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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » A different kind of harassment?

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Author Topic: A different kind of harassment?
JeseC
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A lot of times as a lesbian/bi (not sure) girl it just seems like people take me less seriously because of my orientation. It's a little hard to explain. I've never been threatened, really. The worst ones are plain creepy - straight guys who just seem too interested. I've been told I'm "every straight guy's dream." I've had a lot of people act like it makes me less mature. Like I can't be trusted to make good relationship decisions because of it - and sometimes by extension that I can't be trusted to make good decisions in general.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? Ideas on how to handle it? It's making me really afraid to come out next year when I move, I don't want this to impact my career.

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eryn_smiles
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I've occasionally had people ask me "are you sure?" and "is it just a phase?" as in initial reaction. It made me angry not to be taken seriously.

I work in healthcare and am generally not out, although I do know some very successful people who are completely out to colleagues. What worries do you have about imapct on your career?

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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JeseC
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I'm in a very competitive, extremely male-dominated career, to the point of frequently being the only woman in the room out of 15-20 people. Mostly I don't want to do anything that would highlight me as "the wrong kind of woman" - I feel like I already have to prove a lot more than my fellow students simply by being female. It's very hard to avoid being sexualized, so I'm afraid of turning into a sort of fetish object for "girl-on-girl action." My career depends on my ability to get my ideas heard and taken seriously.
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eryn_smiles
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But what does your sexual orientation have to do with your ability to your job...is what I often ask myself! At the moment, I don't come out to any senior employer that I'd be depending on for a reference.

Do you have other women colleagues and seniors you can talk to about these issues? I'm not sure what kind of job you do but in careers such as engineering and science there are often scholarship and support groups for female students.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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JeseC: I wish I could also say there's something you could do or things to avoid to assure you won't be sexually objectified. The thing is, your gender is what's at the heart of that, and I don't think orientation makes much if any difference at all when it comes to that. You can be out or you can stay mum, and that still may happen to you, in any group at all.

I know that's about the worst "Hey, good morning!" ever, but I don't think there's any sense is sugarcoating the fact that simply by virtue of being a woman, you could be objectified or not taken seriously in your field, no matter what your colleagues think or know your orientation to be. [Frown]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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JeseC
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Unfortunately where I am right now there are literally no other women in the department. It's also a small enough area that it would not be possible to date or look for a date without coming out or being outed at work.

I've had increased problems at a different place before with homophobia and it's made me kind of wary for the future. The previous time...yes, there was sexism there, but I'm kind of used to it and it wasn't more than I could handle. It was just like the sexism got turned up the the maximum possible for queer women. Any queer woman was a slut by default, even from people who would have considered a straight woman's sex life a non-issue. Queer woman were crazy or unstable, so no one wanted to seriously deal with them. It was just so much worse. I want to date, but I don't want to deal with all that shit.

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Kachina
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I work in a male dominated field as well (I am the only woman in my job right now) and I have always had the policy "don't discuss sex or relationships at work". No one knows if I'm straight, gay, bi or what and I don't discuss it. I've never thought it was any of my co-workers business.

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~Kat
Scarleteen Volunteer

Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I hope you know there's no right or wrong choice when it comes to where and to whom we're out. That's a very personal choice, and a very situational one. So, while one person might feel like being out in a given environment creates more trouble than they want to deal with, another may feel like they don't care or like they want to bring bias to light, and all of those choices can be right ones. It's just about what feels right for you and what you feel up to handling.

Suffice it to say, you also don't have to stay in a place where you can't be out if that's not what you want. In other words, some workplaces or schools really are crummy places to be queer: others are better, or even great. So, it might also be a matter of considering where you want to live and work when it comes to what you want when it comes to your personal life.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67994 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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