Volume 5, Issue 9, September 2006
LIFE’S PHOTO ALBUM
At the beginning of each new phase of our journey, we create a Mental Photo Album of how our life is going to unfold.
When we begin school, we create the Album.
When we join a team, we create the Album.
When we meet and fall in love, we create the Album.
When we get that job or career, we create the Album.
The most significant Mental Photo Album that we create is the life our children will have. The minute they are born and we find out their gender, that Album is cast in stone. Mentally we envision the skills they will acquire, the grades they will attain, the university they will attend and even in many cases, the career they will choose. Some of us go as far as picturing the type of person our children will marry and where they will live.
Think about this. These Photos become indelibly etched in our minds and in many cases these Photos become who we are and what we live for.
Here is where we encounter the fly in the ointment. We have no control whatsoever how the other people we come in contact with have created their own Mental Photo Album. And if that Album is different to our Album, we can have a major breakdown.
Dante said, “We don’t see the world as it truly is, we see the world from where we stand.”
We must keep in mind that our relationships are an ‘add on’ to our journey, NOT our journey.
Unfortunately there are too many variables as we progress along the road of life and because of these variables; the Mental Photo Album that we created will ultimately change. We need to embrace these changes as we embrace the changing seasons.
As life replaces our current Photos with new ones, we should look at these not as aberrations, but as new pieces of art that can transform our Mental Photo Album of Life into a new and wondrous Work of Art.
In the workplace, changing the Photos can lead to obstructionism and conflict. Just because you have been doing something a certain way does not mean that it is the only way to do the job. New Photos can add a new direction and a new vitality to your career.
Like life, imagery has evolved over the years. Paintings and art evolved into still photos and still photos evolved into moving pictures. Remember life is fluid. Allow your Photo Album to evolve and view these new Photos with acceptance not angst. By doing so, every new Photo becomes an adventure and isn’t that what this journey is all about.
By Pierre R. Ouellette Hon.B.A., LL.B.
As part of our ongoing review of the Ontario Human Rights Code we will explore the protection the Code offers in the area of harassment on the basis of Sexual Orientation. The Code clearly makes it illegal to discriminate against someone or to harass them because of their sexual orientation or same-sex partnership status. This means that a person cannot be treated unequally or subjected to harassment because he or she is gay, lesbian, trangendered, heterosexual or bisexual.
The protection extends to such specific areas as jobs, housing and services. The term ‘services’ covers such things as contracts and memberships in groups such as unions or professional associations.
Harassment is seen as making hurtful comments or actions that are known or ought to be known to be unwelcome. The following situations will likely be considered harassment under the Code:
- A landlord who suggest to a gay tenant that he should leave because his type does not belong in his building.
- A company’s health plan which covers the needs of an opposite sex partner but does not recognize same-sex partnership status.
- Displays of cartoons or signs which are disrespectful.
- Homophobic jokes or hints being made about a person’s sexual orientation or same-sex partnership status.
The harassment can occur even if the joke is not specifically about sexual orientation. A gay employee being repeatedly the target of ridicule or practical jokes in the workplace may be seen as being harassed pursuant to the Code. It is the employer’s responsibility for making sure the workplace is free of harassment.
Silence or doing nothing will not typically make the harassment go away and sometimes such behaviour can lead to violence. And all too often it will be the person who is being discriminated against who reacts and faces the discipline. So if you feel uncomfortable or threatened on this basis speak out to a person in authority. If that does not help do contact the Commission. (www.ohrc.on.ca or 1.800.387.9080)
Once again if you wish to share any anecdotes or have any questions relating to this topic please email me at Pierre@CooperativeAction.com . This little series is based on information provided by the Human Rights Commission.
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Why Do I Have To Be Nice To Them?”
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