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

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Acela150

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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.
He didn't explain anything to me, other than it may not be an appropriate field for a gay person.
I encourage you to re-read that post. Where did I say that it's not a good idea for someone who is gay to not work for the RR? Cause I didn't.
 

SarahZ

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He didn't explain anything to me, other than it may not be an appropriate field for a gay person.
That's not what he said at all.

"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."

What I take from this: guys in freight tend to lean conservative, but the bottom line is that they don't care who you are as long as you're a good worker and don't break things.
 

John Santos

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I don't think anumberone is familiar with the expression "in the field". Many businesses have office employees and field employees. Office employees, obviously, work in the office(s). Field employees work outside the office, i.e. on the road (or railroad), or at customer's businesses, or at outside facilities (e.g. telephone co employees who run wires or install or repair service.) At Amtrak, there are people who work in offices, doing reservations or scheduling or many normal business operations like personnel and payroll and purchasing and marketing and people who work at train stations and maintenance, and there are people who work "in the field", like train and yard crews. I think what Acela150 was saying is that the OP's friend might face more prejudice in the field than in an office setting, but even in a freight railroad crew, which tends to be more conservative than a passenger crew, they mostly care about job performance. I don't think anyone was implying that the OP's friend shouldn't apply for a job at Amtrak or wouldn't be happy doing it.
 

Acela150

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That's not what he said at all.

"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."

What I take from this: guys in freight tend to lean conservative, but the bottom line is that they don't care who you are as long as you're a good worker and don't break things.
You're spot on with your last paragraph! :) As long as you do your job well, follow the rules, listen to senior employees advice, etc. You will be perfectly fine. :)

I don't think anumberone is familiar with the expression "in the field". Many businesses have office employees and field employees. Office employees, obviously, work in the office(s). Field employees work outside the office, i.e. on the road (or railroad), or at customer's businesses, or at outside facilities (e.g. telephone co employees who run wires or install or repair service.) At Amtrak, there are people who work in offices, doing reservations or scheduling or many normal business operations like personnel and payroll and purchasing and marketing and people who work at train stations and maintenance, and there are people who work "in the field", like train and yard crews. I think what Acela150 was saying is that the OP's friend might face more prejudice in the field than in an office setting, but even in a freight railroad crew, which tends to be more conservative than a passenger crew, they mostly care about job performance. I don't think anyone was implying that the OP's friend shouldn't apply for a job at Amtrak or wouldn't be happy doing it.
Completely understandable that not everyone may not understand what someone means by "in the field".

I wasn't saying that someone may or may not face more prejudice in the field, but that they care about the job being done right. ;)
 

anumberone

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Y'all are right and my apologies to Acela. I read more into it than what was actually said.
I am familiar with the term in the field. When I said field I was referring to what may be called job classification.
 

Acela150

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Y'all are right and my apologies to Acela. I read more into it than what was actually said.
I am familiar with the term in the field. When I said field I was referring to what may be called job classification.
It's perfectly ok. :) We're all human and make mistakes. I'm glad that it was cleared up for you! :)
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
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As more and more LGBT folks come out to family, friends, coworkers, and often everyone else, acceptance grows throughout society. People get to actually know LGBTs in their midst instead of it being a foreign concept. Some stubborn naysayers and bigots will always exist, but it's almost a complete 180 from when I was a kid. Some of this is generational, as younger people learn that just as Santa was a hoax, so were the lies told about LGBTs by older folks. They understand that their openly gay friends are not the monsters they were told they were, and they become much needed allies instead of foes.

Still, gays learn that they can never let their guard down completely. Not unlike other vilified minorities, actually. So the OP's thoughts are relevant even today -- just that the bullying, violence, shunning can still be found occasionally instead of all the time. (Unfortunately, suicide rates and teen homelessness are still issues for younger people just coming out who encounter it.)

So, will your friend find acceptance working for Amtrak? Probably, but not completely. I'd think the on-board jobs would be more gay-friendly than that of the engineer or the yards. I swear I've been on trains where OBS gays were in the majority, in fact. This might translate better to conductor than engineer, but if his heart is set on engineer he should go for it, with eyes wide open. He should try to form friendships with coworkers who will be part of a support system if he does encounter trouble.
 

Triley

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<snip>

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.
<snip>
So don't leave us hanging! Did he get the job? How did everything go?
 

Palmetto

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Where have you been, Tom? It's always good to have the "on site" perspective. Are you still working for Amtrak?
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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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.
Fortunately, we are now in 2020, and this has changed thanks to a SCOTUS ruling.
 

cirdan

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

I think many / most gays have a sixth sense for spotting a homophobe or a homophobic situation. They had to develop that to survive. If there was such a problem he'd have spotted it by now. He won't be walking into a trap.
 

Triley

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Where have you been, Tom? It's always good to have the "on site" perspective. Are you still working for Amtrak?
Honestly, just kind of fell out of love with AU, Facebook, and most social media over the last year. I'm sure you can imagine why, with all the drama and issues in the world that've been going on!

Technically I'm still with Amtrak, though I haven't been to work in 6 months. Canada is taking cross border travel extremely serious, and there's a high chance that customs may require me to self quarantine for 2 weeks upon returning home to Canada, so it had been decided that it wasn't worth the possibility. So unfortunately I've been on a leave of absence with Amtrak since March 16th, and I've been left really missing my coworkers, passengers, and trains. Up here in Canada I recently started a new full time job in a previous industry I worked in, to kind of keep myself entertained and busy while everything settles down in the States. At this point I'm glad that I've done so, because almost 60% of Seattle's OBS will be furloughed in a month, myself included.

To get my train fix, I'm trying to convince my husband to take a trip on The Canadian once they resume service in November, since it's on my bucket list. We'll see if he's back to work by then as well, and make a decision based off the situation at the time. Here's hoping!
 

HenryK

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Jul 12, 2015
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It's hard to believe we're still having this conversation in 2020 . . . but some folks seem not to have progressed past 1875. One's sexuality matters only when you're looking for someone to share a bed with. At all other times it doesn't.
 
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