Alternative Lifestyles in Science

Drmarts drmarts at
Mon Jul 10 14:24:10 EST 1995

Kathleen Guger asked:

>>>Is anyone, or does anyone know of anyone who is a lesbian, gay, or bi. 
scientist?  Does anyone know of any lesbian, gay or bi. science faculty?  
I'm curious about how people feel their lifestyle has effected their 
career.  Are you/they out in your community?  Do you attend campus 
events with your s.o.?  Have you had any problems from your 
administration that you think can be traced to your lifestyle?  Do you 
think that it adversely effects your chances for success?<<<

Answers in order:

I'm bisexual. I'm out to my boss, whose attitude is "What you do on your
own time is your business." I'm in senior management and my boss is the
Executive Director of the foundation. My co-workers know I go to gay pride
events and know that I'm dating a man. I leave it at that and let them try
to figure it out! ; ). I don't think my orientation has held me back in my
career, but I do tend to keep my private life private and separate from my
work life.  I've never been married (officially, common-law or otherwise)
to either a man or a woman and I've lived alone for the past 6 years, so
I've yet to face the domestic partnership issues.

Thinking about it, I would say that it is my "never been married" status
rather than my sexual orientation that makes me seem "different" to my
co-workers, most of whom are/have been/are planning to be/desparately want
to be married. They could probably get used to my having a woman partner
faster than they got used to my being single and happy about it!

When I was in grad. school I knew one Lesbian faculty member whose partner
was also a faculty member in a different department, and a Lesbian couple,
one of whom was a biochem grad student, the other was a tech in the same
department. In both instances, the couples' "public image" was they were
"just friends" and "just housemates" although it was common knowledge that
they were couples. Odd, really. Did it adversely affect their success?
Hard to say whether any lack of success on their part was due to their
being female or gay or "not feminine" or a combination of the above. My
gut feeling is that one is more likely to be discriminated against for
being female than for being gay.

If I ever do wind up in a committed relationship with a woman, I think one
of my role models for how to behave will be Rep. Barney Frank. I've met
him and his husband, Herb (geez, I can never remember the guy's last
name!) at a couple of les/bi/gay events in D.C. Herb attends functions as
a "congressional spouse," he and Barney dance together at formal
functions, and they basically insist on being treated with the same
respect and dignity as any other committed couple in their situation.
Nothing less will do. 

Sherry Marts
Grants Program Director
American Health Assistance Foundation
***This space available for all the usual disclaimers about whose opinions
are whose***

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