I moved to Florida from Georgia when I was 19, and a few months later started working as a CNA at a nursing home. I learned lot of life lessons at that nursing home. One of the most important lessons: Florida is a right-to-work state.
Which means that an employee can be terminated at will. Being young and naive, I didn't know that the term "at will" meant I could be fired for my sexual orientation.
Fast forward a few years, and I was a new nurse who loved patient care so much that I took the cases no one else wanted. One of them was wound care for a 12-year-old girl with Epidermolysis Bullosa. Her whole body was a wound. The dressing change could take from two to four hours; longer if the tween was in pain or just wanted to watch Hannah Montana or The Suite Life of Zack and Cody more than she wanted to have her wounds dressed.
I was doing the care visits in the girl's home at night. When they ran longer than usual, which often happened, my wife, like any good spouse, would occasionally get worried and call me to make sure that I was OK. One night, while I was doing the dressing changes, she called and asked how long I'd be. I told her. She said I love you; I replied I love you, too, and we hung up. From this exchange the tween surmised that I was a lesbian and told her mom her speculations. The next day the administrator from my job called and told me that I was being fired for telling the patient that I was gay. Which I had never done. She recommended that in the future I not share my personal life with my patients.
A few days later the staffing coordinator called to tell me that I should fight for my job, telling me that the family wanted me back, that I was the best nurse they'd had up until that point patient, respectful and caring. The mom hadn't called to complain, but to gossip because she couldn't believe that I was gay.
I declined. I was too depressed. Too shocked. I had never been fired from a job before. I didn't know that you could be fired for your sexual orientation, and it really depressed me for a while until I realized that this too was a life lesson. I now have a really good position at a nursing home and am out to all of my patients and families. They often inquire about my wife and son. No one has voiced any disapproval and everyone seems to be pretty understanding. However, I'm young and may not be there forever. If I do switch jobs, I hope never again to experience the injustice of losing a job simply for being gay.