I am in an entirely different environment working in fashion retail. I am no longer surrounded by Latin verbs or cradle Catholics. The Real World has been a challenge with some fun thrown in with a dash of employee discounts. One of the difficult yet most interesting aspects of fashion retail is interacting with different "lifestyles."
My manager is a practicing homosexual. Until today, I could have told you that he never mentioned this to me. The men that I work with are typically artsy and well-dressed. Many of them are also, like Jim, practicing homosexuals. Most of them do not advertise this fact. Tommy, on the other hand...
Tommy started working with me about a week ago. He is a stylish fella, a pretty nice fella. His mother is Jewish and his father is Catholic, so he calls himself a "Cashew." (I found this rather clever.) The first thing I noticed about Tommy was how friendly he was while introducing himself. The second thing I noticed was how tight his pants were on his bottom. The third thing I noticed? Tommy seems to feel a need for everyone to know that he is a practicing homosexual. He interjects the fact into almost every sentence- including staff meetings.
Shift leader: We are getting a shipment Friday night-
Tommy: You know where I'll be- at the club for gay night!
Shift Leader: These new jeans are men's-
Tommy: Well, I know men.
If a straight man said anything like the above regarding women, it would be sexual harrassment. Tommy also tends to boss around, snatch coworker's customers if he finds them attractive, and interrupts constantly. My impression of Tommy is that he does not find his identity outside of being homosexual. He does not see himself as an individual human person, but merely as a part of the homosexual movement. My opinion on active homosexual lifestyles aside (rather the Church's opinion), this is not right.
Despite our differences, Tommy and I get along just fine and work together well. Maybe just by loving him and treating him with kindness, he will come to a better understanding of his primary identity as a beloved child of God.
My existence outside of the comfortable Little Catholic Bubble is collectively amusing, scary, disheartening, and pleasant. I hope I keep my identity in check, too!