Think “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” applies only to the military? This too happens in the sciences, at all levels, from academia and industry to professional societies. Below are some of the ways that lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender scientists conceal part of their identity and the resources that this “invisible” army uses to thrive…
For many years, Juan (not his real name) led a double life. Many of his college friends knew his secret, but few did at the company where he was doing his internship. At office functions, he had to employ acts of subterfuge so as to not be found out. Juan is a gay male. “I’m 28 now, and everyone’s expecting a wife or a girlfriend,” he says. “If I bring my boyfriend along, I will say to him ‘by the way, this is important’ and then he knows that we are to be ‘friends.’” At the same company’s Christmas party he brought along a female professor. His boss got drunk at the party and started congratulating him for dating her.
“I couldn’t correct him, because he’s my boss,” he recalls.