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San Diego Firefighters Claim Threats After Gay Pride Complaint

Four firefighters who complained to the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing because they were teased by colleagues and taunted with sexual innuendoes during a gay pride parade they were instructed to ride in say they have received "threats" since going public with their complaint.

SdfirerescueNBC San Diego reports: "Capt. John Ghiotto spoke with NBC 7/39 Monday. He said he's received threatening phone calls in light of his and the three other firefighters' complaints. 'This is not what I wanted. This is not where I wanted this to go,' Ghiotto said. 'But… we had no other choice and hopefully this will make us a stronger department.' Ghiotto has been a firefighter for 28 years, 19 of them in San Diego. He said he and another firefighter have been transferred to another station. Their complaint has led to a new policy within the department, which states they will rely solely on volunteers for future parade participation."

The threats against the firefighters, who seek the right to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, were not specified.

Firefighters: Threats Made Over Gay Parade Complaints [nbc san diego]

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  1. The focus should've been on punishing the colleagues that teased them after the parade. Instead of doing something about the homophobic atmosphere, they have catered to it instead. Never-mind any firefighters who might want to come out of the closet there. It might not be expressly forbidden, but they'd know they'll be ganged up on if they do. Bend over backwards to keep the phobes happy, while the 'mos are treated like dirt. Same ol', same ol'.

    Posted by: Johnny | Aug 15, 2007 9:00:04 AM

  2. You put "threats" in quotes as you don't believe they are getting harassed. Its no surprise to me that they may get death threats.

    Its wrong to force someone to take part of an event against their will (if another employer comes up to me about the United Way I am going to scream) and its equally wrong to threaten someone because of that stance.

    Posted by: yoshi | Aug 15, 2007 9:03:30 AM

  3. Thank you Johnny!

    What a bunch of douchebags!

    Posted by: shane | Aug 15, 2007 9:04:06 AM

  4. poor babies. somebody get them some wahhburgers with some frenchcries and some whine-ikens to wash them down with.

    Posted by: nic | Aug 15, 2007 9:04:18 AM

  5. No one should have been forced to march in this gay parade if they weren't gay. Not to mention, it was an off-duty f*&%ing PARADE!

    If they're going to sue the fire dept., sue them for forced labor.

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 15, 2007 9:22:22 AM

  6. It would be interesting to know the details of these alleged "threats." The NBC station simply uses the word "threats" without explanation and all kinds of, possibly incorrect, conclusions are drawn. This article really hasn't told us anything. I think this is typical of what passes for journalism in this country.

    Posted by: sam | Aug 15, 2007 10:01:44 AM

  7. Does the new voluntary rule apply to every public parade they now march in? Wouldn't it have to, to be consistent?

    Will they soon be able to decide if they wish to reply to an emergency call or not?

    I don't like how this played out, I don't like where it's heading.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | Aug 15, 2007 10:23:39 AM

  8. "Oh, Mary! Those big mean gays are picking on us nellie firefighters. Its just terrible. We can't touch our own hoses in public any more."

    Snap out of it! Jeez.

    Posted by: Esther Blodgett | Aug 15, 2007 11:05:00 AM

  9. I love how when homophobes get called on their bullshit, they always fall back on receiving undisclosed "threats".

    Sorry, if they can't be specific in the types of threats and what they actually were, I'm more inclined to believe that they're making shit up to garner more sympathy for their case.

    Posted by: Tread | Aug 15, 2007 11:17:50 AM

  10. I also don't think they should have been forced to participate, but Johnny's first post here is right on. Maybe they should consider suing their fellow fireman for harrassment instead of crying about gays making suggestive comments to them. Also, do they plan on suing the religious group who were protesting the parade?

    Doubt it.

    Posted by: Marco | Aug 15, 2007 12:50:45 PM

  11. For those of you claiming that the fire fighters were "force" to go to the parade, I suggest that you read the complaint.

    By THEIR OWN words, they were "assigned" to the task because they were the closest ladder to the parade. Nowhere do they say that they were "ordered" or "forced" or "required". THEY say that THEY didn't challenge the assignment because they ASSUMED that they would be reprimanded or punished. They offer NO example or proof that any such response would have occurred if they had questioned or refused the assignment.

    I don't think that they, or anyone should be required to go to ANY non-official function against their will but I think they are making WAY too much of this at the urging of a right-wing, fundamentalist law firm that is using this to push an anti-gay agenda. It's not even original. They stole the idea from a similar fiasco in England. I have no doubt that this whole thing was set up to go down exactly the way it did.

    It wouldn't surprise me a bit if some of these pure as the driven snow gentlemen are the same ones that can be seen at Mardi Gras screaming "SHOW US YOUR TITS" to every woman that passes by.

    This is really much ado about nothing.

    Posted by: Zeke | Aug 15, 2007 3:50:13 PM

  12. Let's see... according to their complaint the "sexual harassment" included:
    1. a T-Shirt for a fat guys club called "Girth and Mirth";
    2. someone saying, "Hey, Honey";
    3. someone saying, "look at the big firemen"; and
    4. the church bigots yelling, "you're going to hell" (they were all especially angry about this one... after all, they aren't gay so why should they be told they're going to hell? That should be only yelled at the faggots).

    I can't wait to hear what the "threats" include.

    Posted by: Timothy | Aug 15, 2007 3:55:22 PM

  13. Participating in the parade was a form of community outreach. Firefighters (and police officers) do community outreach ALL THE TIME as part of their JOB.

    Posted by: peterparker | Aug 15, 2007 3:58:14 PM

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