I have, on occasion, been asked which did I realize first: my desire to report or my desire for men. As it turns out, I had the good fortune to discover both nearly at the same time — in the fourth grade.
I have been both a journalist and a gay person for as long as I can remember.
My first byline was a book review for the student-produced Images, a monthly supplement to The Pueblo Chieftain. I went on to cover the grand re-opening of the children’s museum and, later, school district–wide news and controversies.
In a previous letter I shared I spent most of my middle school summers in my grandmother’s basement watching CSPAN. What I didn’t share was that I was also flipping back and forth to MTV, ogling the male VJs, the backup dancers in music videos and, of course, Danny from The Real World: New Orleans.
And while the two most innate parts of me have run parallel since purity, it wasn’t until college that they met — and joined forces.
The freedom my college newspaper (and blog) afforded me the possibility to share with readers a process of self-discovery. Going through my clips, a journalist’s scrapbook, it seems like I may have chronicled what very well may be the most documented coming out process in recorded history, second only to Randy Phillips, the 21-year-old solider who came out to his father and posted it on YouTube after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
My college musings offended some. One professor warned me I was pigeonholing myself. Others embraced it — and me. Another professor, Sylvia Dawson, cheered me on. “You’re creating a niche for yourself,” she said with her trademark wink and nod.
So here I am, doing the work that — I think — comes most natural to me for the community I’m most naturally a part of.
This issue’s cover story examines the intersection of work and life — more specifically work and LGBT life.
In 2007, Colorado extended its employment nondiscrimination policy to include LGBT people. So, members of this community shouldn’t have to worry about being out at work and facing undue termination (unlike in 33 other states). But should we be out at work? When should we come out? And how does our LGBTness impact the workplace?
We also asked some members of the community to share their own career paths. One found himself chasing storms and another owning the same business he started at as an employee more than 20 years ago.
In 2012 a report by Good Technology revealed more than 80 percent of Americans were taking their work home with them and logging an extra seven hours at home each week responding to emails and the like.
And 35 percent of Americans have at least two jobs, according the to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The United States is a culture of action. We love to work. Yes, in some instances we have no choice. The bills have to be paid. But it’s more than that. Our work-culture is often so much a part of us we don’t even realize it. Listen to yourself the next time you’re introduced to someone. I’ll give you a free subscription to Out Front if you don’t ask, “what do you do?”
Ask anyone at Out Front, One Colorado, The GLBT Community Center or any of the lucky few who get to work in and for the LGBT community — they’ll tell you what they do and how fortunate it is their work directly intersects with their sexual identity.