The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Discrimination against sexual orientation still exists

The guard on duty insisted she be removed from the building because the T-shirt she wore promoting a website,, was apparently offensive.

Lapriss Gilbert was wearing the T-shirt, which was a gift from her mother, a gay rights activist, when she entered the building to collect a Social Security card for her son. The guard, who works for Paragon Securities, a company hired by the government to patrol government-owned buildings, told Gilbert that he had jurisdiction over her apparel under the Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property.

These kinds of situations show that there are still closed-minded individuals, who unfortunately can be found in positions of power ‘- no matter how little the role.

The guard cited the General Services Administration (GSA) Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property, but he didn’t point out a specific rule stating whether she had broken any rule concerning appropriate apparel.

Among the many guidelines, it is stated that people may not enter the office unless it is open to the public during operating hours, they may not be intoxicated when entering the property, they may not bring weapons or explosives and that they may not solicit, post or distribute materials.

It’s safe to say that Gilbert complied with all these rules, yet the guidelines don’t refer to anything vaguely resembling rules governing apparel requirements.

Whether or not her T-shirt was ‘offensive’ is a moot point as it doesn’t violate any of the rules set forth by the GSA, which states that women can breastfeed in the federal buildings. But they can’t wear a T-shirt promoting lesbianism? Some might find the breastfeeding more offensive than the t-shirt.

If the GSA were to have rules regarding apparel my guess is that it would cover the basics. No shirt, no shoes, no service, like in restaurants. The day that censorship takes on apparel with rules from the government (and not from Stacy London and Clinton Kelly’s ‘What Not to Wear’) we might as well give up any form of original thought and live in the ‘sameness’ utopian society as in The Giver.

Thankfully, there are people out there who are not as close-minded. Other patrons, ordinary citizens such as Gilbert, at the Social Security office began voicing their opinions. They began calling the police themselves and one man was threatened with arrest.

It’s sad to think that in these days there are people who still won’t accept or allow others to just be themselves. However, the thought that there were people who stood up for Gilbert, who weren’t afraid of getting arrested for standing up for what’s right, and to join a battle that isn’t necessarily theirs to fight, but do anyway, makes me feel like there’s still hope.

Although Paragon Securities has released a statement they will take action against the guard and his behavior was not condoned, they did not say what they would do to further prevent this from happening again. Gilbert’s mother suggests sensitivity training. I suggest, at the very least, training these ‘guards’ better, especially if you’re boasting on your website that you have the most competent and skilled professional guards out there.

Make sure they actually know the rules, what is and isn’t part of their duties. Keep it simple for the simple-minded. It is their duty to protect the innocent people from disturbances such as people with explosives, guns and/or under the influence of intoxicating substances. It is their duty to maintain peace and calm so that official government business can be handled accordingly and efficiently. It is not their duty to kick people out and prevent them from doing business due to race, origin and sex, which is stated clearly in the ‘nondiscrimination’ section of the GSA Rules and Regulations.

This is where being a competent and skilled professional comes in. How hard is it to realize that it’s a clear case of discrimination when a guard prevents someone from going about their business because of the simple fact that person was openly promoting an issue they happen to disagree with?

Sexual orientation isn’t stated in the nondiscrimination section, but with common sense, especially in a left wing state that just passed the same-sex marriage law, it’s not hard to see that it would fall into the nondiscrimination category as well. Paragon Securities needs to step it up. Are these really the people who are employed by the government to protect us on its property?

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