{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "LGB lawyers: do any of you play straight when you’re going into an unknown circumstance? I practice in a city but recently had to do a court appearance for a client out in a rural county state court. I made small talk with the judge before the hearing and he saw my wedding ring and asked about my wife (I’m gay, it’s a husband). I started talking about my “wife” because I didn’t want the judge to take anything out on my client. Not a horror story, but unfortunate. Anyone else?", "post_id": "5f8197292d63540024df6b57", "reply_count": 17, "vote_count": 10, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }

LGB lawyers: do any of you play straight when you’re going into an unknown circumstance? I practice in a city but recently had to do a court appearance for a client out in a rural county state court. I made small talk with the judge before the hearing and he saw my wedding ring and asked about my wife (I’m gay, it’s a husband). I started talking about my “wife” because I didn’t want the judge to take anything out on my client. Not a horror story, but unfortunate. Anyone else?

likehelpful
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I’m sorry you have to do this.

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Not to this extent but I had a client being sued for discrimination and she said to me in a mediation “We don’t discriminate! We have Juan (not real name) who is a Hispanic and he’s pretty... you know... FLAMING. If you know what I mean.” I laughed along uncomfortably, and made sure not to mention my partner at any point during the mediation.

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Ew

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I don't play straight, but I give off Buttigieg vibes, so conservatives sometimes find me disarming even when I out myself.

likefunny

Love my boy Pete

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I work on a lot of international deals and change my husband to my wife when talking to some clients in Asia. It’s upsetting, but seeing how there’s a resurgence to remove our right to marriage even within the US, I’m debating just filling going back into the closet while at work. Very sad.

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I’m very sorry you had to do this. I hope things are changing for the better.

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This is a hard question and it’s awful that it’s necessary to ask it. Let’s hope that in our lifetimes it no longer is necessary to do so.

That said, I gotta be me. I’m a straight man but for years have marched to my own tune in ways that raise similar questions of bias - I wore my hair very long, dress unconventionally, and carry myself in a nonconforming manner. I’m certain that some judges and jurors held it against me, that my firms occasionally did so as well, and that some clients didn’t hire me because of who I am. But I never went to be feeling conflicted over who I am and I know for certain that people know that when they deal with me what they see is what they get. We all have to make personal decisions about whether and to what extent we need to conform to “standards,” understanding the consequences for ourselves and our clients. Godspeed as you travel the road and figure out the answer that’s right for you.

One last thing. Not everyone who lives in rural areas thinks the same way. In particular, many are libertarians and literally didn’t give a rat’s ass what you do in your private life. Just as we don’t like to be stereotyped, it’s important that we avoid stereotyping others.

likehelpful

I didn’t suggest — or at least didn’t mean to suggest — any equivalency between being who I am and being gay, a woman, or a person of color, all of which are limiting in significant and completely unjust ways. My only point was that we all have aspects of our lives that others may judge us on, and we all have to decide what to share and what to conceal. Perhaps a better example from my personal life would have been the acute mental health crisis I experienced as a result of a devastating case I worked on. Deciding to disclose a condition like that involves at least some of the considerations raised by OP’s question. I disclosed, took a sabbatical, recovered, and have never looked back. Again, I am not suggesting equivalency. But I am suggesting that sometimes the consequences of a disclosure aren’t what one might expect. And that concealing had its own sometimes severe consequences. Had you come to me with your family medical issue you would have had nothing to fear, partly because humanity is an important part of my makeup and partly because I dealt with the decline and death of a parent due to Alzheimer’s and others in my immediate family have experienced acute, serious health crises, none of which I’ve concealed from anyone. Lastly I hear you about the justices’ statements. This is a potentially dark time. I’m sorry you’ve experienced what you’ve experienced.

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Yep, do this all the time.

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I am sorry you have to make those choices. This is why this election is so important. I am not sure if the most dangerous aspect of the Trump years is the attack on our democracy/move to autocracy or the legitimizing of hatred/violence against those who are not white, Christian and straight.

I have hope, however. Watch TV commercials - every time you see an interracial couple or a same sex couple using Tide or Benjamin Moore paint or driving a Buick it is telling the haters that this is who America is and will be in the near future.

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Yep do it all the time.

On a regular basis!

That’s fucking horrible that you felt you had to do that. However, I am not blind to the world we live in. My advice would be to perform due diligence on judges so you can identify those who are “less tolerant” than others regarding who people are. Hopefully, one day you will not need to do this just bc of the gender of your spouse.

Wow. Thats horrible you have to do that.

It depends on the situation. If I’m around clients I know are more conservative or someone that I don’t feel comfortable telling I’m a lesbian, I usually refer to my wife as my spouse. I don’t correct them when they say husband but I also don’t switch to referring to her as my husband. Then I just switch the topic as soon as possible.

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