Every time you try to hide your sexual orientation you give haters power.
A prospective coaching client told me he was reluctant to join GLBT groups on LinkedIn because he didn’t want people to know he is gay. I nearly reached through the phone to hit him upside the head with a 2 x 4.
Excellent networking for job search requires smart utilization of LinkedIn groups. While I am in favor of removing all group logos from profiles, it is because they litter the profile, not because they disclose interests or sexual orientation. He was depriving himself of excellent real-world support in his job search. Mostly, he was hurting himself by assuming something about him needed to be hidden.
I reminded him that if someone would not consider him for a job because he is gay he didn’t want to work for them in the first place. So he lost nothing and gained a lot by selecting to participate in the gay groups on LinkedIn. He saw my point and I hope he was embarrassed.
While it is critical to lead with your accomplishments and skills, it is just as critical to be yourself. Don’t hide. Not today. Not ever again. It’s not going to get better until the LGBT community stops apologizing for itself, stops casting themselves in the light by which they are seen by haters.
And while I am not gay, I certainly know how important it is to refuse to accept how others see me. Early in my career, as a woman technology professional, I fought to maintain my confidence and self esteem in the presence of sexism. As a Jewish woman, I have fought against the implied and often overt anti-Semitism that creeps into every day life. I believe I was angry with the prospect because his apologetic demeanor gives haters power. I insisted he be out and proud. And to act as though his sexual orientation has nothing to do with his ability to do his job because if he acts that way, it forces others to treat him that way. Do click on the link. It makes my point much better than I can. Please, feel free to comment on this post, but not until you see the link.