Monday, August 8, 2011

A double hidden minority: some thoughts on being a gay atheist so close to the job search

I started this blog for several reasons. First of all, I got in the blogging habit after creating a company blog for a competitive swimwear company. After that, I lost the majority of my virtual filter, and was compelled to make things public all the time.

Second, I blog to hone my interests and keep a record for myself. In the past, workout blogs have been very helpful for me to go back and look at my previous lifting routines. Blogs about my experiences in student affairs are equally beneficial because I can create a chronicle of my accomplishments and activities.

Finally, I blog so that others can find solutions to the problems that I've already faced: Whether it's looking for a better way to embed a Twitter post into a blog, or tips for identifying North American insects with Google searches.

On a deeper level, I had planned to share more personal experiences. I'm speaking in the past tense, because lately I've been second guessing myself when it comes to sharing personal tidbits with the JOB SEARCH only months away (officially).

"You shouldn't post anything about being an atheist so close to the job search," I would tell myself. "You might not want to mention the fact that you're gay and living with your partner," my inner voice would chime in.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize I have the privilege of choosing whether or not to share my minority status with the world. If I go in to an interview, I can (somewhat) convincingly portray myself as a heterosexual white male who may or may not be religious. If I blog about it, and my potential employer reads my blog, I remove all doubt that I'm a gay heathen.

Why should I hide these facts about myself? Graduate students of different races can't simply turn off their minority status by censoring themselves on Twitter. The more I think about it, the more I want to live my life out of the closet every day. I keep flashing back to my closeted high school years, and how important it was to control the spread of information when it came to my sexual identify. When I came out, I was liberated! Why go back in the closet now by censoring my (lack of) religious beliefs? Is it really that important to appear uncontroversial in a field that espouses open tolerance?

It might have something to do with the fact that atheists are rated as "least likely to share everyday Americans' vision of society" according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota. On this measure of sharing the American vision of society, atheists ranked "below several other minority groups, including immigrants, gays and lesbians, conservative Christians, Jews and Muslims" (source). This is the source of my fear and anxiety.

So here's what I've decided. I'm not going to censor myself on Blogger or Twitter when it comes to my sexuality or my religious views. I hope that other grad students and student affairs professionals read my blog, and know that someone out there is living every day true to himself.

I will, however, follow the old adage to never bring up religion or politics in an interview. That's just plain good advice!

I'm interested to hear some advice from the #SAchat community about this! Am I being stupid? Shooting myself in the foot? Should I delete all my social media accounts before I interview and pretend they never existed?

What I learned: Say it out loud.

@EricTeske great blog post! Better to find a job where they like you for who you truly are.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Great post. Be you, all of you! MT @ericteske:#saglbtq "some thoughts on being a gay atheist so close to the job search" than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply