does being gay affect career growth?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2007 6:40 PM GMT
    I was just wondering if anyone would like to share their experience with being gay and building a career.
  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    May 26, 2007 10:29 PM GMT
    my homosexuality has never once stood in the way of my goals - my homosexuality doesn't 'define' me, and while we all say that I fully admit that it DOES define aspects of me. But much like my love of video games, it's never stopped me from going after anything.
  • Paradigm_Shif...

    Posts: 251

    May 27, 2007 2:05 AM GMT
    I think thats an interesting question. Most guys on this site are masculine and would only have to come out at work if they really feel comfortable doing it. If you feel comfortable enough to come out at work you can proabbly assume there will be no bad concequences or very few. So for them, its probably not an issue.

    But there are lots of guys who stay in the closet at work and if you're in the closet at work Im sure that would affect your performace. You can't build a strong business relatioship with your co-workers when you're always either lieing about a woman or dancing around the question.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2007 5:41 AM GMT
    It really depends on the feild you go into and where you work and with whom you work. From what I understand if you want to work with the State Department Foreign Services, its really really tough to ever make it to ambassador if youre really effeminate. But otherwise it seems to not be a problem. If you work with conservatives it might be a problem regardless. But if you work with people who really dont care, you wont find a lot of problems and a lot of companies have anti-discrimination policies. Even though the government doesnt protect us at work, at least many companies do. You can find a list of fortune 500 companies and how they scored on the gay friendly scale on the HRC site.
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    May 27, 2007 5:57 AM GMT
    It hasn’t affected me; though I also have a feeling that many of my co-workers don’t know (it’s a big company). I don’t hide anything, I don’t lie about it, and I have my partner on my health insurance. It’s hard to gauge how people will react sometimes.

    Here's a good gauge of whether the company is friendly or not: do they offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples?
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    May 27, 2007 7:43 AM GMT
    And for those of you who live under a gay rights rock, HRC is the Human Rights Campaign which is the largest and most influential gay rights organization in the US. The have a list with the fortune 500 companies that have ratings based on domestic partner benefits, discrimination policies, and I think a number of other things such as gender identity type stuff. Check it out here:
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2007 11:08 AM GMT
    Thanks! Everyone should check it out!

    If you in the military career, your career is definately hindered if you are out...
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 27, 2007 12:33 PM GMT
    Yes ... while I think we've really been moving in the right direction in this regard
    Most companies in the business world have even gone as far as instituting same sex partner benefits because of the bottomline...
    they realize that we are a market to be exploited
    ...but we also take for granted that discrimination goes on esp in the military
    and in some cases in places like education for example where homosexuality something that will get you fired
    Right now in most States being a homosexual is something we can be fired for and we can do little to stop it
  • mcwclewis

    Posts: 1701

    May 27, 2007 6:01 PM GMT
    I had two jobs where I got "layed off" because they had too many employees. Both times this was within days of the boss finding out I was gay. One of them had a "now hiring" sign up the day after.....

    The place Im working now is completely supportive and actually looks at my skills and abilies rather than my personal life.... Its good when things work the way they're supposed to.
  • RSportsguy

    Posts: 1925

    May 27, 2007 6:04 PM GMT
    Wow Mcwclewis, that is awful! I am sorry you had to go through something like that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2007 7:10 PM GMT
    I would say it depends on ones chosen career in some of the professions .I.E.Medicine if you wont a senior post being an out gay man would not be acceptable.because your professional integrity could be compromised.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 27, 2007 7:19 PM GMT
    I think that's dependent on where you are in the country my man
    I work in medicine and have yet to see any discrimination in where I work
  • OptimusMatt

    Posts: 1124

    May 27, 2007 8:48 PM GMT
    Yeah, I'm definitely living under a gay rights rock - if I ever even SUSPECTED that an employer fired me just because I was gay...oh, the money I would make.

    TY Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - gay bashing is now a hate crime, and I'll win every wrongful dismissal suit I ever wage on someone who fires me because I'm gay.

    I love life.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2007 9:46 PM GMT
    GQjock well thats how it works in the uk.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2007 11:56 PM GMT
    I think that once you are comfortable with who you are in terms of sexual orientation and learn to love your self first, you become a better person.

    You are able to reach out and show a more loving you, you become a better parent if you have children, better partner, excel at what you do and are able to dream bigger, setting bigger goals.

    To answer your question yes, your career is that much more important and you are able to give 110 %. As a result you will be promoted faster.

    Career has nothing to do with being gay. It is your attitude in general that will determin your futur.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 27, 2007 11:58 PM GMT
    this actually reminds me of the president of BP who recently stepped down after he was outed. Apparently there was a media ban on reporting about his personal life for one or another reason and the ban experied and the media started talking about how he had an affair with a guy. He stepped down to save the company's face while sacrificing himself. Apparently he was a few years away from retirement which included some very hefty bonuses. I don't know if I should feel bad or be angry at the guy.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    May 28, 2007 12:32 AM GMT
    Yes if you work in "white collar" corp. america, it definitely does. Mostly all the men and woman at the top are "straight".(I did say mostly) I have personally seen gay men and woman not move up in many companies I have been employed in. Many of these men and woman work longer hours and twice as hard without the same pay or advancement. I am talking CEO, CFO, Presidents VP, upper management etc. Except in retail, some product and food service companies. I know that other collegues have branched off into and have had some success. It is a sad but true fact. It will probably always be this way in certain industries. I was married for 4 years and it was not a problem for me then. Now I just don't talk about my private life, and I have never been the type of person to define myself by my sexuality. In much of corp. america there is a boys club, we play golf talk about sports and woman. I don't find this uncomfortable because I have experienced this my whole life. I know if I was out and gay I would not have the title and career I have. This may change over time but I still work for a fortune 500 company and I enjoy the salary and level of success I have worked so hard to attain.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2007 11:39 PM GMT
    I've found higher education (colleges, universities) to be very open and supportive. I imagine it varies from school to school---colleges with a strong religious or military affiliation are probably not as accepting, but that's just a guess on my part. I've worked in faculty and administrative staff jobs and being gay has never been an issue.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 05, 2007 12:05 AM GMT
    I believe so, depending on your career path.

    I personally had to quit a job because a former boss didn't like the fact that I was gay. This all was due to him being a military man and being most stringent. He also was a big ass bottom married and I knew he was a fag, which ticked him off.

    So, he would write me up for things to get me in trouble. Once, he said I was sitting at my desk with a compact putting on makeup, eyeshadow, the works. And I dont have a compact or those things! I was so shocked. Girls at work were really pissed. This all because I knew his secret. Instead of being all dramatic and suing, I just quit, and gave him a few words before I left. He later was fired haha!

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    Jun 11, 2007 9:58 AM GMT
    There was a big drama caused in the gay community a few years ago, everyone was supposed to boycott Cracker Barrel because they fired employees based on their sexual orientation, they were gay. At the time this happened I was traveling the country extensively with my job and consistently ate at Cracker Barrel, it one of the few places that made me feel like I was at home and had great vegetables. During my travels and many visits to Cracker Barrel I was hit-on three times by a waiter, I assumed, I can't say that I knew beyond a reasonable doubt, that they were gay. I watched as they approached the host/hostess and asked that I be seated in their area. On two ocassions I was seated in their area and of course received their phone number and what time they got off work; one of the three times I was not seated in the area of the server who requested the hostess do so, but he still approached my table several times and made small talk with me and passed me his number. After the incident with the boycott of the Cracker Barrel I firmly believe that these were the type of instances that caused homosexuals to lose their job, it was not their sexual orientation, but bad behaviour that could have cost a business their customers and given them a bad name as a "pick-up joint". As I continued to travel the country and continued to be a regular patron of Cracker Barrel I encountered many effeminite males, presumably gay, but I was no longer hit-on like I had been in the past. Perhaps it was because I had gotten older or perhaps it was because those homosexuals that continued to work at Cracker Barrel got the message that inappropriate behaviour would not be tolerated.

    After stating my beliefs in a forum here in Jacksonville, Florida I was immediately declared an enemy of the gay community here in Jacksonville and after another incident where a gay sherrif deputy was fired, supposedly because he was homosexual, it had nothing to do with the fact that he was extorting money from drug dealers and allowing them to continue dealing drugs, I was once again declared an enemy of the gay community and have not been able to get a date since. I guess you could say I am in exile from the gay community, but my career has been quite successful.

    Before we jump on a band wagon and persecute a company for firing someone based on sexual orientation we need to look at all of the facts. Was the person a poor performer? Was their boss, not the company, biased against them based on their sexual orientation? Did their mannerisms or behaviours disrupt the work place? I do not go to work announcing I am gay, but I believe quite a few of my employees assume I am, they cannot KNOW if I am unless I tell them, if they asked I would proabably answer them honestly and then ask if they were heterosexual. In most work place environments today we are very "HR Friendly" as I like to refer to it, people are no longer graded or judged by their individual personality/persona, but by their performance and contributions to the company and team.

    I readily resigned from a job once after several advances from my direct supervisor. In order to stop the advances I "came out" to her. I really didn't think she would have a problem with me being gay since she was the ultimate "fag hag". Her problem wasn't with me being gay, it was her embarrassment that she had been hitting on a gay man for the past year. I thought it would make her feel better that I had ignored her advances because I was gay, but it only embarrassed and infuriated her. After I came out to her she did everything she could to make me miserable, creating a hostile work environment. I complied with all of her unreasonable requests and orders, but to no avail. I resigned from the company and pursued other endeavors quite successfully. I could have gone to our vice president or human resources and probably kept my job and maybe gotten her fired, but I did not want to stay in a job where anyone was forced to work with me if they did not want to. There are too many career opportunities available to stay somewhere that you are not happy.

    The moral, just because a homosexual gets fired from their job or is forced to resign does not mean the "company" fired or forced them because of their sexual orientation. Just because a supervisor fires someone or forces them to resign because of their sexual orientation it does not mean the company condones such things.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2007 11:05 AM GMT
    The discrimination I've felt on a few occasions has not hindered me in a big way - but it has affected my progress within companies.

    In the first instance, I had a female boss who was coming on to me. I was pretty young, and very clueless. It became more clear when she brought in a new employee who was prepared to sleep with her, and who was promoted over us all despite a lack of experience.

    In situations later on, it was apparent that there was a social component which affected promotions. I always received high reviews, and my performance looked good on paper, but when the higher-ups would invite employees and their spouses out for drinks or dinners, I and my partner at the time were not included.

    It could certainly be that I was simply not socially adept, and that I was excluded for that reason, but looking at my peers, I don't think I was notably less adept than they. And despite a public stance that was anti-discriminatory, there was a certain amount of interpersonal discrimination. For example, I was househunting at the same time as one of my employers. She & her husband (also working at the company in an executive position) found a house in a neighborhood I'd not considered. When I complimented them on it and asked about the neighborhood, they discouraged me from considering it, saying that it was "for families". I think that's pretty clear, don't you?

    While there are some spectacularly successful gay men & women, and things are probably better now than they were before, when I was rising up in the ranks over the last 25 years, there was definitely a "lavender ceiling".
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2007 12:00 PM GMT

    It depends on the career you have chosen. Some fields are more open than others, thats just fact. Some places are more accepting, and that too is a fact.

    It's easier to be open and advance in the Arts, Fashion, Cooking, Entertainment, etc. than it is in Law, Medicine, Sports, or the Military. It is easier to advance in the NE or on the West Coast than in the deep South or the bible belt if you are Out.

    I didn't discover/admit my sexuality till quite late into my 20's. At the time I was in the Army. I was a career NCO. After 12 years I finally decided I had to leave in order to persue the rest of my life openly.

    But that was what I had always envisioned as my career, that was how I viewed myself, and where I wanted to be, doing what I wanted to do. Doing something I was really good at. Unfortunately there would eventually have been problems, I got out just in time.

    But everything that I had, everything I did, everything I was going to be or do changed.

    I went back to college, eventually started my own company, and now I am Owner/ Sr Director of a small international company. I wouldn't trade my life for the world.

    But things might have been different, and sometimes I wonder.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 23, 2007 7:12 PM GMT
    yeah, it definitely depends on your industry.

    i've actually found that being gay has helped my career along... but that's because i'm in film, and the film community is extremely supportive. :)
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Jun 23, 2007 7:35 PM GMT
    Being gay is unlikely to ever have any direct effect on my career. I'm aiming to be a professor of evolutionary biology. Any university that would hire such a professor in this country is unlikely to care that I'd rather have a boyfriend than a girlfriend. If anything, I might help their alleged diversity ratio, as if my orientation were a better grounds for claiming diversity than any of the personality traits which are far more central to my life.

    The only potential limitation is what some public universities are required to do by their state constitutions--here in Michigan, for example, a court battle rages over whether the MI constitutional amendment barring gay marriage means that public schools are or aren't allowed to offer same sex domestic partner benefits to their employees. The big universities in the state (U of M Ann Arbor, MSU, Wayne State, etc) have already been offering them for years, but people outside the universities are trying to force them to stop doing so. If they manage to completely block it, that might cross MI off the list of places I'd look for a professorship, but that's out of the school's hands; and, actually, against their express wishes.
  • masculineone

    Posts: 43

    Jun 28, 2007 12:12 PM GMT
    I am glad to hear that Nerd has the select occupation and good attitude to have the opportunities that he has. I am at lower levels of education (e.g. Elementary) though what I have witnessed has not been consistant with that acknowledged at the university levels of education. Parents will always have difficulty separating pedophiles with our community and school systems will always be wary of law suits. My case I am very masculine and more conservative than the average wasp, so very few suspect therefore I get exceptionally good treatment and support at my school in my system. I chose to beleive though that we do help or hinder ourselves with relation to occupations. I have seen many gay people hitting on people on the job, using the phones when they are supposed to be focused on other things that cause work for others, in appropriate dress which affects company image, I even have seen very poor communication skills among many of my compatriots. Can we help ourselves by giving the kind of examples that would encourage less prejudice in the work environment.

    Go For It!