MISSOURI: Cop Files Lawsuit Alleging Superior Told Him To “Tone Down His Gayness” To Earn Promotion

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

A 22-year St. Louis County police veteran who was once picked to become the department’s liaison to the gay community is now suing the department for discrimination. In a lawsuit filed Jan. 10, Sgt. Keith Wildhaber claims a former St. Louis County Police Board member told him to “tone down your gayness” if he ever wanted to be promoted.

Wildhaber declined to comment for this story. His attorney, Russell Riggan, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The sergeant ranked third among 26 people who took a promotions test in February 2014, and also was third in a second round of tests in February 2015, according to the lawsuit.

But Wildhaber has watched as virtually all of his peers were promoted, even though his written performance reviews show that he “exceeds standards” or is “superior” in all rated categories, the suit says. “Defendant believes plaintiff’s behavior, mannerisms, and/or appearance do not fit the stereotypical norms of what a ‘male’ should be,” according to the lawsuit.

There’s much more to the story at the link.

  • Lazycrockett

    “What a male should be”????????????????
    To quote the first wives club, “Take Everything.”

    • clay

      didn’t you know they were policing gender roles?

  • Lazycrockett
    • Mark

      That just singed my ass hairs….

      • gothambear

        Photos please!

    • TheManicMechanic

      Hopefully he was beating his head on that table.

    • Clive Johnson

      “I am a white male conservative Christian! I have privileges! You will remain silent, woman, and know your place!”

      • Frostbite

        Someone tell that to Conway, Coulter, etc..

        • liondon#iamnotatraitor

          They’re kinda uppity too

  • Tawreos

    Flame on, girlfriend Flame on!

    • Lazycrockett

      all the way to the bank.

  • Mark

    And THAT is exactly why I always leave my eyelash curlers at home. Nothing screams HOMO more than curling your lashes in the fast lane….

  • Do Something Nice

    Daddy! Show me where the bad man touches people.

  • TheManicMechanic

    The rank and file white supremacists in the force don’t like gays? Imagine that!

    • Todd20036

      And yet, many of them love the cock. Funny that.

      • TheManicMechanic

        Indeed they do, and overcompensate to try and hide it.

  • ChrisInKansas

    Don’t Ask Don’t Tell lives on in Missouri.

    • KCMC

      Truth.

  • HZ81

    I had a co-worker say something very similar to me years ago—half-jokingly, of course, because bigots often get sheepish face-to-face. I said I would only if he could tone down his stupid, although that’s probably tough for a stupid person to do.

    The room exploded laughing. He was red with straight boy impotency. I wish I had it on camera.

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  • KarenAtFOH

    This is what happens when you don’t eat the meatloaf.

  • Debbi

    Hmmm,, I lived among men for most of my life, now live full time post op etc mtf. There was a significant number of them that bashed/hassled/intimidated women in all areas of life. Then there is this officer, what does he do that’s so wrong? Rainbow sticker on his lunchbox?

    • Dazzer

      It’s fear of what they don’t understand and can’t control.

      That’s the easy explanation – but obviously there are screes of human wisdom that would put everything in context.

      But ultimately, it’s the fear of fear itself. These men (and women) don’t like being afraid, but can’t confront the things in themselves that are driven by fear.

  • ByronK

    I’d say “no, but tone down your fascistness”.

  • Ninja0980

    Too bad he couldn’t tell his boss to tone down his bigotry.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    This immediately came to my mind when I read this.
    Jump to 43 seconds.

    https://youtu.be/SQBLzotAn3M

    • Ready Eddie?

      He was JUST giving the tranny a ride HOME!

      • Rebecca Gardner

        LOL!

  • NancyP

    Yep, this is Missouri. There are a lot of suburban “christians” out there who take their faith as an opportunity to bully other people than to give up their McMansion and excess cars, get a cheap flat in the city, and serve the poor.

  • Henry Auvil

    How exactly do you “tone down your gayness”? By ratcheting up the dumb?

    • MusicBear88

      Leave the feather boa at home? /s

  • Lazycrockett
    • Tom Ato

      Oh, an actual poll.

    • bambinoitaliano

      39% has never hire a person for a job.

    • (((GC)))

      If Fox “News” is reporting it, 45*’s actual disapproval rating must be higher! Bigly higher! The highest ever!

    • safari

      24% is when we get to Nixon’s all time low.

    • That_Looks_Delicious

      I keep looking for a poll that’s broken down state-by-state, because you know that if it’s 39 nationwide, his approval on the west coast has got to be something like 4.

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    Dude looks pretty butch to me.

    • clay

      Yeah, but we haven’t seen him walk.

      (joking)

      • Johnny Wyeknot

        Or heard his running social commentary!

    • Mrs. Councillor Nugent

      Bet he has his own handcuffs

      • Bad Tom

        Being bottom for a cop with his own handcuffs is HOT!
        ——
        Yes, I speak from experience.

  • IAMBOWLINGGREEN

    Just for the record… straight men can be flamboyant. But they are usually encouraged to tone it up.

  • Richard B

    grrrrr – hearing about stuff like this makes my blood boil.

  • bambinoitaliano
  • Rex

    The rest of them should tone down their assholiness.

  • MarkBuster

    About 15-20 years ago I was an Intern at the UCSF AIDS Health Project… can’t remember which year, but it was when protease inhibitors were just getting into the market (96?)… and their Medical Director Told me EXACTLY the same thing. I really wish I had the self confidence that I have now, I would have ripped his career open.

  • Matthew Delemos

    Huh, you would think bigots would be more wary of us “stealth gays”, than the “flamboyant gays”.

    And what kind of wussy cop cares what people think of their sexuality if they aren’t gay?

  • Lazycrockett

    OMG Mildred Pierce is on TCM!!

    • edrex

      that’s about the right tone.

      • Lars Littlefield

        “I’m sorry. I would have rather cut off both my hands than do that!”

    • Lars Littlefield

      We have stopped all chores, put off lunch and are drinking beer/eating chips while watching that movie right now. Jesus, Zachary Scott was well cast as a fey 1940s emo boy! There ain’t a string of meat on him. Jack Carson never look hunkier/sexier. How’d I ever miss what a good-looking big lug he was? 😉

  • BeaverTales

    “Tone Down Your Gayness” To Earn Promotion

    Our dads have been telling their gay sons this for decades ever.

    • MusicBear88

      Don’t come across as too southern, northern, Jewish, gay, liberal, conservative, anything out of the main stream. Act as white bread middle-of-the-road as possible and you’ll offend fewer people and go further.

      This is why I wear Brooks Brothers shirts, tailored jackets, vintage Hermès ties (from back when you could get them for $20 on eBay), and low boots of either black leather, snakeskin, or alligator with silver heels. Keep ’em guessing.

      Interestingly, a teacher born in France came to work at my high school, and seeing that I dressed well, asked me where he could go to get a men’s shirt that wasn’t blue, white, or pale yellow. I told him “if you find a good place, let me know.” It’s not just a gay thing to dress more flamboyantly, it’s northern Europe versus southern thing, Protestant versus Catholic thing.

      • DaveW

        Funny, brooks brothers has the best no iron dress shirts and I have their slacks and cords in every color. I buy an Hermes tie or two every time I travel. Good for you with the vintage. Some of mine are over 30 years old but they are mine new from high school!

        We always bought Hermes, it started as an equestrian brand so we always had it for the far more.they make the best saddles still.

        I’ll be buying a couple new ties at DeGaul next month!

        • NancyP

          Yep, I lived in the Brooks Brothers boy’s button-down shirts as a teenager, and I still have one in decent condition 40 years later.

      • My favorite boy-drag is still a plain white Arrow-style button-down, a pair of well-worn 501’s (bought raw, I’ll wash-fit ’em myself thanks), and a pair of beat-to-death, black, full bull hide Tony Llama’s.

  • Gigi

    I applaud him for standing up for himself. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I met an ex-cop in Toronto who was the first gay officer to come out. I think it was in the late 80s or early 90s. He was a big hulk of a man so he didn’t have anyone say anything to his face but his locker was vandalized on more than one occasion, and his co-workers didn’t go out of their way to make him feel welcome. In time though it did get better for him, and he paved the way for others who would come after him.

    Flash forward to today. My older brother is a police detective in a small town. One day when he heard his guys calling one another “fag” he told them to knock it off. “My little brother is gay and that kind of talk disgusts me. So stop.” And they did.

  • Welcome to St. Louis County, where men are MEN – and goats are nervous. So glad I lived on the other end of the state, KCMO/Jackson County. Our cops were mostly “good ol’ boys” but I never encountered a single one that didn’t behave in a completely professional manner. Even the Aryan Youth poster child that came when my house was broken into was a consummate professional. He saw the rainbow flag on my front stoop, the rainbow Mardi Gras beads draped over the statue of David, even saw my traveling crown from one of my drag titles… never batted a single lash, called me “sir” (yeah, go ahead, I giggled too), and gave me his business card with the case number.
    Two friends of mine went to St. Louis to attend a benefit, were arrested for DUI, and the first thing out of the arresting officer’s mouth was “faggots” – which only proves that the solid-gold-50-pound badge syndrome still exists. And with the militarization of the police since 9/11, is only getting worse.

    • KCMC

      I live in Jackson (Waldo) but work with Clay and Platte sheriffs(in all high schools)…the good ol boys north of the river make Jackson CO look calendar boy metrosexual in contrast. A couple in Waldo have full sleeve colorful tatt srs gym beef arms.

      • I’ve seen plenty of the type on the KCMO force, too. Not so much in the Sheriff department. The A.Y. child I mentioned was built like a brick shithouse and had a full sleeve on his right arm with the Marine emblem and motto on the left. He also had one of the biggest, squarest asses I’ve ever seen fill up a pair of blue pants…

        Excuse me… I think I just did something messy…

    • William

      I wouldn’t call you Sir on a dare!

      • Bite the pillow, get your ass in the air, and do as Daddy commands…

        …wait… wut?

    • NancyP

      There are many St. Louis CITY LGB officers. I don’t know about the T.

  • Rex

    This is why the LGBT community needs protection in the workplace. It is not a special right, it’s the right to be treated as everyone else, to be given the same consideration as every other worker and and fear being fired for your sexual orientation.

    • Amen!, said the Pagan lady.

    • JCF

      And it’s also why it is LUDICROUS to think we can split the “T” from the “LGB”. Phobes will punish LGBs Every.Single.Bit as much as “T’s”, for not being THEIR idea of “masculine [cis-]men” and “feminine [cis-]women”.

  • Circle Thomas

    There’s bigotry in a police department in St. Louis?

    http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/210/119/9b3.png

  • Johnny Wyeknot

    The comments over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch certainly are quaint.

    • Paula

      jeebus, I can only imagine.

    • Tempus Fuggit

      Fortunately for my sanity and blood pressure, I can’t see the comments. that’s because I’ve got *facebook.com in my list of 127.0.0.1 redirects in my /hosts file. It means I never, ever see any fecebook content, and fecebook doesn’t get its grubby mitts on my shizzle.

  • Paula

    I have had something sililar happen a couple of times. Its always from Malibu Barbie type straight women.
    They are “Why don’t you try to dress more feminine?”
    My usual response is Why don’t you make me? They shutup. I know that is childish, rude, antagonistic, makes me a bad person in some people’s eyes, and just assholish. MEH!
    Years ago, I used to wear skirts, have my nails done, all that femmy stuff. One day, I decided that I didn’t care about it.

    • MT YVR

      See that’s the thing I just don’t get. What the fuck is wrong with knowing which lipstick looks good on you and also knowing how to rock army boots. As a man. Or a woman. Wtf is this crap really about? How in hell do OTHER women honestly say shit like that and not get what it is they’re saying/reinforcing. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot so other people will limp too.

      • (((GC)))

        Dan Robinson wrote on here that he wears a beard because he likes it; he paints his nails because he likes it. A great example for people of any gender!

      • Oscarlating Wildely

        For years, as one who presents as male, I wanted to wear cool nail polish. I tried a host of colors. I realized it’s not a color or obviously gender thing in why I simply can’t: polish draws reference to the fact that I have the fattest, most ungraceful, unrefined fingers ever hatched. Honestly, I am so envious of people who can show off nice, pleasant hands with a great shade of polish. Me? I just look like a bunch of plump roots dipped in rouge.

        • perversatile

          “Treat Yo-self”
          French manicure with ‘Hard Candy’ Matte Topcoat.

    • Lars Littlefield

      Personally, I think you look delicious in your Sears work pants and shirts. Kind of makes me feel like we’re on safari. 😉

      Seriously, I worked for the National Forest Service for 10 years and they would never think about suggesting female employees should wear skirts and blouses, although the uniform companies that made our uniforms did offer skirts and blouses and smart khaki sweater sets. And most of the women looked better in mens’ slacks rather than those cut for women. Shirts were a different matter. Still, fuck those who think we should be more masculine/less gay or more feminine/less butch. Our high school womens’ athletic coach would have looked completely out of place if she had worn anything than a gender neutral tennis outfit every day of her life in the 1950s.

      • Bj Lincoln

        I worked for the Ohio Dept of Natural Resources and we all wore the same uniforms. It is not a job for skirts and we were never offered them.

        • Lars Littlefield

          I bet you rocked that uniform!

      • safari

        “Kind of makes me feel like we’re on safari.”

        I’ll have to check my schedule.

        • Lars Littlefield

          I’ll bring the antipasto tray and the Pimm’s Cup.

          • DaveW

            Pimms cup. That takes me back. Polo, racing. …..

      • Paula

        I’m a jeans girl. When I first started teaching, women were highly encouraged to wear dresses or skirt/blouse combinations. That wasn’t very compatible with teaching geology and earth sciences.

      • NancyP

        Hey, I still prefer (and look fine in) straight-cut men’s style shirts, being rather busty for weight and prone to popping out of “fitted” shirts.

    • Bj Lincoln

      I care about being clean and comfortable so I shower often, wear well fitting jeans and shirts or blouses. T shirts are soft and comfortable but then so are many button down shirts and blouses. I wear bright colors and patterns to express my mood or to try to create a better mood but then black is often my go to color because I am often immersed in color as an artist and need my favorite, black, to calm myself. Black does not mean I am depressed. I do not wear stockings because they are a pain to get into and uncomfortable. I do not wear high heels because they are painful and an unnatural position for walking. They cause more problems than a supportive flat shoe. I will stick to my Doc’s, Kalso Earth and Birkenstock. I wear my hair short because after having very long hair for years, I needed a break and love that I don’t have to spend much time daily on my hair. I also don’t grow my nails because they get in the way of making art and suck up time. I never wore make up except for photos and TV. I can’t see well without my glasses so I have a friend apply some shadow and mascara when necessary so my eyes don’t disappear on camera. I am often mistaken for a boy because I am small. I don’t care and find it funny when others can’t tell and get flustered. I do have issues with women in restrooms giving me shit but that doesn’t happen here in Maryland. Only my home state of Ohio.

    • William

      My mother quit wearing makeup about 40 years ago. I think she had a “fuck it” moment and pitched everything into the trash can.

    • NancyP

      Cheer up – when you get middle-aged, no one even sees you. So I continue to wear my nylon cargo hiking pants, plain knit shirts or nylon “fishing shirts”, black clogs (for orthopedic reasons), and don’t do make-up. I often wear flamboyant costume jewelry, though.

    • perversatile
    • gothambear

      A female friend and colleague of mine at a bank in L.A. in the 1980’s was told by senior management she was “too much fun” and needed to be more serious on the job…we howled with laughter at that and then we were pissed.

  • MT YVR

    So I wonder. Serious question: what’s it like for women there? Either women are told to butch up (or do it automatically as it’s just part of the landscape of being in law enforcement as a woman) OR this is absolutely about homosexuality. Shit like this always makes me think “so is it that he’s gay or is it that you just don’t like ‘feminine’…which includes women, asshat”. Sorry. I have issues with this kind of thing because often it’s discussed without the attending rant that we all know the top level is being upset about gay men but the subfloor is aaaaaall about women are horrible, no girls allowed. Which. Augh.

  • Jerry Kott

    Going off the beaten path out in the hinterlands, the definition of man is calculated by the mind of a 12 year old boy. I have known heterosexual men whose sexuality has been questioned because they don’t always act straight- that definition varies with the weather. One in particular, because he was a vegetarian.
    We just can’t seem to live a life off someone else’s gaydar.

    • Lars Littlefield

      And then there is Marcus Bachmann. What’s a self-respecting gay man to do?

      • Jerry Kott

        Double lives are still very common. Having spent a decade plus in NYC gives you a different perspective. Marcus Bachmann’s are everywhere. You feel sorry that they didn’t have the courage to be who they are but people make wrong turns all the time.

  • David Walker

    “Butch it up a little, will ya?”

    • Lars Littlefield

      “OK. But next time it’s my turn to bottom.”

  • Nic Peterson

    Hmmm. Where have I heard that sort of BS before? Oh, now I remember. At work. I was once called a heathen by a woman who was sleeping her way through the local pro baseball team, in front of everyone. There were no consequences. Later that day I delivered groceries provided some much needed companionship to the men in my community that would eventually succumb. But I was the heathen. A few months later I noticed her car was being towed from the parking lot and I completely forgot to say anything about it. Miss High and Mighty wasn’t very good with money in spite of a very comfortable living.

    Some months later during a reduction in force, she wasn’t retained. If ever there was a bye Felicia moment, it was then. I’ve watched many more exit in the subsequent 20 plus years.

    If this man is half as good as reported the truth will come out and individuals higher up will need to answer some uncomfortable questions. I wish my fellow traveler the best of luck and hope anyone that reads this takes away this message: be yourself, make sure you do your best work, make sure someone above you benefits from your efforts, make sure someone above them knows.

  • Lars Littlefield

    When I first moved to my little Ma/Pa Kettle farm a Sheriff Deputy stopped by to stick his nose in my business. Turned out we got along well. Before he left he asked, “What country are you from? You have distinct accent.” I responded, “I’m from Gaylandia. We homosexuals are required by law to sound educated.” He frowned, thought about it for too many seconds and then got the joke. Ever since he’s come around to check on us about every few weeks and shoot the shit. It’s sooo obvious he’s very curious and would like to get closer. But, no. Not a good idea.

    • Jerry Kott

      Not a good idea! Our welcome wagon to Pennsylvania was a Law suit initiated by our closet case neighbor who spent a year trying to get into our pants, whose affections we rejected. The emotional development of the outback DNA can’t process the concept of self Pride and being Gay. Pity sex was never my thing.

      • Lars Littlefield

        I totally agree. I’m not interested in a bit of strange with a Mormon bachelor cop living in the closet. Plus, he’s not terribly attractive. In fact, he’s not even remotely attractive. So we’re just nice to him and make sure he understands there are barriers he must not cross.

        • Jerry Kott

          It is sad to see when people spend their whole lives prisoners of their own Fears. I suspected you have enough sense. We could not get ride of our neighbor, he pinged our gaydar the first time we met.. We had to toss him out of our house when he showed up drunk on a Saturday night wanting to know “whose bed he was going to sleep in”.

          • Lars Littlefield

            Eewwww. Just eewwww.

          • Jerry Kott

            Fast forward a bit, when we actually moved into the house our neighbor sues us claiming we did not honor a verbal agreement that only took place in the minds of he and his conspiring attorneys. However, not only were we sued by him but by his dead wife. We suspected from day 1 that his marriage was a sham. When I called a local Gay Bar to ask who the gay attorneys were and I was given the names of his attorneys who were calling us “Fags and Queers” They freaked when we didn’t fall to our knees. They believe we shared the same fears.
            When you peek behind the curtains in the hinterlands, reality shape shifts.

          • Lars Littlefield

            Good for you.

    • Tempus Fuggit

      I had no idea kettles are a farmed product; I thought they were made in foundries.

      • Lars Littlefield

        No. You grow them like carrots. They pop right out of the ground. But then you have to cure them in hot coals which can be tricky. Sometimes they scream.

        • And they make a bitch of a mess when you start polishing them. Too much or too vigorous rubbing and the damned things explode with sticky stuff all over your grandmother’s tatted duvet…

          Wait… what were we talking about?

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Similar to blacks (I say that because they have a lot worse), gays have to excel and outperform just to be considered worthy of respect. Straight White Male Privilege in action.

  • DaveW

    I was once told that in so many words, by a petite guy with a lisp. He’s long gone and I now make thrice his salary at least. Bad move.

  • JDS
  • jaydee5000

    I’ve experienced lots of homophobia in my life but never from an employer. I honestly don’t know how much guts I’d have in that situation, so I applaud this man.

  • KQCA