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Mentioning Sexual Orientation in Personal Statements?


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I am in the midst of applying to grad schools in developmental biology, and I'm noticing that some of the schools I'm applying to have really specific diversity-related prompts for the Personal Statement (about how I will bring diversity, how I have demonstrated appreciation for diversity, etc.). I don't fit any minority status at all aside from being gay. Now my normal opinion on bringing sexual orientation into an SoP or Personal statement is that it probably won't do much good, especially since I haven't really been involved in any LGBTQ organizations or anything like that and I've heard it can be a pretty controversial thing to write about in a statement. However, seeing how central diversity is to some of these prompts, I'm wondering, would this info be okay to include? It wouldn't be the focus of my essay obviously, I will mostly be talking about how I got into my field. But I think bringing up my sexual orientation would probably be the most direct way to say why I will bring diversity and also why I can empathize with other people from diverse backgrounds.

PS: my worry isn't really that I will be discriminated against if I include this, since the schools I'm referring to that have these prompts are UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis, all of which I would assume have a pretty progressive atmosphere. I'm just wondering if doing so would be inappropriate

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I think it would be inappropriate in a SOP (unless it really influenced your research interests, I suppose), but it is completely appropriate when they ask about diversity in a personal statement.

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I mean I'm straight so maybe my opinion isn't applicable, but I would not mention it in the SoP.  I would mention it in a diversity prompt if there was one.  If not, use the space to write about something else.

EDIT: I just think that it would be super awkward to write.  Like... "I find the same gender attractive.  And that's all I have to say about that."  I just wouldn't want to talk about it lol.

Edited by biochemgirl67
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