July 20, 2010
Diversity in the workplace is a very broad term. Diversity itself means variety. Diversity in the workplace can be about age, ethnicity, physical ability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and many more categories beyond those specified legally in equal opportunity and affirmative action non-discrimination status. Gays in the military is a topic that has brought about many heated debates for years. Gays in a typical workplace is common and accepted by the general public. Discrimination is illegal and unethical in the workplace and sexual discrimination is no exception. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) is one workplace that has the potential to have a complicated ethical problem. The potential problem comes from the men’s shower room. It is a communal type shower with 12 shower heads in a fairly small room. None of the divers have had any problems showering together after the dives because they know they are all straight. A common concern in the in the locker room is the possibility of a gay diver potentially getting hired. None of the divers want a gay man in the shower with them. This is an opinion that they are allowed to have, but not legally allowed to prevent. These divers have some concerns that are valid and some that are not. In group settings, like gym showers, men showering with men, and women showering with women has always been the cultural norm in this country. Showering together as a part of normal, daily life is unusual for opposite sex couples, married or otherwise (except when the couples are having some sexual play). Depending on the point of view, a gay man in the shower would be the same as having a woman in the shower. So why are women not allowed in men’s showers and men not allowed in the women’s showers? Professor Charles Moskos came up with the “don’t ask, don’t tell”...