Sunday, September 29, 2013

Progressive House

"Sir JM sinugod sa ospital si Alex, na food poison." My agent sent in SMS. He was working remotely from the office. It was my rest day.

"Hala kamusta na siya?"

"Nasa ospital pa. Wala nga nagtetext e. Hindi ko pa alam." He promptly replied.

CJ Rhoze, as his twitter handle goes, is your stereotype effeminate gay guy. He lisps when he speaks, dyes his hair red, and often goes to work wearing a body-hugging striped shirt and micro-mini shorts. He has been with the company long before I was promoted to management, and for a long time, he was a colleague I never dared to cross. You can say that he can be a headache should you slight him in an unprofessional way. And his clout over everyone can easily sway others to turn against me.

And yet, despite my rather uncomfortable working relationship with Ms. Rhoze, we were able to deal amicably - and openly. For reasons that promote work transparency. He is privy to my sexual preference and life outside the workplace. His account is even linked to my Twitter, giving him access to all the trash talk and strange thoughts I spew in that micro-blogging platform.   

What makes him stand out is that he is in a steady relationship with a straight-acting guy. They've been together for eight years. They even live together - with his partner having a decent job to support the two of them. At times I was tempted to ask what makes their union enduring. Is it because of CJ's dominant personality; his occasional defiance to his partner's demands, or his willingness to stand his ground when it was necessary?

I prefer not to find the answer.

However, the blog entry does not dwell on the subject, so I would refrain from disclosing more details about Ms. Rhoze's love life. Instead, it is the poisoning incident and how he was accommodated that reveals how accepting the company has become to the LBGT community.

You see, the evening after Ms. Rhoze broke the news, I asked what happened to his boyfriend. He told me that he was discharged from the hospital that same afternoon. But he still required a battery of medical tests to make sure the poison is out of his system.

In relation to this, he asked if he could be absent at work the next day. He would have to personally see to it that his partner gets the medical attention he needed. I told Ms. Rhoze to put the request on letter so I can explain it to the boss. While the e-mail wasn't really necessary, I would like some form of documentation as the company would be making history.

It would be the first time the management will officially recognize such union.

The openness of the company towards gays and lesbians dates back to the time when my former superior and confidant, Mami Athena was the "second" in command. A liberal thinker like her allowed those in the closet to come out and feel welcome in the workplace. She was also the first person at the office to know about my sexuality. Because of her, the gays found a true champion. Among the team managers, she was the only one who saw gays not as objects of ridicule, but humans with feelings and disappointments.

Yet, despite the privilege, we were not as open before as we are today. Maybe, the lack of job order made company policies more relaxed and flexible. Perhaps, there were no same-sex bonds a few years ago worthy to be recognized (as we were more preoccupied with spotting cute guys than actually being serious in a relationship). Whatever the reason, time was unripe to recognize medical emergencies that involves same-gender partners, and when Ms. Rhoze placed the request when less hands mean more income for everyone, I let him go as long as he would state the real reason for his absence.

Sensing the awkwardness of the letter, my agent didn't comply to the instruction. His thoughts maybe preoccupied with his sick partner that he forgot to send an email, or he wasn't ready to be acknowledged as a couple - in company correspondence. Whatever the excuse for overlooking such order, I decided to furnish the email myself as it would be required when writing reports.

Circulation Dated September 19, 2013


CJ Rhoze was absent last Thursday, September 19, 2013. He had to bring his partner to the hospital because of food poisoning. Buck Rogers and Maria Avila covered for his absence.

Thank you.




Geosef Garcia said...

You are a good boss JM. Sana good karma din ang kapalit nyan. :)

Seth said...

buti ka pa ang bait mo.

hindi nakakalusot sa akin yung mga pamhin sa office lalo na yung mga feeling cool at bully >:)