On not being gay
October 20, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’m not gay.
I usually don’t go out of my way to make that clear. Anyone who looks at my résumé can see that I’ve done a fair amount of LGBT rights work. It would be easy to make assumptions. If people want to make assumptions and treat me differently based on those assumptions, then they aren’t people I want to hang out with. I’ve never really considered other people’s hang-ups to be my problem.
But that was before I read about a Harvard University study that determined that openly gay men are 40% less likely to be called in for a job interview, particularly in the American South and Midwest. Where I live. Hawesome.
Harvard University researcher Andras Tilcsik sent two realistic but fictitious CVs to 1,700 white collar job openings, such as managerial positions.
One CV mentioned relevant experience in a university gay society as a treasurer, while the other listed experience in the ‘Progressive and Socialist Alliance’.
The results showed that applicants without the gay reference had an 11.5 per cent chance of being called for an interview. However, CVs which mentioned the gay society had only a 7.2 per cent chance. The difference amounted to a 40 per cent higher chance of the heterosexual applicant getting a call.
It’s not even a liberal/conservative thing. The results indicate that being LGBT-supportive is the problem.
Assuming that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander (which I realize may not be, because being a lesbian is totally hawt), then I’m kind of screwed. Look at my résumé. I may as well send it out on purple, scented paper and decorate it with pink triangles and rainbow flags.
So…what’s a straight girl to do?
There are two big areas on my résumé that I’m worried about. First, my job as a research assistant for my law school, and second, my job as an organizer and blogger for Change.org.
Hiding my gay rights activism from Change.org would be relatively easy. I could just say that I was a progressive online organizer and blogger. Granted, if they did a search for my work, they would see that it is almost exclusively gay rights related, although I did do a little women’s rights and death penalty work. But hiding my research work could be more difficult.
The particular research I’m worried about is my research into choice of law policies for states that allow some kind of same-sex partnerships. I just tried to figure out how a Connecticut marriage would transfer to California domestic partnerships, for example. I could just say that I researched choice of family law policies. But that sounds so boring. Plus, I’m pretty proud of the research I did. It’s a fairly cutting edge area of the law, and the research I did could help gay and lesbian couples have a little peace of mind. I don’t want to hide that.
Really, I don’t want to hide any of it. And why should I? I’m proud of the tiny little role I played in gaining equality for LGBT people. But I really need a job, so I’m feeling the need to obscure the nature of my employment history. I need to make myself look appealing to employers. Is it crazy to downplay my gay rights work? Or is it crazy not to?
Featured image credit: brainchildvn