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In Philadelphia, was Andrew Beckett justified or unjustified in making the decision to...

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readeal3 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted October 6, 2013 at 9:19 PM via web

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In Philadelphia, was Andrew Beckett justified or unjustified in making the decision to conceal his sexual orientation and AIDS from his colleagues?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 6, 2013 at 10:38 PM (Answer #1)

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The issue of privacy becomes a central issue in Beckett's claim against the law firm.  His contention was that part of his rationale behind not divulging his sexual identity and his contraction of AIDS was due to the atmosphere of intolerance that was present in the firm.  Beckett points to homophobic comments made in the sauna as well as the exclusive climate that made him feel fundamentally uncomfortable in sharing his private life with the members of the firm.  Given the hostility they demonstrate for him, Beckett was right.  If he had been forthcoming, Beckett believed that he would not have been greeted with inclusive acceptance.

Given everything seen, Beckett was accurate in keeping his private life private from those at work.  In a larger sense, perhaps one could make the argument that Beckett should have been more defiant for the cause of sexual identity and embraced it.  Yet, Beckett, as all people, can choose to be individuals who carry a cause in a public and demonstrative manner or choose to be private about their own private lives.  It ends up becoming to be his choice.  One element that is certain is that he did not owe the law firm any such explanation.  When Wheeler suggests that "Andy brought AIDS into our firm," it becomes clear that Beckett did the right thing to keep his private life to himself.  He understood that no one at the firm would understand.  I think that a stronger case can be made that Andrew was justified in doing what he did.

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