Gay Patriot Header Image

If you live long enough, you’ll see everything

Apple, Facebook will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc and Facebook Inc will help pay for female employees to freeze their eggs…

From January, Apple will pay both full- and part-time employees up to $20,000 for procedure and storage costs for female employees to freeze their eggs.

“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments,” Apple said in a statement.

I’m pretty sure that Apple already covered its employees’ *medical fertility problems*. (If that’s mistaken, please correct me in the comments.) Something else must be new here. What is it?

Could it be, a benefit for egg-freezing as a pure career move? Let’s see:

“We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families.”

NBC News reported on Tuesday that Facebook recently began covering egg-freezing for non-medical reasons…

Egg freezing is a pricey but increasingly popular option for women. It enables women to delay child bearing…

A sign of the times. Now that Facebook/Apple woman can freeze her eggs at 30, work years of 80 hour weeks, and then at 50 when she’s pulling 300K a year (and naturally infertile), pay a surrogate to do that other part of her life for her – you know, having kids from her eggs.

Honestly, I see nothing wrong with it – if she’s doing it all with her own money. The issue I see here is, Apple and Facebook are choosing to engage in a form of discrimination against their employees who don’t make (or shall we say, don’t need to make) that particular, optional choice.

Remember, the money comes from somewhere: the overall “employee comp” budget. Rather than pay tens of thousands of dollars for a hugely *optional* procedure for a special category of employee, why would Facebook/Apple not raise all employees’ bonuses by (say) a thousand dollars? That would empower far more women (and men, and transgenders) and be much more fair.

The free market will (or should) ultimately decide if Apple and Facebook have done the right thing here. In the meantime, some people appear not to grasp that freezing your eggs – purely as a career move – is optional:

“Egg freezing gives women more control,” said Jennifer Tye, marketing lead for Glow, a mobile application aimed at helping women avoid pregnancy or conceive.

“When I turned 30, I had this notion that my biological clock was ticking, but I didn’t know what my options were,” said Tye.

Really? At 30, she didn’t know what her options were? I hope she was misquoted; if not, it’s mind-boggling stupidity.

On the unrecognized(?) loneliness in the gay male community

Social media have allowed us to interact and connect in ways not possible just a decade ago.  They have made it easier for us to track down long-lost friends and to  learn about their present doings.  Even as I write this, I am chatting on Facebook with an Australian gay man who, like many of our readers, differs from the norm of our community; he reached out to me after discovering the blog.

Facebook has also allowed me to see a phenomenon I first witnessed when I came out in the 1990s, of the loneliness of many gay men, perhaps a loneliness paralleled among our straight peers, but one which, at times,seems unique to our particular situation.  And Facebook magnifies it.  Some men seek solace in identifying with a political group, fearing to differ in one iota from its ideology, lest their peers cut them off.  Others relate the most mundane items of their day, as if that will help link them to the outside world.

Here we have this means of instant (virtual) connection and yet all too many of us aren’t really connecting.

These observations have caused me to revisit some (somewhat) dormant ideas about loneliness — and that too human hunger for real connection, for friends who see us we are and in whose presence we feel part of the universe because to truly feel part of the universe, we must, all of us, feel some connection to our fellow man.  And not just the connection of their physical presence, but a meaningful bond where they delight in our idiosyncrasies — and they in ours.

Understanding that, I found it very hard to watch the 1964 Bette Davis movie Dead Ringer, a film where the screen siren plays twin sisters, with the less financially fortunate Edith Phillips murdering her more wealthy sister Margaret in order to assume her identity and live in luxury.  As soon as Edie commits the crime, then puts on her sister’s clothes and goes to her house, all I could think about was how miserable her new life would be, no longer able to spend time with the Karl Malden‘s Jim Hobbson, the cop who truly appreciates her–cut off not just from him, but from her friends in the bar she manages.

I just couldn’t believe that anyone, well into middle age, with real friends would want to give them all up for a chance at riches.  And yet some people do.

After all, what is wealth if you have no one with whom to share it? (more…)