- The Magazine
An independent contractor for the city of Tulsa’s water department was fired last week after being caught using homophobic slurs against a gay couple whose house he was working at and mocking them with effeminate mannerisms.
Bobby Elder says the contractor came to his door to work on the water main outside his home on Friday, Oct. 2. His partner went to answer the door, and was told the water had to be shut off to fix the main.
However, the contractor can be heard on tape, courtesy of Elder’s security camera, muttering, “Bunch of dope smokin’ queers,” and seen waving his hands in a limp-wristed manner and prancing as he approaches the house, saying: “Get all your group showers done by then. I’m a queer.”
Elder, who’s lived in Oklahoma for his whole life, said he’s never had a problem with people mocking his sexuality, and certainly not with the work crews like the one outside his house on the day in question.
“I’m used to them working out there and always been very friendly in passing,” Elder told ABC affiliate KTUL. “So I was really shocked by what I heard.”
On the other hand, Elder also believes it was “fortunate” to capture the contractor’s behavior on camera so that people can see that anti-LGBTQ attitudes still exist.
Elder later reported the incident to city officials, including City Councilor Cass Fahler, who reported it to the mayor’s office and the City Water and Sewer Department.
The City of Tulsa later responded to the incident by noting that the contractor was not a city employee and has since been fired.
“The behavior displayed by this individual was ignorant and reprehensible and does not reflect the City’s values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all of the constituents we serve,” Michelle Brooks, the communications director for the city, said in a statement. “The City has talked to the contractor and this individual was removed immediately from all City projects.”
Elder says he appreciates the city’s response.
“I would never wish for anybody to lose their job, or wish ill will on anybody, no matter what their beliefs no matter if they differ from mine or not, but I do believe that all actions have consequences,” he said.
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