So I encountered something new and strange and awkward today.
A few weeks ago I dropped my resume into a job bank website for DC, and tonight, I got a curious little email.
It stated that it had made some changes to the bank website and if it so pleased me, I could resubmit my application including the questions that lead up to the CONFIRM button.
Specifically, it stated that they now included “LGBT Individuals” under the minority category and if the applicant in question identified as such a person, they should make their mark.
Immediately after reading this, an ethical dilemma with a billion caveats began spinning in my head like a broken record.
Can I do this? Can I really use my sexual orientation as a step-ladder to employment? Why shouldn’t I? Why should I? What specifically do they mean by LGBT? Like is it ONLY people that are practicing? If I get the job will they welcome me in as their Gay employee? Will I become a poster child for someone else’s diversity cred? Is it disrespectful to myself if I let them define me? Or is it disrespectful to myself if I deny myself an advantage? Am I lying if I don’t check it? WHO is going to read this anyway?? And does this suddenly become public information? Why am I still reading this? Check the box! No no no no NO, don’t check the box! It’s just a box! IT’s a big BOX!
I’ve since moved on.
But it is a question all sexual minorities need to reckon with… Do we check the box?
Especially individuals not all the way out and those still wrestling with it all.
Which raises another question- Can you only identify as LGBT if you are fully out?
I believe in the box because of its principle. LGBT folks have had a history of being denied employment because their orientation. Equality and diversity matter.
But on the flip side of that token, I worry about the box casting a shadow over my qualifications. I worry about the hiring manager sifting through submissions, and upon seeing my mark, shouting to his manager, “found one!” I worry about that big cloud of suspicion hanging over my head if I was hired. I worry about questioning why I got the job. And what if I decide to be celibate forever? Does mere orientation count as LGBT? What makes someone LGBT?