I have an interesting situation occurring in my life right now.

I’ve been employed by the same manager for 5 years, and I’m mostly out at work with no problems. I am seeking a new job, and have been interviewing. Now that I’ve reached the home stretch with a very promising job, a terrifying reality has begun to sink in.

Do I have to tell the employer up front? That’s a silly question, I know I don’t need to. However, this job is as a personal assistant, which means we will be working really closely. I feel like that means that I need to be open and honest from the start, as those are qualities that the employer has mentioned in every communication thus far. Going from a high-level management position at a hotel down to a personal assistant is for educational reasons so that I have more time to attend school. But what if I get the job and then he finds out I’m a lesbian after the fact? What if he fires me for it, and then I have no job? This is a huge concern in states where the Equal Opportunity clause in handbooks excludes sexual orientation as a protected status.

The pressure of this reality is so common in our community. My problem is not that I am physically obvious about my sexual orientation. I more so have an issue with acting the part. I don’t understand purses, I get confused with a lot of makeup, and dressing for work is always a chore because I don’t know what style really is. Needless to say, my new boss would have me figured out pretty soon. So how do I avoid the drama that comes along with that?

Do we, as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, just pretend forever? It was suggested to me that I just ‘play the part’ by a friend of mine. I did that my whole life, don’t push me back into the closet. At this point I feel that my only option is to take a major risk: I need to tell my potential employer prior to being hired. I decided that I just need to make myself so perfectly marketable for this position, make the employer aware that they would truly be missing out without me on their team, and then drop the bomb. Surely they wouldn’t walk away based solely on my sexual orientation. In doing this, I risk losing the amazing opportunity presented to me and risk being stuck in a job that gives me no freedom or flexibility that I need to complete college. But with odds stacked against us, what other option do we have? Do we stand our ground and be ourselves, or do we hide in fear of missed opportunity?