Out on main

This blog is, in part, meant to be the personal accompaniment to my professional portfolio. I (plan to) post my programming projects and the code behind them as itʼs been a few years since I graduated (without getting a job in the field) and I donʼt want to rely on references from professors who only half remember me, when Iʼm asked to prove what I can do. I deliberately avoid most Web 2.0 social networks as well, and even those I do visit—and any of the forums I feel more at home on—I tend to lurk instead of post; being careful may not be inherently a negative, but being a black box to the point of giving recruiters no idea of my personality isnʼt going to help my case any in our current hyper‐connected society.

Given that audience, it may make sense to curate what we say on here—to present myself in a way more palatable to first impressions. I disagree. Sure, Iʼm going to stay away from some of the more controversial opinions I hold (pets should not be spayed/neutered without medical reason), but I donʼt want to paint a sanitized picture of myself. I donʼt want to be hired because I avoid talking about some part of my life.

If I do stay quiet about anything, I know Iʼll hesitate to talk about it in any sphere of my life encompassing work. I know that the longer I hesitate, the more Iʼll feel trapped into not talking about it at all.

Iʼve already been trapped by that.

Iʼm privileged enough to already have a job which pays the bills (if not much else) and so am not looking for a new one immediately; to have the ability to accept—and to wait for—an offer I like rather than an offer I need. I donʼt plan on giving up that freedom just because I want to be hired somewhere. I wish I took note of the exact wording (the below only captures the essence), but when I asked how a Gender Studies course might look to employers reading my transcripts, the professor told me something that has changed my outlook on a vast swath of social negotiation:

There are two ways you can live your life. Do you want to live it guided by fear, always trying to find a safe path, hiding aspects of yourself to please those around you? Or do you want to live a life determined by who you are, what you find to be important parts of yourself?

If revealing my self means that some recruiter stops looking at my work, then I wonder if Iʼd ever be fully comfortable there, or if thereʼd always be a lingering note of fear; consider this a pre‐screening step. I want to work somewhere I can talk about whatever I did with Russ over the weekend and not have him judged as mental illness (or, at least, have people accept him even if they donʼt agree with our assessment of us). I want to work somewhere I can try to figure out my gender identity and presentation. Mainly, I want to work with people who are willing to try to understand my life, even if I donʼt make it easy on them—I fully recognize that, between us, we challenge quite a few assumptions of how the world works.

In college, before Russ came around, I joined a GRSM/ally outreach group. Professors at the university and teachers in the broader community could request that we, in panels of four, talk a bit about ourselves and how our queer identities or allyship play a part in our lives, and then open the floor for a Q/A session. In answering the audienceʼs questions about asexuality, I found I was discovering things about myself that I hadnʼt previously put into words; in listening to me describe my own experience, others discovered elements of themselves that they hadnʼt previously known.

Safety obviously comes first and foremost; that includes the right to not engage with bad-faith or even just unsolicited conversation. Youʼre the only one who knows your your situation and, especially, your mind. In the right environment, though, I do feel being out (and especially being open to any degree) is more than just a weight off your own mind. It helps out those around you, in ways they may not know they needed.

I want this blog to be one of those spaces.