There’s an old Dave Chappelle skit in which he jokes that black Americans are bilingual. They speak “business” in the office and “street” when they’re hanging with friends. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, a similar dynamic is playing out in corporate job fairs across the country as many straight students pretend to be gay.
Businessweek reports that “ten percent of the more than 1,100 registered attendees at last year’s Reaching Out MBA conference identified as straight.” Reaching Out is the world’s largest conference of LGBT students and job recruiters.
Although many such conferences cater to LGBT students, they also welcome straight allies. The problem is when fresh-faced MBA bros make comments like: “Dude, I’m not gay,” or “There needs to be less focus on gay stuff at this event.”
It’s estimated that approximately three to four percent of students at top business schools identify as LGBT. Other minority-focused conferences—including those targeting black, Asian, and Hispanic students—have seen a similar encroachment from outside-the-demographic attendees. The National Society of Hispanic MBAs reports that 37 percent of students who attended the group’s annual conference last year were not Hispanic.
Reaching Out will now require prospective attendees to write an essay explaining why they want to attend the conference or register through their campus LGBT student group.