It's Simple: I'm Gay, or Coming Out To Your Employers
By Elizabeth.Hawksworth on October 12, 2012
They say the best stories are simple and true in the telling. This is mine.
Strictly speaking, I’m bisexual. I have loved men and I have loved women. I am typically more attracted to women, but I have had several boyfriends. I just got out of a long-term relationship with a woman. I’m gay.
Yesterday was National Coming Out Day. When I posted about being bisexual on my Facebook a year ago, I got a variety of opinions. Some felt that there shouldn’t be a National Coming Out Day, because who cares who someone else loves? Some felt that what I did was brave, or awesome. Some felt that I should have kept it to myself, because they don’t go around stating that they are heterosexual.
I didn’t come out to my Facebook a year ago because I wanted to be cool, or make a statement. I came out because I’m honest. I’m gay.
When you’re applying for nanny jobs, employers can ask a lot of different questions. I’ve been asked several times if I’m gay. It’s not a legal question to ask, but rules are relaxed in nanny interviews. I’ve danced around the question because I’ve wanted the job. And then later, the truth comes out. I was with a woman, she had an androgynous name, I was able to be careful and never use identifying pronouns. But sometimes I’d slip. And sometimes I’d give a clue that she wasn’t male. And then the secret was out.
I lost a friend a year ago because I came out to her as gay. She didn’t say it, but I got the impression she was worried I was going to corrupt her children. And I wonder sometimes if being honest when I’m interviewing for a nanny job is going to garner the same result. Do gay people corrupt children?
I don’t think so, personally. It never comes up. Children don’t ask about who you love or don’t love. I’ve been asked if I’m married before, or if I have kids. Both aren’t true, so I just say no. It’s enough for kids. And the one family that did meet my girlfriend at the time explained to their children that I had a special friend, and her name was A. There were no other questions asked. I didn’t give them a rundown on gay pride or being gay in Toronto. Because it’s not really their business, and honestly, it doesn’t matter. Children understand love – they don’t think about whether or not the person you’re loving is the wrong gender for you. It’s only when they’re older do they question it. And in that case, I defer to the parents.
What I’m trying to say is, being gay doesn’t affect my job. So why am I coming out today?
Because it does affect society. Because people like me are tired of being closeted, afraid to say anything in case we don’t get hired. People like me, around the world, have been fired and killed for being who we are. People like me are still considered second-class citizens in first-world countries like the United States.
I’m gay. But I’m, first and foremost, L. And if me being gay is a problem for you, then I don’t think I’d like to work for you anyway. I don’t think I’d like to know that secretly, you hate me because I happened to be born loving women as well as men.
Chances are, you’re never going to know that I’m gay. Chances are, you won’t even care. Because I’m here to look after your children, and being gay doesn’t exempt me from being able to love and care for them, deeply.
And one day, I’d like National Coming Out Day to be completely unnecessary . . . because society will just accept gay people as well as straight people. We’re just going to be part of the crowd instead of a standout.
I’m gay. I’m a nanny. I’m a sister, a daughter, a friend. I’m a writer. I’m a feminist. I’m a lover of beauty. I’m me. And I’m just like you.
Happy National Coming Out Day.
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