroom discussion today that he prefers to wear women's clothes. He said he had worn women's clothes at a previous workplace, and no one had been offended. I suggested he talk to HR to protect his job before coming to work dressed in women's clothing. One co-worker suggested that he work up to it, while another said he should just do it and let the chips fall where they may. The question of what restroom he should use when dressed as a woman came up. I'm not 100 percent comfortable sharing the ladies' room with him. Though I am certain most of the men won't be comfortable sharing the men's room with him either.

Do you have any suggestions on how to handle situations where I might find myself in the same restroom as my newest co-worker?

She Knows It's Really Trivial

If your co-worker identifies as female, she should use the women's room. If he identifies as male, he should use the men's room. And seeing as he's using the men's room now -- despite his wearing makeup and being openly gay -- I don't see how the addition of a dress should change things for his male co-workers. And from the way you describe that lunchroom conversation, SKIRT, it sounds like your effeminate new co-worker has at least some support at work -- but yes, he should have a talk with HR.

As for "handl[ing] situations" where you find yourself in the same restroom with your newest co-worker, SKIRT, unless you routinely offer to zip up your co-workers or wipe their asses for them, I don't see how his presence -- or his attire or the particular brand of genitalia tucked into his panties -- really impacts you at all.

I identify as 100 percent gay. Sometimes I surf straight porn sites to see fresh faces. I ignore the girls and focus on the guys. However, I've discovered that I get turned on by looking at pictures of cute men eating pussy. Not by pussy, just by the men eating it. Have you ever heard of this before? Is there a secret subculture of gay men who get off on other guys eating pussy? Or do I have unique tastes?

You Gonna Eat That?

I've heard of lesbians turned on by gay porn, straight men turned on by chicks-with-dicks porn, and the odd gay man turned on by standard-issue hetero porn (vaginal/anal). But I've never heard of a gay man turned on by images of straight guys eating pussy. Most gay men are too grossed out by pussy to linger over images of hetero cunnilingus, no matter how hot the guy. So there's no secret subculture, YGET, and you are freakishly unique. Congrats.

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