Public ENDA Hearing – House Bill 85 May 1, 2013
House and Governmental Affairs Committee: Committee Room 2
Mr. Chairman, members of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee: my name is Albert McMeen.
I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Forum for Equality.
I am testifying in support of House Bill 85 (the Louisiana Fair Employment Act).
Although I realized that I was gay from an early age, the 1950s and 1960s were a time when most gay people stayed in the closet. I chose to marry a woman and have children as a way to hide my identity from myself and others. All though I told my wife that I had “homosexual tendencies” before we were married, she trusted that I would not act on those impulses.
I went to college in New England and earned my MBA at Columbia University in 1966. I served in the Army Reserve earning an Honorable Discharge in 1972. I was employed as a Vice President of the Irving Trust Co., a large commercial bank in New York.
In 1977, we divorced as I was no longer able, at 35 to hide my real nature from myself. We lived next door to each other in New York and shared custody of our two children. In 1979, a management change resulted in a new manager. Upon finding out from a person in my department that I was gay, he fired me. Another gay man he had fired reported that the manager had a reputation of “witch-hunting” gay men at the bank and not just firing them, but calling around the financial industry to “warn” others of the names of homosexuals he had fired.
I was unable to obtain employment in the finance industry after that. This dramatically affected the financial well-being of my ex-wife and my children. Eventually, I went to work as an Assistant Professor of Business at New York University and later Long Island University at half my former salary. My son, Christopher has recently written on the Internet about this hardship. During the next several years, I also wrote 5 books on finance, and after my sons finished college, I became self employed, running a bed and breakfast still today.
I have come before you to ask you to consider how being fired not for incompetence or unsuitability for the work, but because of who you are and who you love places great stress on families, ruins careers for which persons have prepared their whole lives. Do you want your daughters marrying gay men who feel that they must stay in the closet in order to get and stay in a good job? Do believe that good employees of the State who happen to identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender present such a hazard that they should be fired without just cause?
Please vote YES for House Bill 85.