The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 98

Matthew Antonio Bosch

I've been surrounded by people that have
made me feel like just meeting me is nothing
but natural. I kind of picked higher ed for the
probability that that would happen. I'm glad
it's been reinforced a lot of times, too.
Forest selected their choice of career with a
likelihood that their identities would be respected. While they considered that colleagues
may have initially accepted him upon coming
out, they did not envision such a professional
community or culture to reinforce that acceptance. In continuing to validate their identities,
the department of housing and residence life
has been able to retain Forest for years. The department has become a second home to them,
a place where they continue to feel "nothing
but natural."

Housing and residence life staff
should consider that their colleagues
may not always arrive to new jobs
already out and openly LGBTQ+, but
they may come out any time during
their employment, including during
professional staff training.

How people choose to identify themselves
matters (Butler, 1993; Chan, 1989; Larkey,
Hecht, & Martin, 1993; Panfil, 2019; Stein,
2012). Bisexual participants shared perceptions
of feeling closeted due to colleagues' misperceptions. Their colleagues, whether straight

98

or queer, struggled to remember the specific
identities of these openly bisexual employees,
relying instead on assumptions of identity
based on the genders of their partners or how
the employees aligned with gender norms. Jeff
(he/him), an entry-level professional in California, shared his experience of having to come
out multiple times to colleagues:
Bi has this status of kind of being invisible
because it depends on who you're partnered
to. So, I think it's just easier to navigate.
When I am having conversations with
colleagues, maybe like, while going to get
drinks or even just like grabbing lunch, then
somewhere along my sexual identity comes
up. Then I will share that I do identify as bi.
But, overall, I use the term queer or share
my queerness.
In the above quote, Jeff acknowledges his
usage of both "bi" and "queer" as labels. Due to
his perceived invisibility around bisexual identities, Jeff felt pressure to first label himself
as "queer." For decades, researchers have explored how identities can be fluid, whereby
people use different terms to describe their
LGBTQ+ identities due to safety, authenticity,
or an awakening of their true identities over
time (Bilodeau & Renn, 2005; Butler, 1990;
D'Augelli, 1994; Wilchins, 2002).
Identifying as both bi and queer, Jeff came
out to colleagues differently depending on
the situation. The identifiers persons use for
themselves can change over time, and it is important for departments and colleagues to remember this, lest risking a fixed assumption
about others' identities. There can be an inherent cost associated with colleagues who repeatedly forget, use incorrect terms, or refuse to
acknowledge the fullness of others' identities.

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Cover1
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