BL3: Was being fully out at work ever a struggle or a concern for you? If so, why? If not, why?
Myeshia: I am always coming out. Not being out at work was never an option to me. Not because I see it as a political issue necessarily, although I do recognize that it is, but because I’d prefer it to be a non-issue. In that sense, I don’t really come out at work. That is not an error; I purposely phrased that in the present continuous tense. In academia, I meet new people at the university all the time. So my usual modus operandi is to simply tell a story and say “my partner” and use “her/she” and they usually get the point.
Beth: I am an after school program director for a government-funded, elementary-age program. I was out from day one at the office of the organization that runs the program, as well as the school that the program is housed in. I am not specifically out to the parents of the enrolled children, but the only reason is that I basically only see them for a few minutes each day when they pick up their children at the end of the night. Any of them who have inquired about my personal life have gotten the honest answer.
BL3: Myeshia, what has been the response of your students?
Myeshia: I usually use a lot of examples in my teaching; so, often I’ll tell a story to explain a concept and sometimes those stories are about something that has happened to me. Inevitably, my partner comes up. The students who are actually paying attention in class notice what I said and life goes on. This past semester, I had one of my courses complete an assignment where they had to pick an organization in the NYC area that works directly with youth and do an analysis on it. Out of a class of about 30 students, 10 of them picked LGBT organizations. I want to say it’s because they realize the need for them, but the realist in me feels that some of them were trying to win points with me 🙂 and I’m okay with that since they still learned something.
Myeshia and Beth share their home with a cat and a dog. They promise to share photos from their pending nuptials.