Gay male friend wants to become a conductor, BUT...

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Oct 30, 2019
Messages
9
I am a 36-year old female who lives in NYC. A gay male friend (who is 49-years old) has always been interested in the transportation industry. He thought about becoming a truck driver and a conductor for the subway. He was never really excited about those opportunities, however. About two months ago, I saw a listing for an Amtrak Conductor (trainee) job opportunity. I emailed it to him. I was surprised to see how enthusiastic he was. He applied and was soon contacted by Amtrak. He took an online test and passed. Then, he took a "strength test" and passed that as well. He is looking forward to the next step.

Recently, I spoke to a few people at my office about this. They told me that I was crazy to have suggested this to him. They said that while it may be different for other jobs, many (but not all) conductors tend to be very conservative and against gays. (I am not saying this to offend any conductors here who feel differently.) Now, I am almost in a panic. If he was offered the job and encountered a hostile work environment, he would be devastated
, even if these sentiments were unspoken or revealed in private without his knowing. Believe me, he would sense it.


I don't want this to happen to my friend. To be honest, I'm at a loss and don't know what to do now. I understand that this is an Amtrak website. I know that most people won't want to openly say that my fears are correct, but I do want to hear from people who are willing to "tell it like it is." On a few occasions, my friend has asked me if he should move forward in the process. I am on the verge of telling him something like, "I've heard the hours are way too long. We probably wouldn't have much time to hang out anymore. Maybe you should look for something else." We're very close, and he'd probably listen.

I've done a LOT of research over the past week. I know that the company has an excellent philosophy when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and that Amtrak has gay employees. But that's just "on paper." What is the reality of what his experience would be like on a "day-to-day" basis? What should I do??
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,011
I've never worked for Amtrak and can't characterize their corporate culture related to sexual orientiation--although (as a longtime passenger) it'd surprise me if I learned that Amtrak was a hotbed of homophobia. However, I'd urge you not to make up a not-real reason to tell your friend why he shouldn't work there. Instead, take whatever you learn to him so he can make his own informed decision.

I'm sure your friend has encountered anti-gay attitudes before, and has experience with deciding whether specific situations are worth the bother for him. Please let him decide that for himself.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,144

Recently, I spoke to a few people at my office about this. They told me that I was crazy to have suggested this to him. They said that while it may be different for other jobs, many (but not all) conductors tend to be very conservative and against gays. (I am not saying this to offend any conductors here who feel differently.) Now, I am almost in a panic. If he was offered the job and encountered a hostile work environment, he would be devastated, even if these sentiments were unspoken or revealed in private without his knowing. Believe me, he would sense it.
Find better people to hang out with, at work.

Clearly, they were simply trying to get you into a panic. And you fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,468
Bigots and Busybodies are everywhere, but living in fear of what others may say or think is no way to live!

As others said, your friend knows much better than "them" or any of us about living life as an Out Gay!

I know several Gay Amtrak employees, most Long termers, both OBS and T&E, and they are excellent employees who are liked by the Passengers and the Crew!

I too suggest you find better friends and associates to hang out with and listen too!
( and True Friends dont Lie to Friends!)
 
Last edited:

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
2,099
I’ve met employees at Amtrak who are gay. They seemed to enjoy their job.
I know one Amtrak conductor that is gay. He's been working as a conductor for about ten years and is a very popular one. He does an outstanding job and is a great guy. I'd encourage any qualified person who has the interest in becoming an Amtrak employee to do so, sexual preference, race, gender or any other background notwithstanding.
 

Steve4031

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
5,662
I think there is good and bad in all areas. I once witnessed an ongoing battle between a homophobic cook and a waiter or LSA on 48. The battle started at breakfast in Toledo (we were running 6 hours late due to a freight) derailment) and lasted through dinner as we rolled down the Mohawk valley. It was ugly. With profanity from both sides. I definitely was not the only passenger to witness it. The cook told him to keep out of the kitchen. Then he went to the control panel at the other end of the car and turned the lights off in the kitchen. Then the cook yelled turn on my MF-/::ing lights. At dinner the guy seating me was talking back into the kitchen telling the cook he was going to get an ass whipping. I called Amtrak and reported both of them. I got a 600 dollar voucher.

The point I’m making is that your friend might have a trip or two that might be challenging. But he should stick to it. If he operates safely and provides good customer service I think he would be an asset to Amtrak unlike those clown.

I also believe by now that such hateful behavior that I witnessed would be less likely to happen.
I wish him luck.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,737
So my first point will be that if he didn't hear anything after that strength test, they did not select him for an interview, and the job. They try to move quickly with the hiring process.

I will add that in my past RR experience, it's freight where guys are more conservative. But more to the point they don't care what you are. Just as long as you do the job well and don't break rules, put cars on the ground, etc.

My suggestion is to keep trying. It's not easy to get into Amtrak or any Railroad. It's a great career with great benefits. I also encourage you to check out my topic "Careers on the Rails". I post a wide variety of RR jobs from Amtrak to Freight. I don't post everyday, but a few times a month.
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,302
"What should I do??" Nothing........ "He is looking forward to the next step". It'll work itself out.
 
Last edited:

Triley

Conductor
Joined
Dec 14, 2008
Messages
1,391
Well, I can tell you that although I've only worked for Amtrak for 5 years (as of 5 days ago), I can't think of a single employee in any craft who has cared about my sexuality. In fact, I would say I've met more coworkers who are gay since I've started here, than ever before. In fact, another attendant on this very board retired from NYC in the past few years.

As a reference point I have worked out of Boston and Seattle, but have worked alongside crews from.... Boston, New Haven, NYC, Philly, DC, Richmond, Chicago, St Cloud, Havre, Shelby, Seattle, and Portland, OR. Never once have I felt uncomfortable being myself, here!
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,291
I will add that in my past RR experience, it's freight where guys are more conservative.
Where I live freight transport is associated with staunchly anti-liberal bias and some racist attitudes. This applies to both trains and trucks. In my state orientation is not a protected class so there's a reasonable chance there would be little or no corrective action and a company might decide to let a gay person go in order to keep others happy. I've never noticed any anti-gay behavior on Amtrak and I believe they consider orientation as protected from abuse by Company rules.
 
Last edited:

dlagrua

Conductor
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,111
Job discrimination is illegal and sexuality is a personal thing and not anyone's business. I cannot see how a persons personal life would be brought into question to get a job on Amtrak. I'd like to believe that most people would just say live and let live.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,737
Job discrimination is illegal and sexuality is a personal thing and not anyone's business. I cannot see how a persons personal life would be brought into question to get a job on Amtrak. I'd like to believe that most people would just say live and let live.
They're not concerned about getting hired.. They're concerned about in the field.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,561
Well, I can tell you that although I've only worked for Amtrak for 5 years (as of 5 days ago), I can't think of a single employee in any craft who has cared about my sexuality. In fact, I would say I've met more coworkers who are gay since I've started here, than ever before. In fact, another attendant on this very board retired from NYC in the past few years.

As a reference point I have worked out of Boston and Seattle, but have worked alongside crews from.... Boston, New Haven, NYC, Philly, DC, Richmond, Chicago, St Cloud, Havre, Shelby, Seattle, and Portland, OR. Never once have I felt uncomfortable being myself, here!
Well, thanks for the mention! Totally agree!
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,291
Job discrimination is illegal and sexuality is a personal thing and not anyone's business. I cannot see how a persons personal life would be brought into question to get a job on Amtrak. I'd like to believe that most people would just say live and let live.
Many forms of job discrimination are in fact 100% legal. In many states this includes sexual orientation. Only a few specific classes are prohibited at the Federal level and proving any of them were a factor in your dismissal is almost impossible unless someone above you admits that's why you were fired.
 
Last edited:

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
1,302
So are you saying trains are no place for a gay person to work?
 

nti1094

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
71
I am a 36-year old female who lives in NYC. A gay male friend (who is 49-years old) has always been interested in the transportation industry. He thought about becoming a truck driver and a conductor for the subway. He was never really excited about those opportunities, however. About two months ago, I saw a listing for an Amtrak Conductor (trainee) job opportunity. I emailed it to him. I was surprised to see how enthusiastic he was. He applied and was soon contacted by Amtrak. He took an online test and passed. Then, he took a "strength test" and passed that as well. He is looking forward to the next step.

Recently, I spoke to a few people at my office about this. They told me that I was crazy to have suggested this to him. They said that while it may be different for other jobs, many (but not all) conductors tend to be very conservative and against gays. (I am not saying this to offend any conductors here who feel differently.) Now, I am almost in a panic. If he was offered the job and encountered a hostile work environment, he would be devastated
, even if these sentiments were unspoken or revealed in private without his knowing. Believe me, he would sense it.


I don't want this to happen to my friend. To be honest, I'm at a loss and don't know what to do now. I understand that this is an Amtrak website. I know that most people won't want to openly say that my fears are correct, but I do want to hear from people who are willing to "tell it like it is." On a few occasions, my friend has asked me if he should move forward in the process. I am on the verge of telling him something like, "I've heard the hours are way too long. We probably wouldn't have much time to hang out anymore. Maybe you should look for something else." We're very close, and he'd probably listen.

I've done a LOT of research over the past week. I know that the company has an excellent philosophy when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and that Amtrak has gay employees. But that's just "on paper." What is the reality of what his experience would be like on a "day-to-day" basis? What should I do??
Check out this article about an Amtrak engineer out of Los Angeles who is gay. Somewhere, and I can’t find the link at the moment, there is a blog where he writes about being a gay railroader.

https://t.co/KgKuEUwJS7?amp=1
 

Dutchrailnut

Conductor
Joined
Jul 4, 2006
Messages
1,079
Bottom line is, don't advertise your sexuality, nowhere on application does it ask you if your straight or not.
 

dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
792
I'm not totally sure, but I suspect one of the employees I dealt with in the dining car going west on Builder train #7/27 may've been gay, for all I may guess. Doesn't matter, since I greatly enjoyed talking to him, and he was awesome to talk to! To the OP, you should totally convince your gay friend to not worry about homophobia(at least in the case of Amtrak, as I've heard about other businesses that were far worse vs. Amtrak, where I got the sense it was a very inclusive work environment for everyone, at least as far as train crews go), and apply for an Amtrak job. I hope he gets that job, myself!
 
2
Top