This is a recent post on the Hack Library School blog, written by Sarah Alexander. I really, really love this article because it speaks to a number of challenges faced by LGBT2Q librarians (but the same challenges faced by other professionals, too). I’ve been very fortunate in my short career to have been hired by, and work alongside, LGBT professionals, and their allies. I’ve never encountered discrimination (to my knowledge, anyway), and frankly, I’ve learned that being gay has been a strength in my own professional career.
When I began job hunting, I organized an informational interview with a hiring manager at a large library, and I wanted feedback on my CV and interview skills. One of the things that they pointed out was that on my CV, I provided a link to my personal/professional website (a Wordpress site that I run, not my tumblr). My wordpress site is a space where I post professionally-related accomplishments, thoughts and ideas, and much more text/written content. In one of the posts they had read, it mentioned that my boyfriend and I had visited New York, and had a tour of the New York Public Library, etc. The individual cautioned that I shouldn’t post about my sexual orientation because it could have negative implications on my job hunt. At this moment I was a bit confused, because I knew that the individual with whom I was speaking was gay. From their perspective, they felt that my being open about being gay might be a bad idea, but I respectfully disagreed. I mean, I wouldn’t want to work for a library or organization that had a problem with my sexuality, so I would rather be upfront about it from the start. If they don’t want to interview me because they read that I tour libraries with my boyfriend, then it’s their loss.
For me now, in the workplace and in interviews, I present myself just as I am, and being gay is only part of me. Sarah mentions in the article that she finds it hard to balance personal and professional personas, and I do share this challenge (e.g. with Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). I think in the end though, it’s best to just be yourself.