I had an interaction with a co-worker yesterday that seemed to go fine at the time, but boy-howdy did I read that wrong.
Part of the conversation was me trying to place a student for the co-worker. I started with "male." Nothing. I added "tall." Nothing. I added "thinning hair." Still nothing. I added "gay." Still nothing, so I figured it wasn't going to happen and we moved on to another topic.
It may be pertinent to this anecdote that this particular guy is openly-gay and we were talking about his desire to work at a pharmacy that specializes in H.I.V. meds; a perfect niche for him as he is also openly H.I.V. positive. Also? I adore him and I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm swell as well.
Later in the day I was the recipient of an email severely chastising me for speaking about a student in a disrespectful and derogatory fashion. I was very upset for a variety of reasons. One: that someone would think I was anti-gay. Two: the email went to several people. Three: that I was an idiot for having been so tone-deaf that I didn't realize that there are people that might consider the descriptor "gay" to be deragotory.
The outcome of this was that the co-worker and I discussed this incident with our supervisor and we both acknowledged our role in the brouhaha--me for not being more politically correct with someone I didn't know very well and who didn't know me, her for not stopping the conversation and expressing her concern.
It all ended on quite a high note and what had started out as a potentially bad day ended up as a great day.
It turns out PTA politics are not quite same as office politics. Live and learn!