About the only thing that seems certain about the fate of pending postal reform legislation is that it might have to be put off for the next Congress and administration
IN THE YEARS following World War I, being gay was enough to disqualify people from being postal workers.
Case in point: In 1924 or 1925, Henry Gerber, a German immigrant who worked in a Chicago post office, founded what many consider the first American gay rights organization, the Society for Human Rights. For his trouble, he was fired from his job for “conduct unbecoming a postal worker.” Predictably, his organization was rather short-lived as homosexual people were then disinclined to come out.
Today things look a bit brighter at the U.S. Postal Service. An organization known as the Gay and Lesbian Postal Employee’s Network acts as advocates for homosexual postal workers. The group also markets merchandise like t-shirts and pens via a Web site (home.austin.rr.com/glpen/).
Although the items are marketed online, sales are conducted through good old-fashioned snail mail. Why? One could hazard a few obvious guesses. The group may feel a need to safeguard the privacy of those not quite ready to come out.
Or, they may just want to use the trusty USPS to safeguard the concerns of those who aren’t ready to trust the security of online credit card transactions.
Either way, Henry Gerber would be proud. -LR