Firefighters | Gay Pride | News | San Diego

Assistant Chief: San Diego Firefighters Required 'Critical-Incident Stress Debriefing' After Gay Pride Parade

Oh, please.

Jarman_carleFire Chief Tracy Jarman and Assistant Chief Jeff Carle, who marched in the San Diego Gay Pride parade with the four firefighters who are suing the city because they say they were "harassed" while marching, testified yesterday in the case.

Said Carle: "They were pretty upset. And it got to the point where they asked for some help."

The San Diego Union Tribune reports: "That night, the four requested critical-incident stress debriefing, or the same type of emergency counseling offered to firefighters dealing with on-the-job casualties and other grief, Jarman testified. Carle met with the four during their next shift. They told him they wanted a policy drafted to protect firefighters from having to attend gay pride parades against their will. Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 1, the four met with Carle, Jarman and Javier Mainar, the department's other assistant chief. Carle testified that Mainar told the four they were acting like hypocrites, and said he doubted they would have similar issues if women – not men – were making the catcalls. Jarman told jurors: 'I assured them what happened to them wouldn't happen again.'"

Here's what they're complaining about: "The four men say they suffered emotional distress because of what they saw and heard: cat calls, simulated sex acts among men wearing nothing but briefs, and lewd comments and gestures."

Imho, their homophobia may make them unfit to serve. If they needed counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder from seeing the same kind of hetero-nonsense gay people have to observe on an average trip to Las Vegas, there's something intrinsically wrong here.

The city's firefighters have participated in the parade for the last 15 years without incident.

Fire chief recounts gay pride parade [san diego union tribune]

San Diego Firefighter Gay 'Harassment' Trial Begins [tr]
San Diego Firefighters Claim Threats After Gay Pride Complaint [tr]
San Diego Firefighters Sue Dept for Gay Pride Sexual Harassment [tr]

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  1. Hey Andy,

    I dunno about this one. I mean, sure, to require post-traumatic stress counseling is pretty ridiculous, but I'm gay and *I* feel pretty uncomfortable at gay pride parades for precisely the same reason. Maybe I'm just shy, or maybe it's my modest Jewish upbringing rearing its ugly head, but I don't think that if you're uncomfortable being catcalled that something's intrinsically wrong with you.

    Sometimes we forget that being sex-positive means being okay with people who, like me, aren't as comfortable in their own skin.

    Posted by: Jeremy | Sep 19, 2008 8:19:29 AM

  2. These people are firemen, Jeremy. Firement are trained not to think twice about running into burning buildings to rescue people risking their own lives in the process. Yet we're supposed to believe their such delicate souls they can't take a few catcalls in a gay pride parade?

    These people shouldn't be allowed to be firemen. They just don't have the guts for it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 19, 2008 8:30:31 AM

  3. Why were the firefighters made to participate in the parade? I don't blame them if they were made to do it. Strange.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Sep 19, 2008 8:30:57 AM

  4. Wait a minute - they were forced to march in a parade against their will? That's ridiculous. Homophobia may be wrong, but that doesn't mean that for some people it's not strong and very real. If I were forced to march in an anti-gay, pro-life, KKK parade, I can tell you, in all seriousness, I might need some counseling afterwards. I agree that their homophobia may make them unfit to serve, but forcing them to participate in a gay parade hurts everyone involved, including the gay community.

    Posted by: John | Sep 19, 2008 8:31:29 AM

  5. Straights are so far behind. They've just discovered what we call a "come down".

    Posted by: Luke | Sep 19, 2008 8:36:54 AM

  6. Women endure this sort of thing all the time. Straight men find it perfectly acceptable to cat call women on the streets.

    Posted by: homer | Sep 19, 2008 8:41:00 AM

  7. I'm not one who would argue that because some ethnic group or gender has had to tolerate inappropriate behavior, these guys shouldn't be allowed to complain. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    What I would argue is that a vast majority of the behavior in question is harmless. We're talking about guys in skimpy clothing or even briefs/speedos, humping and dancing and frolicking? Come on. No firefighter could honestly say they have never witnessed or been involved in the same sort of activity amongst other guys in locker rooms at the gym, in school, in their very own fire stations. And probably in less than briefs on more than one occasion.

    Suddenly, PG-13 flesh baring makes them uncomfortable?

    Only exception that might be rightly considered harassing from this story would be the catcalls -- flattery which is perhaps unwanted because it's from the same gender, but still, a relatively mild annoyance one might expect in a big crowd of revelers.

    Much ado about nothing.

    Posted by: sparks | Sep 19, 2008 9:09:00 AM

  8. I bet these aren't the firemen from the calendars.

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 19, 2008 9:13:15 AM

  9. Actually, I feel bad for these dudes. If they don't want to have to participate in a Gay Pride event, they should allow themselves to be respectfully excluded. Straight men aren't interested in the gay man fantasy of getting with a "str8t guy." They shouldn't have to participate if they don't want to, and that's that.

    Posted by: ETC. | Sep 19, 2008 9:14:24 AM

  10. This is absolutely ridiculous!

    "If they needed counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder from seeing the same kind of hetero-nonsense gay people have to observe on an average trip to Las Vegas..."

    Forget Vegas, try any straight club on a Friday night.

    "...Mainar told the four they were acting like hypocrites, and said he doubted they would have similar issues if women – not men – were making the catcalls"

    Mainar is right. These guys are pathetic.

    Police and Firemen have been present at every pride I've ever attended, and I've never heard of some frivolous lawsuit being brought because of it.

    Posted by: JP | Sep 19, 2008 9:19:17 AM

  11. So by you logic, "ETC.", if a gay bar is on fire straight firemen "should allow themseleves to be respectfully excluded" from putting it out.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 19, 2008 9:24:14 AM

  12. OH those poor babies! They just couldn't handle the sight of all those cute, tight gay butts. The poor things just had to have some "help". I wonder what the hell they maybe trying to hide. Maybe they had a couple of gay experiences in the past and that just brought it all back. Why else would they claim to be so traumatised. Maybe it's homophobia and old memories mixed.I know a couple of guys like that.

    Posted by: SONNIE | Sep 19, 2008 9:28:37 AM

  13. On the subway this morning, I witnessed a sex discordant couple engaged in aggressive groping and open mouth kissing. I didn't pay for my Metrocard to be subjected to such filth and now I'm suffering from tremors. Can I sue the MTA?

    Posted by: John in Manhattan | Sep 19, 2008 9:33:52 AM

  14. I had lunch with some of my straight friends at "Hooters"- I had emotional distress for almost a year and can't stop seeing the girls dancing to the beat of the music, the gestures the waiters were making really made me feel unconfortable....this was a work lunch- (crying right was rought...really hard to swallow) Should I get a lawyer????

    Posted by: Fab | Sep 19, 2008 9:44:58 AM

  15. Two beers in a dark corner and i'll bet those firefighters would be all over a gay boy, just like those guys i used to know.

    Posted by: SONNIE | Sep 19, 2008 9:49:24 AM

  16. The counseling is pretty ridiculous. I think that they should have asked for volunteers to be in the parade personally. I mean I'm gay and I hate pride.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 19, 2008 9:56:54 AM

  17. How embarrasing to do this to the city, waste money away and then treat the lgbt like we are a bunch of hungry monkeys or wolves.....Shame, shame ! They should get to work instead of wastign city's money....

    Posted by: bosie | Sep 19, 2008 9:57:53 AM

  18. This makes me very sad, because I almost always agree with you and think your instincts are great. But for me this is so pen-and-shut. These guys didn't in any way refuse to assist citizens based on their sexual orientation and race (as some public servants have done, and as the Bush administration now wants ALL HEALTH CARE WORKERS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY to be able to do). They didn't take a stand for or against the parade or equal rights; they didn't object to being surrounded by gay PDAs, as some of your readers seem to claim . All they did was admit they were uncomfortable and maintain that it should not be part of their duties to take part in a parade. Their personal feelings, which we can't ascertain, aren't relevant in any way; their basic rights are. The failure of empathy on this--the ridiculing of people who, just like us, think it's appropriate to seek legal redress when our rights are breached--suggests what the firemen might have found so ugly in the situation. The comments here--that somehow their taking issue with being subjected to public sexual harassment means they're not tough enough to rescue people from burning buildings--have to outrage every gay and lesbian cop or firefighter who's been harassed on the job and then told they're being a pussy when they object.

    Posted by: Cool Bear | Sep 19, 2008 10:00:23 AM

  19. I have a friend that was on the police force in NY and he was made to work at every pride parade just past 6th Avenue in the West Village. He was a hot guy and subjected to all sorts of sights, advances and innuendo. He is also secure enough in his masculinity to be amused and flattered by it all.
    Just what is it with San Diego? Did any of the claimants object to attending the event before hand? I'm sure the sights aren't any more provocative than what one would see on MTV.

    Posted by: Mark in NYC | Sep 19, 2008 10:14:14 AM

  20. 'I mean I'm gay and I hate pride.'

    Well D'UH, Matt! You are a Repug, right?

    'Straight men aren't interested in the gay man fantasy of getting with a "str8t guy."'

    What the hell makes you think that ALL fire fighters are straight, ETC.? What, a gay man cannot possibly be manly or brave enough to risk his life to save others? And so what if a gay guy thinks a straight guy happens to be cute?! I mean, I agree that there are a lot of gay men who do have that "seduce the str8 guy" fantasy, and I'm honestly not one of them. I have no desire to bed a man who has no interest in me sexually and I think that the gay men who obsess over straights are self-loathing. But I see a hot guy, he's just a hot guy PERIOD. Gay, straight, or bi, it shouldn't matter. If I simply tell a guy he's hot, I should feel guilty or ashamed and worry about the poor baby's feelings? Gimme a break.

    Posted by: Jai | Sep 19, 2008 10:42:12 AM

  21. Jai,

    No. I'm not a repug lol. I'm independent thanks. What's wrong with hating pride? I don't enjoy it. I think it's dumb to stand in line for a bar for an hour when any other time I can just walk right in. I also don't enjoy the booths or parade. If I was a Repug, I would want to take it away from you. I just don't go and don't think anyone should be forced into going.

    Posted by: Matt | Sep 19, 2008 11:48:12 AM

  22. Hey, what's wrong woth hating yourself, Matt? You're a Big Ol' FAAAAAAGGGGG!!!!! and everyone knows it. Such a tragedy, ain't it? You've worked so hard on being straight-acting/straght-appearing and here comes the Gay Pride parade to ruin your day. So why not do yourself a favor and TAKE THE FUCKING GAS PIPE!!! It'll make the world a lot happier for those of us who are out and proud of who we are.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 19, 2008 12:13:18 PM

  23. I think most of you--those who are ridiculing the firemen--should be ashamed of yourselves.

    These firemen were made to participate against their will, which is clearly a breach of their constitutional rights. Marching in a gay pride parade--which, let's be honest here, is not the same thing as marching in the Thanksgiving Day Parade and you all know it--has nothing to do with their job description. As funny as you think it sounds, their rights were violated. End of story.

    Oh, and I'm a Democrat (yup, registered and all. Big lefty). Flame away.

    Posted by: Jeremy | Sep 19, 2008 12:28:00 PM

  24. Yes, let's be honest here. YOU'RE A LOG CABINETTE TROLL!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Sep 19, 2008 12:44:19 PM

  25. Everyone defending the firemen, I see your point, but here's my problem:

    The firefighters aren't suing to change the rules--which have already been changed so something like this doesn't happen again--they're suing for DAMAGES. This means that these men are saying the pain of marching in pride was so severe that they're not only seeking to get the rules changed, but that it made them unable or impaired their lives to the point where they need monetary compensation. I find that a bit extreme...

    Posted by: Fidel | Sep 19, 2008 1:13:28 PM

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