Gay Man Claps Back At Homophobic Boss. “It’s Been A Delight Working With Everybody But You.”

My name is Barton Lee Jackson II. I’m from Eagle, Idaho. Idaho is an at-will employment state, so by
the same concept that you can leave your job at any point without any justification to
your employer, your employer can terminate you for any reason without discussing that
with you. I started working in college in a fine art
frame shop in Meridian, Idaho. I would actually do these custom fine art
framing jobs, both for individual clients and also businesses all throughout the Treasure
Valley. When I first entered the workforce, I was
familiar with the annual review process. You know, you do your job, do it well, you
get a raise. Wouldn’t be an exciting raise, but you got
a raise. The general manager changed in year 2 for
that – for that – or I should say store manager changed in year 2 for my location. And when that happens, everybody’s annual
reviews were getting pushed back to the point where the in-house human resource officer
took over the reviews. But in the process, my annual review was a
full year late. And I was patient about it and I would just
kindly remind them. Finally get around to my one-year-late annual
review. And I have a great conversation with the human
resource officer. They apologize for it being pushed back so
long. They explained why. It was a fine justification. And the thing that excited me was they said,
“Not only are you getting your raise, but it’s going to be retroactive.” I wasn’t fully out at work. I wasn’t out at home yet. But I have a supervisor that I was very close
with at work and I confided in her and just in the process, you know, somebody else over
heard and, of course, everybody finds out that I am, you know, gay at work. I get pulled into the store manager’s office
real quick one day around payday. I thought I was just getting my paycheck because
it wasn’t getting direct deposited yet. And he goes, “Here’s a check. And by the way, we are not making that raise
retroactive.” So, you know, I – without getting furious
in front of my boss, right – I’m trying to say, “Well, is there a reason for that?” He’s like, “Well, that’s an expense that
we’re not going to take,” and, you know, starts to insinuate that because I’m gay and
that he knows I’m gay, you know, he could just fire me and he’s not – he’s not inclined
to give me that raise. So I go home. I’m furious. I don’t know what to do. I don’t really have a recourse to action. So I reached out to somebody who I had been
dating at the time who invited me to go to work at another place. It was a financial institution. It was a large bank in Idaho. And I went for the interview without telling
my employer on my day off. I kept it hush-hush. I got a job offer. And when I that happened, I went in and I
gave my two weeks notice. And when they asked me why, I was like, “You
know why. You – there was a retroactive raise that I
was entitled to and you took back. You held the fact that I’m gay over me because
you could fire me at the time. So here’s your two weeks notice. It’s been a delight working with everybody
else, but not you. The end of my two weeks is coming up and it’s
Halloween, which is my favorite holiday. And I decided that I was going to do Halloween
in drag at night at the club. I’m getting it all together and I get wild
hair and I go, You know what? I’m going to come to work in this because
we’re in a craft store – everyone else is dressing up, like people doing cats and bunnies
and witches, whatever else. I’m gonna come in as a drag queen because
now everybody I know knows I’m gay, everybody else is fine with it except the store manager. So I’m just gonna do it. I go in just as myself as Barton. I go into the bathroom and do like a 15 minute
quick drag. Like, it was the busted – the most busted
drag I think anybody has ever witnessed. The only good thing was I hadn’t learned how
to grow a beard yet. So, you know, this was at least smooth enough
that, you know, people can forgive the contour job. But I’m there, I’m doing frames in the back,
you know, and finally I come up and I’m helping people at the design table. And one of my best clients comes in. She was the, like, the seventh wealthiest
woman in Idaho. As soon as she hears my voice, she’s kinda
like, “Barton?” And I started explaining to her, you know,
that I’m leaving the company. She tells me – she asks why, so I’m explaining
it to her. And clients keep coming in and I keep explain
it because they all want to know why I’m leaving. So as this is happening, you know, here’s
Barton in drag with electric blue wig, electric [blue] oversized sunglasses and and high heel
thigh highs. And the store manager comes walking through
the department and he kind of stops and then he looks back and, you just, I just saw him
turns scarlet, beet red. He was so mad. He couldn’t say anything because I’ve got
this wealthy customer in front of me. And she is having the best time with that
and I just look and I wave. And I go back to my client and I’m, you know,
I conclude with her and he comes back through and he’s like, “This is highly unprofessional.” I go, “What’re you gonna do? Fire me? My two weeks, remember?” I didn’t seem again. Like he hid in the office. The door was closed. He wasn’t talking to nobody. As soon as that happened, you know, every
department was talking to every department, like, “Did you see what happened between
so and so and Barton?” And, you know, he wouldn’t talk to anybody
because everyone thought he was in the wrong. One thing that I did find out when I visited
Idaho after moving to Seattle was that that frame shop had lost, like, a third of their
clients over it. They couldn’t retain them. And a lot of the employees ended up going
somewhere else as well because they just couldn’t work for a person like that. But it was really nice to hear that, you know,
people genuinely valued me at work for who I was and not just the quality of the work
that I did. After that happened, I was so happy and I
realized something – that even when you’re in a place where the politics may not align
with your survival or your quality of life, or the economy does not align with that, there
are things that you can do to still recognize what your self-worth is and what your inherent
worth is to the right employer. Start with with assessing your self worth,
you know, and make sure that you realize that you’re valuable regardless of what anybody
says. In fact, you’re priceless.

41 Replies to “Gay Man Claps Back At Homophobic Boss. “It’s Been A Delight Working With Everybody But You.””

  1. Good on you Barton for being honest with that guy that you didn't like the way he treated you for being who you are

  2. Thank you for featuring someone previously from Idaho. Our state has a lot of work to do, and it can be even worse for those who are LGBTQ. This was empowering to hear.

  3. this is the kind of way that those refusing to bake a gay wedding cake need to be dealt with..
    "OK.. fine" walk away ..

    hang on to your own dignity and leave the demented christians to work out for themselves what jesus would have really done or have their children or their grandchildren or their customers at some stage explain things to them..

  4. Wow! He's so handsome and a dreamboat! Thanks for being yourself and standing up for what's right! That means a lot! Thank you!

  5. Glad to hear the frame shop lost ⅓ of their clientele as he said, probably including that very wealthy woman. Yes that boss had a right to be a homophobic bigot, and his clientele had a right to take their business elsewhere. Sounds like his bigotry hurt the company big time. Hope he's satisfied.

  6. You rock! I hope that store manager sorts himself out, otherwise he can look forward to a lonely and bitter life 🙂

  7. The law was made to enable employers to fire employees without cause…I'm surprised the boss didn't fire him on the spot …nice he gave them 2 weeks notice

  8. You weren't out at home nor at work? With THAT voice? Oh, honey. What a stupid experience that you had to go through. Astounding that Idaho has laws/no laws that allow this type of treatment to a citizen.

  9. Who would be homophobic at a fine art frame shop? It can happen for I worked in an art museum and ran into homophobic employees there of all places.

  10. I am also from Idaho it's nice to hear attitudes are improving. Moved to Boise in '96 it took us nearly two months to secure an apartment, no one would rent to two gay men, luckily we had friends to stay with or we'd have been homeless. Never had any employment discrimination. It was odd in those days parts were open and some not at all. We went all over downtown in drag without issue, holding hands at the mall would've gotten us beaten up. Thank you for bravely sharing your story, wish you the very best.

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