Victoria’s a lesbian, and her experience of being a lesbian actually makes a pretty sweet answer to one of her essay questions that could win her some money. But she’s not sure if it’s a great idea.
I’m in my final year of University and though I know what I want to do in the broad sense, I am trying to take advantage of some specific opportunities that might lead me there. In addition to grad school proposals, I am working on a number of applications for exciting opportunities both local and abroad.
The applications are all very similar, which is a mixed blessing. It’s good in the sense that I can write about leadership til the cows come home (leadership is my major)
I’ll be damned. I never knew leadership was a major.
but the application always ask some variant of the following; Please tell us about a time in your life where you faced a challenge and tell us how you dealt with it.
Yeah, pretty standard question these days. High schoolers, take note — start ginning up a good answer for this one. Apply polish as the years go by. Doing so will greatly increase your chances of winning some big money.
The one that I’m working on at the moment asks this: Discuss a personal experience or narrative that allows you to relate to the —– program and has inspired you to apply to participate.
I have a great one; I am a lesbian.
Awesome. Let’s do it.
There was a time when I would have given anything to be straight, but now I am proud of that fact. I have taken leadership with my orientation and try to actively be a model for younger queer girls and boys. It has even informed my academic and career interests; I want to study and contribute to queer cinema.
No complaints from me so far. Sounds like this is exactly the type of experience or narrative they’re hoping you’ll write about.
I’d like to think that because I am applying to programs who boast values of equality and acceptance that this will be accepted and even to my advantage.
I tend to agree with you. I think you’re probably in the most welcoming and accepting environment you’re ever going to find. And yeah, although no one will admit it, plenty of organizations love to give their awards to minorities if at all possible, so it’s true that being a lesbian could be to your advantage.
But I am afraid that this might just cost me the internship, the research position, or the scholarship. I realise that I am lucky as a Canadian because issues of GLBT rights seem to be a lot less controversial, but every once in a while you get on the wrong side of some ignorant person whose number one goal is to make you feel bad about yourself.
Yeah, and there’s the other side of the coin, of course — you’ll never be immune from the possibility that some homophobic dick may try and cause problems for you (especially once you’re out of school, where the discourse often slides back near what it was in junior high).
The good thing is, though, that these things are usually done by committee, and it’s tougher to be discriminated against by a committee since that requires the bigot to get public to the other members with his/her prejudices. Not that it can’t happen, or that the offender can’t manufacture other bullshit reasons not to pick you — it’s just harder.
So what do you say Josh? Do I come out in an application when it’s relevant?
Yeah, I definitely would, as long as you’re comfortable with it, which apparently you are. I kinda see it like this — if not here, where? It’s probably the friendliest audience you’ll ever face, honestly. You’ll have tougher crowds in the future — might as well get your feet wet here.
A second advantage of writing about it is that doing so conveys confidence. When you deliver something with confidence — oral or written — the audience doesn’t stop to think about it. They just nod and go along with you.
So, even if you did get in front of some fence-sitters, you’re better off If you talk confidently and matter-of-factly about the subject. Subconsciously, your NOT making an issue of it more likely to do the same.
I’m only an armchair psychologist myself, but it’s the same reason the best impostors are the ones who act like they’re supposed to be there. The same reason that, when a line of cars are in a lane that’s closing and they’re all trying to merge into yours, the successful ones just see a spot and merge, no questions asked. The ones that get stuck over there are the meek little pansies who signal for 30 seconds, stick their hand out the window, and inch over while looking over their shoulder 20 times looking for indisputable visual approval from the driver behind them.
Screw that. Just get over. 🙂
And the same for you, Victoria. Probably nothing to worry about, but hey, if there is, screw ’em. Roll how you roll, and you’ll be fine.
If you don’t get the awards — well, everything will still be fine in the end, and you’ll be a lot happier with yourself for bringing the real you to the table. Hide from no one.
— Any thoughts, reader-folk? Better to play it safe? Let us know in the comments below.