This past weekend a handful of Darden students attended the Reaching Out MBA Conference in Atlanta, GA. Many of us were there as allies of the LGBT community, though I don't think I fully understood what that meant until I got down there. As I sat with a Darden alum and he mentioned his "coming out" story, he highlighted that each individual down there had one. I think when we discuss LGBT, we often forget how trapped individuals feel before they come out. In fact, it was interesting to be in an environment where you were first assumed to be gay instead of straight.
I don't believe students at Darden raise the question of what it means to be LGBT in the workforce unless there are members of their class who identify themselves as LGBT. As far as I know, I don't have any "out" 2010 classmates. Indeed, a married man and another classmate are running our LGBT student organization on grounds. As the conference progressed, issues of marriage equality arose, as well as the fact that there are no CEOs who are out (but don't quote me on that one). The experience was definitely enlightening on many fronts. I hope to continue to be the best ally I can, especially when there are no LGBT representatives in the room to speak for themselves.
My favorite part of the weekend was dinner hosted by a 2007 alum of Darden. His house was beautiful, the food was delicious and the company delightful. Though the job search was not fruitful, the experience was well worth the cost.