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A new start in 2011.
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Happy Festivus!!
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Wimminz in Academia Answers!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The chalk talk
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cute? or THE CUTEST?
Friday, December 10, 2010

10 mo in the life of Gerty-Z (The one-year meme)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today I had to fire someone
Thursday, December 2, 2010
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The joy of the interview
Monday, November 29, 2010

Are you writing an tenure-track job application?
Monday, November 22, 2010

Women in Academia Q&A
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

muddling in mentoring
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lost in translation?
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If you were an incoming graduate student, how would you choose where to rotate?
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

How NOT to work in my lab
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Out on the job market
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Make it rain!
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If I wasn't doing this...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I *heart* conferences!
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Should you pay undergrads that work in your lab?
Sunday, September 26, 2010

The scientist-in-training
Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's not a pissing contest
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What I wish I knew...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beery Bladder-not necessarily from a Beery Friday
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Ambition, in the world of grant-writing
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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A quick note.
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moving on up...
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunday afternoon panic attack
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Advice for the new grad student
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The purpose of the K99/R00
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Am I ruining your marriage?
Friday, August 13, 2010

All about ME!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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I am starting my lab as an Assistant Professor at a Big Research University (summer 2010). I have a super partner and an adorable kiddo, Mini-G. I tend to rush into things and then figure them out as I muddle along. I'm sure that will be true here, too. I hope to use this space to maintain my sanity and share my perspectives on science and academia. These perspectives may sometimes qualify as rants. There will undoubtedly be some crazy times on the tenure track. Gmail me [at] primaryinvestigator

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Hooray for the demise of Prop 8!! It is about fucking time! Here's hoping that the decision sticks.

OK, so I am biased, being a lesbian* and all.

But I really wish that someone could explain to me how, exactly, my family is ruining America. Dr. Isis posits that the folks making this argument (conservatives) are hate-filled shitbags. My first reaction is to agree, because from my perspective that is what it looks like. But then I just get sad and confused. First of all, it is not like liberals and/or Democrats are standing up and doing the right thing here. So it is not just a conservative problem. Second, though I live in a nice blue haven now, I grew up in a big red state. My family still lives there. They are all pretty conservative, and not quite where I would like when it comes to gay rights (among other things). But in general I think they are good people, and we are working on it. Finally, Ted Olson, one of the lawyer that argued the case against Prop 8, is a conservative hero (Bush v. Gore). In a Newsweek piece, he makes the case that conservatives should be FOR gay marriage. Even others at Fox News apparently agree.

OK, so I'm at a loss. I don't understand the argument against gay marriage. As far as I can tell, it seems to always fall back to something from the Bible. WTF? When did that become a valid constitutional argument? And how, for fuck's sake, can people not consider this part of the fight for equal civil rights for everyone? This goes both ways. If you are fighting for gay rights, you better also be pissed about attempt to keep folks from building a Mosque at ground zero and the stupid "immigration" law in Arizona.

I guess that it is easy to forget that our system is set up to protect people's rights ESPECIALLY when they are the minority. The goal is not to impose your will/beliefs on others. At least, that is how I remember learning it.

*I am open about my life in part because I hope that if more people personally knew gays and lesbians it would make the situation better. If you are gay, I encourage you to come out! Dan Savage makes the case better than I could.

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OMFG!!!!!! Someone at LabSpaces isn't hetero?!?!?!?!?!?!? Now I'm going to have to divorce my wife!

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Uh, half my comment got lost upon posting... I wanted to point out to the humor-impaired that was a poor attempt at humor.

Also that the US is very "Animal Farm"-like. Everyone is equal. Except some are more equal than others...

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That's it -- my marriage is officially ruined now! Curse you, Gerty-Z! :-))

Seriously, thanks for coming out! I would love to hear more about the work-family issues from your perspective: for instance, how did the two-body problem work out for you and your partner, were your workplaces supportive with placement, to what extent are you able to enjoy your partner's health benefits (or vice versa)..? There are a lot of family/career/diversity blogoshpere discussions where we would all benefit from the (presently missing) perspective of gay academics.

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LMFAO - Dr. Becca can explain why >:)

And!! And!! Our diversity just went up! Yaaay! You're not an African American Jewish Quadriplegic with ADHD as well as you?

And ditto GMPs comment. This may sound stupid, but did your hiring committee know? Do you think it makes a difference at work at all? Fucking hell, I'm naive.

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I have the same trouble you have w seeing what the problem is. No idea. I was brought up in Israel, which is totally jewish, and generally pretty open about stuff. The problem is that the biblical laws are what the courts are based on here. No joke. They are horrible horrible laws. I would NEVER get married here, women have NO rights. I mean it's not like it is in arab states, but in the event of divorce, for instance, even if the man were openly cheating, if the wife moved out prior to divorce she is considered a 'rebellious woman' and loses her claim to all her belongings, dwelling included. It is disgusting. And that's just one example. Growing up here very quickly drove me to atheism. Like, by age 10 I was hard core into real equality for all, not just for the bearded jackasses. (No offense to any non-jackass bearded peeps)

Anyway, gay rights here are pretty good, common law marriage that grants almost all rights has been around for years, marriages performed elsewhere are recognized, and adoption is also manageable.

What you said "But in general I think they are good people, and we are working on it." That is amazing to hear, and I admire you for that. I can't deal with those people, I've seen way too much needless suffering due to closed mindedness, I can't in good conscience call those people 'good', they spew evil, whether they realize it or not, there is no need to act so unjustly toward anyone.

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Hi Gerty,
Nice post. I don't understand the fear around allowing people to marry the person they are in love with. How does it threaten the institution of marriage? Live and let live.
Anyway- I am not a fan of married life. Who wants to be legally bound to someone else? Divorce is excrutiatingly painful.

BTW-the link to the Dan Savage article didn't work.

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Great post Gerty!

I fixed the links for you. Be careful not to double up on the http:// 's :)

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Brian Krueger, PhD said:

LOL @ n00b html err0rz

(Iz building webpages right now and my brain is melting)
Dr. Girlfriend

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I dunno I have debated this many times and the only argument that has any weight is the religious one. Even then, to marry in front of your God does not require government approval and vice versa. Arguing whether or not your god approves should be a moot point for a government that preaches separation of Church and State.

We choose not to marry because we'd rather not register our commitment with any government agency. Being of different nationalities we might at some point find it the only sensible option, My point is we (my partner and I) have that choice - not everyone does. Immigration is one example of how unfair the current state of affairs is to same sex couples.

If a couple gets married in the Netherlands their marriage is only honored by the US government if they are of opposite sex and that is so wrong. It is just like when certain US States would not recognize mix race marriage granted elsewhere!

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First of all, thanks for having my back with the link, Brian. The only reason that ANY of the links worked in the first place was because of the advice of Evie and Brian over at the forum. Hopefully I will be able to build on my (lack of) HTML skills. Or else I will just fuck up links a lot. Whatever.

OK. Now, on to a response. This will probably be a little awkward. I apologize - I'm not used to writing about this.

"Seriously, thanks for coming out! I would love to hear more about the work-family issues from your perspective..."
GMP: Sorry 'bout your marriage. ;-) As for more on this topic, stay tuned. I'm happy to talk about my experiences but I think that these issues probably deserves their own post(s). Because you asked specifically (@Tiddles): I did come out on my interviews. But it was kind of a hard decision, and I will never know if it affected my job prospects. I DO know that I have had it easier than others, though.

And!! And!! Our diversity just went up! Yaaay! You're not an African American Jewish Quadriplegic with ADHD as well as you?
Tiddles: I'm glad I could help with the diversity. Unfortunately I don't count in many other categories. I sometimes act a little ADHD and I'm kindof a spaz. But I don't think that counts. Oh, and also re: html err0rz: bite me :-P

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Part 2:
Evie: If only politics were logic-based!! I certainly understand the trend to atheism. It seems that a lot of the most horrible acts seem to be perpetrated in the guise of religion. Of course, there are freaks everywhere and I bet they would find some other excuse if there was no religion. It sounds like you are living in a pretty great place. It is too bad that that is not generally the case, at least in the US. As for dealing with "good people", since they are my family (and are actually quite accepting of MY situation) I feel like I should try. I think that growing up in a conservative place makes me a little more tolerant than some others. I don't condone the hate-spewing, and I don't expect anyone else to engage these people. But maybe if I can change my Grandmother's view then she will start making inroads to others and we can all be a little more civil at least. Of course, some people are just hate-filled shitbags. They can fuck off.

Anyway- I am not a fan of married life. Who wants to be legally bound to someone else? Divorce is excrutiatingly painful.
Jade: Ending relationships is painful whether you are married or not. I'm in a legally bound relationship right now: we own joint property, we are co-parents to a child, etc. etc. BUT, I get none of the gov't sanctioned benefits of such a relationship (taxes, for instance). Not to mention that I had to pay a lawyer to put in writing stupid things that you could take for granted in a hetero relationship even if you weren't married. Even though I did this, there might still come a time when I am not allowed to visit my partner in the hospital. Seriously, WTF?!

OK, I think that is probably enough for now. Thanks to everyone for the accepting happy vibes!

Dr. O
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As far as I can tell, it seems to always fall back to something from the Bible.

This is actually a pretty shitty argument against gay rights. It's mentioned once in the Bible, way back in the Old Testament, along with stoning misbehaved children at the city gate. Not a good standard for how a society should run. I still can't figure out, as a Christian, how so many churches and so-called "Christians" lean this way. It's absolutely absurd.

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Dr. O, I also have not ever really understood the problem that religious groups have with gay rights. It has always seemed to me that using one verse from the Bible to support/argue against any topic is generally missing the big picture.

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Let's bear in mind that a lot of religions are "fragmented" on this issue. The Pope might say condoms are bad, but the Archbishop of Canterbury (to my knowledge) doesn't (Not picking on Christians, but I don't know enough about other religions to draw a comparison).

So we can say that Catholics, Baptists and Presbyterians (PCA) disapprove, but other ecumenical churches (even enough to to cause the threat of schism within Anglicanism) don't disapprove.

biochem belle
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Tideliar said: Let's bear in mind that a lot of religions are "fragmented" on this issue.

Fragmented indeed. One thing I noticed a few years back is that the "church" (in this case, referring to governing body of a denomination) has its stance on controversial issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, but individual congregations and members within congregations often have differing ideas. IME, the younger generations at least tend to take the stance that it is not the government's place to legislate morality (i.e. religion has no place in defining law), and many are questioning how their churches define morality.
Gerty-Z said:
It has always seemed to me that using one verse from the Bible to support/argue against any topic is generally missing the big picture.

It absolutely misses the big picture. Unfortunately, there's a great deal of selective usage and interpretation. It's a bit maddening when someone starts pointing to passages taken out of contex as proof of sin... especially when very close by there are biblical/moral laws that they accept as being abolished by the 2nd half of the Bible.
The whole "same-sex marriage is going to demean and devalue my hetero marriage" simply doesn't hold water. If that's going to be the basis of law, then we should be doing something about Vegas and celebrity marriages and the list could go on, no doubt. Heterosexual couples have done far more to ruin marriage by making it about the spectacle of the wedding and not about the commitment to the relationship. When it comes down to it, IMO, the argument is about keeping power and privilege within a specific class. I have little doubt that, if born in a different era, these are the same people who would have opposed interracial marriage or the civil rights movement or the women's rights movement-and I say this with the full knowledge that some of my own family are opposed to same-sex marriage.
And thanks for writing such an open and revealing post, GertyZ!

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T and BB are correct, The problem is (some) churches and not necessarily all of religion. Though it is often hard to keep those separate in my head.

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This kid explains it quite nicely :) Link pops

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'm trying to find vid of a stand up comic I saw on TV a couple of weeks ago. He lampooned the argument excellently. Basically,

"Gay marriage will lead to pedophilia and animal sex? Do people always have this extreme over reaction? What about to the 19th amendment (giving women the vote), did people suddenly panic...who will want to vote next? My furniture? My horses?"

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Evie-that is an AWESOME video. Like Tideliar, I love satire/humor as a way to make a point. The Daily Show and Colbert both did a good job with this, too.

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Hey! As a lesbian graduate student likely to pursue TT, I just wanted to say that I both really enjoy your blog, and really appreciate your openness! My sexuality has never been a huge issue for me (I've been extremely fortunate in the people and places I've encountered) but it is still wonderfully encouraging to hear more about others' experiences and have out role-models in academia. Thanks!

Autistic Lurker
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Gerty-Z said:
And!! And!! Our diversity just went up! Yaaay! You're not an African American Jewish Quadriplegic with ADHD as well as you?
Tiddles: I'm glad I could help with the diversity. Unfortunately I don't count in many other categories. I sometimes act a little ADHD and I'm kindof a spaz. But I don't think that counts. Oh, and also re: html err0rz: bite me :-P

maybe I could blog; would you need a computing blog here?

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Dweezl, I'm glad that I can help. When I was in grad school, I knew one TT faculty member that was gay. But it wasn't clear how "out" they were. I know for a fact that being gay IS a problem in many places (some unexpected). I guess that I would warn that you should be prepared for it to be an issue (sadly). Just because you haven't run into it yet doesn't mean you won't. Good luck!

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All the gay couples that aren't married are keeping me from getting married. I figure once people like me outnumber the hatemongers it will be statistical fact that gay marriage *rescues* straight marriage. Also, I'm very ambivalent about marriage for any number of personal reasons. But as rationalizing goes, I think this is a good one.

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