Should I disclose that I’m gay in a job interview?
Deciding whether or not to disclose your sexuality in a job interview can be tricky. Here’s what we recommend.
A while ago, I was helping Faith update her resume and cover letter. As I read it through, I realized that although she mentioned a lot about the life we’d built together, she didn’t mention me, or the fact that we were married. I questioned her about this and, as it turns out, she was hesitant to mention that she had a wife for fear that her potential employees would judge her. Or worse, toss her application in the trash.
I can imagine this sort of hesitation is common in the lesbian community. In fact, I’ve heard from more than one person that “disguising their gayness” is a natural instinct around most new people, let alone prospective employers. But is this the best approach? Sure, it might help you land a job. But do you really want the job if your boss turns out to be homophobic? I certainly wouldn’t.
As with any social situation, it’s best to make decisions once you’ve had a chance to test the waters. Leave your sexual orientation off your resume and cover letter (there’s really no need to disclose anything that personal, at any rate), and then navigate the waters during the interview. While it’s difficult to tell how people will react to your gayness, we can all admit that certain people put out a certain vibe. If the person interviewing you seems “chill”, for lack of a better word, then it’s probably safe to talk about your wife. If he comes across as a stuffy, unenlightened bigot, then best to keep your identity to yourself.
What if I find out that my boss disapproves of my gayness once I’ve already accepted the job?
Another good question! My advice is this: if your interview goes well and you’re still interested in the position, find a way to slip your wife into conversation and gauge for a reaction. Whether you choose to do this in a follow-up interview or on your first day is up to you. Either way, it’s not too late to jump ship if you sense disapproval toward your love life. Remember – it’s nobody’s place to approve or disapprove, so an ideal reaction is a non-reaction!