Coming Out at Work: What a Way To Make a Living

I joined the workforce at age 13, and realized I was attracted to girls at age 14. I’ve somehow remained employed ever since, which means I’ve got 12 years’ experience in outing myself to countless employers across Australia.

Coming out of any closet has the potential to be awkward as fuck, and your workplace closet is no exception. We’re certainly not here to tell you that you have any obligation to come out at work — as exhausting as it can be to constantly dodge personal questions and pronouns and track your hetero white lies, sometimes telling the truth is even harder or else literally impossible (as any employee of the US Army could attest) (secretly).

You’ve got your reasons for wanting to come out at work.  There are so many little insignificant, tiresome things that could be wearing you down: the frustration of pretending to care about Two and a Half Men when all you want to talk about is Emily’s story arc in Pretty Little Liars; the whiplash you get from looking over your shoulder while reading Autostraddle at work. There are also the positive benefits of increased visibility — showing your boss and colleagues that you’re okay with who you are can encourage or even force them to accept the fact that there’s literally nothing shameful about your sexual identity.

Here are a few tips from my personal experiences. I’m certainly not an expert or a professional coming-out adviser, so feel free to chime in with your own advice or personal experiences in the comments!

Know your rights.

Can your employer fire you for being gay? As an Australian I’m able to leap blindly out of workplace closets without fear of termination, harassment or other form of discrimination – but unfortunately not all countries are as progressive. Workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is still legal in 29 US states. Although thankfully there are plenty of companies that are willing to protect their homosexual employees no matter what state laws say.

Remember that just because your employer can fire you, it doesn’t mean they will. You’re probably a really good worker, right? You’re nice to customers and you show up on time? Excluding those with a serious religious or political agenda, many employers will consider performance and loyalty more important than your personal life. And if they don’t, the costs involved in hiring and training a replacement or enduring the backlash of your Autostraddle “Fired for Being Gay” exposé could be a large enough deterrent.

Feel out the company culture.

The only time I’ve ever kept my orientation a ‘secret’ was when I was employed by an abrasive American gentleman who could make or break careers in the music industry. During my first week on the job, he threatened to fire me unless I quit smoking. His willingness to cast judgment / punishment on this aspect of my personal life was all the motivation I needed to keep other parts of my life to myself.

Regardless of what the law or company policies say, sometimes coming out at work may not be the best idea. Get a feel for the company culture. If your colleagues and/or bosses seem particularly homophobic, bigoted or small-minded, consider the impact that coming out may have on your career path or day-to-day job satisfaction. Or better yet — quit! See if your local gay-friendly companies are hiring.

Make sure you’re ready.

When you imagine the scenario in which you finally out yourself to your co-workers, does it end with you in the fetal position? If so, consider holding off until you’re a little more confident. I’m not suggesting you wait until the thought no longer seems scary, ‘cause it’s probably always going to seem scary. How you break the news will likely set the tone for how people will respond – if you don’t look at ease with your queerness, they won’t either.

And just like coming out to your family or friends, modeling through the “I’m gay!” announcement is just one part of the coming out process. You’ll also need to be ready and willing to answer all your co-worker’s follow-up questions about your girlfriend or ex-boyfriend or Tegan & Sara or scissoring. If you think you can do all that without being apologetic about who you are, you’re ready.

Create a plan.

Devising a complicated ‘coming out’ strategy that involves friending your co-workers on Facebook and then relying on them to snoop through page 4 of your Summer ‘08 photo album and spotting that one photo of you and your girlfriend holding hands on top of the Grand Canyon probably isn’t the best approach. I mean, she could pass as your sister anyway.

What I’m saying is, you could leave a trail of coming out bread crumbs that lead up to your big gay announcement, but in my experience, this will only encourage workplace speculation and gossip. The last thing you want is for this month’s hot water-cooler topic to be about whether the girl whose picture you’ve just set as your screen saver is a friend or a “friend.”

I recommend taking the band-aid approach. Figure out exactly how much information you’re ready to divulge, and who your first target will be. While telling the company’s biggest gossiper is tempting (they’ll tell everyone so you don’t have to), I suggest going with the person who you’ve built the closest relationship with instead. They’re more likely to give you the support and acceptance you’re looking for, which in turn will give you the confidence you need to repeat the process to everyone else. And it is a process.

Do it.

I like to announce my homogayness within the first week of starting a new job. I’ve grown a fairly thick skin and see no point in prolonging the inevitable. However, if you’re concerned about peoples’ reactions, you might prefer to wait until your co-workers have had a little more time to get to know you.

Here are some ideas for how you could drop the g-bomb, or its equivalent, into a typical workplace conversation:

What did you do last night?
I watched Rizzoli & Isles with my girlfriend.

What did you do last night?
My girlfriend.

What did you do on the weekend?
Went to [insert name of the local gay bar]

Ohmygawd Jacob is SO DREAMY
Oh I hadn’t noticed, I’m on Team Bella ifyouknowwhatimsaying.

Ohmygawd Kate Hudson looks SO CUTE in that dress.
Yeah. I’d do her.

Be selective. Don’t announce your orientation to colleagues who’ve never shown an interest in your personal life. If you’ve never had a reason to tell Janet from Payroll about your mother or brother or best friend, then she probably doesn’t need to know about your new girlfriend either, you know?

If you choose to stay in the closet we  do highly advise that you don’t invent a fake boyfriend. Dodging questions and omitting certain truths to protect your privacy is one thing, but creating fictional characters can be harmful to your relationships and your sanity – not to mention your career – if your stories don’t add up. Don’t do it!

Don’t be a douche.

Now that you’ve been freed from your closet, don’t let your new-found confidence get in the way of being a considerate employee. All the same rules apply. Once you’ve outed yourself, it’s reasonable to expect your employer to refrain from any activity that is disrespectful or exclusive of your orientation. But if you start demanding any sort of special treatment, or that the company to throw an annual Pride party, you’ll quickly get a reputation for being the office / workplace pain in the ass.

Know where to go if things go wrong.

from Slap Upside The Head

If you’re denied an opportunity that you feel you’ve deserved, have a chat with your boss first. Ask he/she direct questions about why you were passed up for the opportunity, and consider their responses. There may be a good reason that you hadn’t thought of yet.

If you believe that you are being harassed or discriminated against because of your orientation or gender, turn to the HR department. If you don’t have a HR department, go to your manager. If they’re the problem, go to your manager’s manager. If it’s within your rights as an employee, insist on filing a formal complaint.

Proving discrimination is tough, so if possible, take the time to build a case before you make your complaint. Keep a written account of discriminatory incidents including the dates and times, the order of events, and the names of the offenders and witnesses. If you file your complaint and there’s no action taken, ask why. If you feel like you’re being ignored, consult a lawyer.

Are you ‘out’ at work? How’d you share the news? Have any tips?


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Crystal is HR Director and Autostraddle OG. She's a 32-year-old Australian who's currently freezing her ass off in Chicago.

Crystal has written 328 articles for us.

91 Comments

  1. 0

    I particularly enjoy coming out in restaurant jobs because it provides endless conversational opportunities with the kitchen guys and bus boys. They simply don’t buy it and cannot wrap their minds around it at first, sometimes for months, but once they do, I feel like I’ve accomplished something for queer femme girls everywhere 🙂

    Oh and I also get to be part of the “holy shit did you see that girl’s ass?!?” knowing glances that all the waiter guys give each other when some hot lady walks by.

    • 0

      haha this happened to me also! One of the kitchen guys as egged on by other kitchen guys told me it was his birthday and asked me to go out with him.
      Me: Umm thanks, but you’re not really my type [went to the walk in to get something]
      other kitchen guy: so if they old guy’s not your type, what is your type.
      Me: ummm….women?
      him: Really?
      Me: um yes?
      Him: Oh, you don’t look it at all…
      me: well there isn’t a uniform…
      him: I feel like 99% of the time you can tell though.
      Me: Well if you couldn’t tell, how would you know? You didn’t know about me until 5 seconds ago.
      Him: oh….

  2. 0

    I’M COMING OUT AT WORK RIGHT NOW BY LEAVING THIS ARTICLE OPEN ON MY COMPUTER.

    i’ve been sort of slowly dropping the news on coworkers over time, in a subtle sort of way depending on the person, how close we are and whether or not it’s legitimately any of their business (the rest of the time i just don’t use gender-specific pronouns and nobody asks questions).. but i mean, i work in clubs with bars, so it was only a matter of time before mid-sex and the city-style conversation about how hard it is to find a man in this city, i finally drunkenly shouted “I’M HALF A GAY AND I PROMISE, IT ISN’T MUCH EASIER ON THE OTHER SIDE EITHER.”

    coworker smiled, nodded, and poured me another drink.

  3. 0

    Since I’m dating someone, I just say stuff like “my girlfriend this” and “my girlfriend that”. I just started grad school (WHICH IS BASICALLY A JOB SINCE I GET PAID) and that’s been my modus operandi.

    Except for when I was walking with a fellow first-year (a dude), realized we were both kinda checking out the same girl, and like 30 feet later said “Dude, that chick was really hot.” He was like “I know! She had awesome tits! I just didn’t want to be that guy!”

    It was a bonding moment, and he said that I moved my way up on his list of favorite people. Awesome.

  4. 0

    I just walk in the door and say “hi!”. I can’t really hide it…unless they think I’m a dude, but the boobs usually take care of that for me. The cool thing though, is that I work with young adults in a culture that is accepting and inclusive. Every year when all of the new lil gaybos walk in the door and they see me they know that it’s ok..better yet.. awesome to be gay where we work.

  5. 0

    Great advice!

    I’m out to some of my friends at work – but it’s pretty much a *yawn* boring thing to bring up. Especially since I’m single and really have nothing much to tell.

    I could regale them with tales of how much time I spend on the computer being anti-social reading blogs while avoiding domestic chores and the gym. But usually I just end up making off color comments and dropping innuendo that keep them in suspense and wonder at the depths of my fabulous gay life. *sigh* Honestly, I’m the most boring gay ever to cross the welcome mat at work. Gee, I need a dark secret…

      • 0

        Come work with me. I love boring gay people and all of my gay coworkers/friends are drama, drama, drama. My girlfriend and I, on the other hand, are pretty content with our boring happy life.

        And truth is: I kind of love being boring.

    • 0

      I can really relate to being the boring gay at work. I am out at work and a grand total of no one was surprised or really even interested. Which is fine with me. Granted, I’m a scientist and in my experience, scientists are incapable of showing interest in or discussing anything that is not science related. I could be a purple unicorn and they would still just want to know if I was done with the PCR machine.

      • 0

        haha I can totally relate to this. Scientist usually don’t care about personal stuff or anything fun besides petri dishes, bacteria, DNA,enzymes and indeed PCR. Which in my book is not fun but work and they usually don’t mix…

  6. 0

    I am out at work. I guess it is more of an obvious thing because I dress like a guy and appear boyish. In fact, when I was first hired by my boss he thought I was a guy. The most awkward phone call ensued a few days later after I met one of his artists and he introduced me as Corey, he is a cool guy. You will be working a lot with him. He asked me if I was a girl, I said yes, and then immediately he said Okay that’s cool. I think I may have the best boss on the planet because he doesn’t even blink an eye about it and when anyone says anything negatively gay-related he calls them on it.

  7. 0

    Hi,
    I just came out of the closet, literally, a year ago. Up to that point I had been hiding who I was by living in the hetero world as a married to a man, stay-at-home-mom. My coming out, finally after 31 years of life, was convoluted and messy so I won’t bore you.
    However, after coming out and getting my first job in 10 years, I just decided that after FINALLY freeing myself from my self-imposed prison I was not going to put the bars back up by hiding my lifestyle at work. Therefore I was open and honest but i also applied the K.I.S.S rule (Keep It Simple Stupid). My answers were simple but I did not hide the fact that I was gay or that my partner and I were a couple. My favorite example is when my new supervisor came by all our cubes to check out the decorations, pictures, etc.. When she got to me she asked her the woman was in some of my pictures ( the pics were benigine) and I said “my partner _______.” She looked at me, smiled and said “Well, I look forward to meeting her.” and walked on. It was awesome and validated my feelings that, in my situation, honesty was the best policy.
    I still feel that way and am in total agreement with the author on that point. If you must lie, due to homophobic attitudes or what have you, try not to tell any outright lies. Instead, stick as close to the truth as you can as it will be easier to remember than if you tell outright lies.
    I eagerly await the day all LGBT people can be straight forward and honest about who we are to all people….but, that’s the eternal optimist in me. Or, as my partner calls it…my “Pollyanna complex”. LOL.

  8. 0

    I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this (and hell, I normally DON’T do this), but I actually came out to my now-boss *during the interview*. I dunno, she just had a good vibe about her and I had a feeling it wouldn’t be a problem. I was right, thankfully! And I’m now employed. 😉

    I’ve been very lucky that I’ve only had a couple of problems due to my being out at work, and both of them were just nosy, small-minded people who thought they could talk shit. Which happens to everybody for any number of reasons, so whatevs. Then again, all the places I’ve been employed while out have been in very gay-friendly locales.

  9. 0

    My job is badass, I work at a fancy produce store in Ann Arbor. The other day one of the girls was telling everyone about how people seem to assume she is gay because she is vegan. So I said “Thats so funny, everyone assumes I am a vegan because I am gay!!”
    Everyone laughed and we went back to work. Done.

        • 0

          Is that the one that’s on the ground floor that takes up most of the ground floor? I feel like things change so much there it could be something else altogether by now, and I feel somehow that the big grocery/produce area there was owned by the zingerman’s people as well, but maybe that’s a totally inaccurate memory. is cosmos still there where the guy would make me grilled cheese for lunch and other people had korean food. maybe. hm. but yeah i grew up in a2 and then went to boarding school and then came back for u of m. but when i went to community we’d go to kerrytown a lot and i think my friend kristyna was always shoplifting the Haribo snacks.

          • 0

            Okay.. Many thoughts. (in no specific order)
            1. Yes Cosmos is still there; they have a tab with us. Yes, Sparrows does take up a large part of the ground floor right between Cosmos and Sweetwater. Its not owned by Zingermans but we sell Zingermans shit, like their bread.
            2. I would be happy if we never sold another loaf because what doesn’t sell comes home with me at the end of the day (on the days I work at least thurs-sun)
            3. I dont 100% understand the concept of Community except that I heard an article on NPR and it has rainbow donkeys on the sign. And its next door to my house. You had to win a lottery though, whaaat?
            4. Sarah Palmer should be my friend because I don’t have any non-breeder friends in Ann Arbor yet. Hanging out with Hets gets old.
            5. Riese should go for a walk down memory lane to visit her old high school/Sparrows and take a photograph with me so I can brag to all my friends (who obvs are not in Ann Arbor per #4.) Also so I can gush about this site and probs autostraddle her.

  10. 0

    Coming out at work was a slow, careful process for me, because I live in a state where you CAN be fired for your sexual orientation or gender.

    When I first started the job I have now, I spent about a month scoping out the company culture and some time befriending some coworkers who gave me the gay vibe. It took one of those coworkers ranting about her ex-wife for me to feel comfortable coming out. I didn’t make any production out of it, I just stopped trying to hide it.

    Now I have the kind of situation where when I walked into work on Monday after a vacation, my boss cheerfully inquired about my girlfriend.

    That said, I wish we lived in a world where I never had to worry about tiptoeing around like some kind of closet ninja before answering a new boss’ “So what did you do this weekend?”

    Especially since I’m thinking of changing careers. I’m gonna go look at that Gayest Jobs post again.

  11. 0

    You know that the best thing about being gay is? That you can be totally disparaging about heterosexuality & people have NO IDEA what to do! Lately I have been commenting on the “disgusting heterosexuality” of people on the street and speculating on why they can’t be “more subtle” and friends/coworkers just kind of smile at me awkwardly.

    I also like announcing that I “don’t understand straight people” when presented with really… incomprehensible… couples.

    I think I’m pretty popular at work, yeah.

  12. 0

    I don’t know, for some reason I don’t feel like it’s anyones business. I’ve worked at my job for 2years and some odd months and I’ve never felt a need to mention it.

    Although all three of my bosses are gay and I play pet shop boys, grace jones, and soft cell for my boss all the time.
    Maybe one day it’ll come up?
    …around the cute barista…maybe. ha

  13. 0

    Well, at my first job I worked at a local old-school drug store that’d been open since the fifties. At that time I lived in Midland, Texas, home of George W. Bush, so you can imagine the political/religious climate there… There were probably four or five other fellow gays that worked with me and our managers and boss were all really cool and supportive about it. It was the elderly/conservative customers we had to watch out for. I got called out by some of them before and one time they even refused to let me wait their table. I’m unemployed right at this moment, but all the places I’ve applied to are very gay-friendly and I live in a college town, so the atmosphere is a lot more open and accepting.

  14. 0

    Coming out at work was interesting because I have been w/my present company for forevers and identified as straight for my first couple years of employment with them. When I started identifying as a total homo I came out to a lot of colleagues (that I had built professional and personal relationships with) in the same way that I came out to my family and friends. Which was really no specific way at all, except that I made sure the people that thought I was straight because that WAS how I self-identified knew that I no longer self-identified as straight.

    And once all of that was done, it’s all been pretty chill.

    I supervise like a bagillion people and because of what I feel is most professional in my role, they know very little about my life in general – I have two cats, I transfer locations every couple of years and I am obsessed with Bruce Springsteen, those are the things everyone gets to know all of the time, everything else, including my sexuality, comes up when it comes up however it comes up. I am as open about it as I am anything else in my life.

    I certainly do think it is important though, as a manager, that people in my department know that they work for a gay-friendly company, and that any number of things including sexuality play no role what-so-ever in promotions or treatment of team members. And when I promote and train people to be team leaders in my department, I make it extremely clear to them that as their boss I have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind. I can make all of those things clear without talking about my own life, but if my own life NEEDS to be a part of me making those points clear, I have no hesitation in bringing it into the conversation.

    Of course, I have the insane advantage of having come out at work after I had built friendships with who I knew to be gay-friendly colleagues, and after having already known that the company I work for does not discriminate based on sexuality. Things will be entirely different in my next job, as I will go into already identifying as gay, will probably not be a part of management, and will not yet have built relationships with the colleagues I will be out to.

    So I don’t know. This is an interesting topic. And what is great about this article is that it does focus on knowing your situation, and every situation being different. My being-out-at-work right now is not going to be the same as my being-out-at-work in my next place of employment.

    I will say this though, the owner of the company I work for, after being told by my colleague/friend that I was having a hard time meeting lesbians in Manila (which was an odd thing for my friend to tell him, but whatever) took it upon himself to try to FIND ME LESBIAN FRIENDS IN MANILA in a non-creepy way, which was adorable, sweet and so hilarious of him. So there are some surprising advantages to being out at work, FOR SURE.

    • 0

      There is a lot to love about your reasonable ethic. There is such security in working for a company where it is made clear that it is a gay friendly company. I feel like I can pick a long term job and be very loyal when I know my company will not discriminate in any way. I picked my current employer BECAUSE they offered domestic partner benefits. I too, have found a lot of advantages from being out at work. I met my Partner of 10 years through professional connections. Best thing that ever happened to my little family of 3…becoming a family of 4.

  15. 0

    i never lie about my sexuality, but i don’t volunteer the information either…and since i work for the federal government it really depends on the administration and the climate to determine if i have ‘rights’ or whatever. i dunno. i have a lot of feelings about it, but since i can’t really express them in a meaningful way i tend to avoid the topic all together.

  16. 0

    I don’t talk about my private life at work. I just don’t feel like it’s any of their business what I do when I’m not at the office (I also would prefer it if I didn’t have to hear about their private lives, I couldn’t care less about the latest drama). It might come up more if I was dating someone, but since I’m single it doesn’t really come up. I don’t think any of my co-workers would care or treat me any different, but I just don’t feel the need to mention it (though it should be obvious, I look super dykey).

    There are ENDA protections in my state, so you (theoretically) can’t be fired being gay.

    • 0

      Yeah I absolutely agree with what you and aggle have said about your private life being no-one’s business. It’s perfectly acceptable to keep personal details private, no-one should ever feel pressured to divulge them unless they want to. I wrote a paragraph about this but probably not very well as it seems to have been cut.

  17. 0

    thank you for this article. i was listening to the savage love cast recently and he also broached this topic, but all of dan’s advice was towards people who are actually in a relationship. I am not, and I find it to be an awkward thing to approach when I can’t just say I went to a movie with my girlfriend last night.

    Anyway, I work in a restaurant, and I am out there (I took the tell the gay guy who is the restaurant gossip approach), but I am in the process of looking for a “big girl” job and I feel like coming out there will be a little more of a touchy subject.

    • 0

      It is impossibly hard to come out if you’re not in a relationship. I tend to overthink the importance of relevance in social situations [mostly because I’m really bad at social situations, so I have to overthink the importance of everything] but it just seems to never come up. There’s no good transition, and making an announcement just feels weird.

      I lucked out in that by the time I was really ready to come out, I had a girlfriend. People talk about their significant others all the time, so that’s easy to work into the conversation.

      • 0

        Also impossible when you’re openly in a relationship… with a man. But feel no less stifled and closeted and nonstraight. After a while, adding more “We <3 Gay Love" stickers and other paraphernalia to my desk just gets tacky, so I've targeted everyone I actually care about directly with stories about going out to lesbian dance parties and the girl I've been seeing for the last few months.

  18. 0

    At my last job when I came out to my coworkers the central tenet of their reaction was “It’s so funny you have republican parents! And you’re gay!”

    it’s not actually that funny guys, I have to live with them…[grumbles]

  19. 0

    My boss was the first person I ever came out to. Two birdsone stone. I work in a restaurant and miss cooking with him, and checking out chicks. He’s like my older brother, defending me when we’re out at the pub or something. Fucking love him, he’s awesome.
    Everyone should have a boss as awesome as Chris.

  20. 0

    OH THE IRONY.

    I’m currently going through this at work. Transferred. Working with a former colleague in the new location. Magically everyone knows now. And in the words of Margaret Cho…

    “…AND DADDY WAS SHOCK. DADDY NOT KNOW HOW TO REACT TO THIS TYPE OF SITCHIASHUN.”

    Somehow it wasn’t obvious? Everyone has the same reaction of, “I really don’t see it!” :/ Rly guys? I guess straight people just don’t pick up on these things.

    Is it wrong that I actually felt flattered they thought I was straight?

    Psychoanalyze that, y’all.

    • 0

      Oh man, I get this all the time.

      Actually, funny story… at a former job, my boss had a then 11-year-old stepson who came into the picture after I’d been working there for a couple years. One time she and her husband were chatting in the front of the car while the kid sat in the back doing his own thing. My boss said something about me being a lesbian, and kiddo suddenly snapped to attention. “Who’s a lesbian?!”

      “I’m not telling you,” she said. “You shouldn’t be eavesdropping.” (I won’t get into the folly of expecting an eleven-year-old not to eavesdrop when you’re in the same car with him, but whatever.)

      So he spent the next two weeks trying to guess who it was. “Dina? No, no, it couldn’t be Dina…” XD

      When he DID figure out it was me? Oh man, that was hilarious. His eyes were about the size of dinner plates!

  21. 0

    Totally going through this right now. So far I’ve only come out to two co-workers who i’m super close to. One I did it pretty straight forward and the other I did it in a more humorous way. It’s pretty free-ing to get acceptance and support back. I think I’ll tell more people if it comes up but otherwise I’m content. Definitely keeping this article in my mind/favorites!

  22. 0

    When I was hired five years ago for my current [teaching] job, I was going through my andro-short-hair phase, so I assume it was fairly obvious. I also had the fortune of sharing a planning room with a super dyke, and we sought out the other gays in the school pretty quickly. So that was cool, and easy. And non-threatening.

    I’ve never felt like I’ve _had_ to hide my sexuality from my coworkers, nor my bosses, but I’m always cautious about it. Slightly funny story is the day I got into a huge, ugly fight with my then-girlfriend WHILE AT WORK [so many shades of horrible] and had to then go meet with one of the assistant principals… whom I had an enormous infatuation with… and she was trying to figure out why I was upset, even had me shut her office door so we could chat privately and of course my head/vagina nearly exploded at that point. I played the pronoun game in the conversation, just wasn’t sure where she stood eventhoughItotallyknewshewasgayandshedidn’tknowityet, and now she will bring up that convo as a funny memory– the first time she recognized that I was gay. Because I can’t hide anything, which said principal is quite aware of considering she really is gay AND my girlfriend, now, and has been for nearly a year. WIN.

    Anyway. I don’t formally come out to my students, because it’s none of their business, BUT I do talk openly about my life if smaller groups of students ask me about it. These kids _need_ a decent gay role model, and I’m okay being that person. I’m mostly decent, anyway.

    Apparently everyone knows I’m gay now even though my hair is long and I have slightly “femme’d” up my wardrobe. Slightly. And the fact is… I don’t really care who knows and who doesn’t.

    The end.

  23. 0

    I feel lucky to live in a state where I can’t be fired for being gay, and to have worked for gay-friendly companies. So when it’s time to come out, I just say something about my girlfriend. Usually, it happens in response to “do you have a boyfriend?” or something. I tend to size up the person I’m talking to so I can at least have an idea of the reaction I should expect.

    The best coming out story I have involves my company holiday party last year and an awkward guy who works on putting stuff on our intranet. He sat down next to me, made me feel really awkward, and then he tried to tease me about teasing my manager for being so ooey-gooey about her new married life. So I said, “I can’t get married.” And he goes, “Why not?” It drives me crazy when people don’t know the laws that have passed in the recent past. Anyway, I try to think of a good way to answer that without being rude and it comes out: “uh, um, uh… um… I’m gay.” The look on his face was priceless.

    The second best story involves a misogynist coworker asking me when I’m going to like boys again. I’m like, what’s this ‘again’ business?

    However, these days, I think everyone knows. My company is small enough, I have a theory that I’m the only gay lady working for my company. There are a plethora of gay boys though for whatever that’s worth.

    • 0

      AHHHH i had the EXACT same thing happen to me once! I was a cocktail waitress in a sports bar in LA so you can imagine the crowd, plenty of douche-y guys and drunk ones at that. this one time a couple comes in and they were actually pretty cool, so i participate when they try to strike up a conversation with me. i was wearing a promise ring with a single stone that my gf had given me and it kinda looks like a small engagement ring and they were like “oh are you engaged??” and when i said ” no i’m not allowed to get married” they FREAKED. they were like “oh my god why not?? what are you talking about??” and i was like “uh…ever heard of prop 8?” i guess it’s impossible for people to look at my face and think “gay” at the same time…maybe because the role of the cocktail waitress is SO cast within a male framework, and heteronorms, i dunno..this has made life tricky but also awesome when i get to shatter stereotypes.

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    when i started at my current job i was was pretty much hired to be the token female in an office full of men and therefore had lots of scared feelings about coming out. but then it amazingly turned out like 75% of the office were gay so my coming out basically involved me exclaiming ‘OH! ME TOO!’ and that was it.

  25. 0

    let’s see, sometimes i work on AS at a coffeehouse and when the waiter asked why i’d moved ‘all the way to phoenix’ i said ‘to live with my girlfriend.’

    does that count as coming out at work? i think it does.

  26. 0

    my supervisor is queer too and because she “passes” and maybe feels weird about it she likes to bring up my “un-passability” a lot. it’s mildly liberating, mildly insulting, and definitely confusing. :-/

  27. 0

    I work as an independent consultant so I don’t really have a working place I go to every day and I often work from home. My basic form of communication with colleagues is the Internet. We exchange tons of emails and sometimes we chat. So it was always kind of natural for me to come out via email.

    Coming out via email is also emotionally “convenient” because you don’t have to endure their immediate reaction, you don’t get to see their faces. There’s always a follow-up, when you meet in person and the subject sometimes is brought up. But by then they’ve had the time to process the news and never appear shocked or uncomfortable.

  28. 0

    This ere is a tricky one for me, so far iv come out to one guy in my office thar I’m bi, it’s great to have some to have the “would ya/won’t ya” chats with. The thing is my great aunt works for the same company and dosent know, so if I wer to come out at work itl soo get back to home via th bongo drums!! And I really cnt b bothered with that from extended family.

    Also, as I’m one of th yougest and most femme girls in my office I get a lot of UNWANTED attention from creepy dudes that are old enough to be my da, is it wrong that I’m thinkin of comin out gay to get them to drop th creepy INYOURENDOES …

  29. 0

    And, I’m convinced my bosses daughter who works in th same office but for a different dept is def a homogay, like her walk, her clothes ..like, my wee sensor goes beep beep BEEEEEP when I see her, but I’m told she lives with her fella (who is apparently uber camp) and has been with him for years, plus I work with her and she’s my bosses fricken daughter, and I think becos she’s the only person that I cn let my halfagay heart ponder over, I want her more n more.. But here’s th thing she’s my bosses fricken daughter..

    See that above paragraph, that’s my train of thot in work only in between ” she’s my bosses fricken daughter” I’m thinkin of bendin her over th dispatch desk and banging her with a strap on .. FML ..

  30. 0

    I found out my manager was gay and married in like the last week I worked there. WHAT. Although to be fair I was out at work anyway because like 1/10th of the people who work in that coffee chain are gay.

    And, far more awkwardly, I was out to them about the two gf situation. It mostly happened by accident one night at a staff do when we were all wasted and they were like “!!!!!!!” and I said “I’m not answering any questions about my sex life” and they were like “..Oh. *disappointed subsiding*”. That did not stop one guy from asking me about threesomes all night. Sigh.

  31. 0

    Recently I came out to a co-worker during one of our meetings at her office. I pushed her against the wall and kissed her really hard so she started doubting I wasn’t straight. JUST KIDDING we were talking about private life and she asked if I had met anyone recently… I told her I didn’t, then I started talking about my boyfriend of the very ancient past until I admitted I had fallen in love quite seriously a couple of years ago, but to a girl. That’s the reason I wasn’t talking to my father (which she knew about).

    She was great, she said her sister-in-law is married to a woman (in Spain) but she’s yet to tell her father. She said she understands what we go through and all. Next time we met she was very warm and hugged me for a long time. Yay!

  32. 0

    i was indifferent about coming out at work. i knew i was safe (from most discrimination) because my manager is gay and 2 of the people i work with are gay (men) but i just didn’t feel the need to disclose my personal life. the way it happened was actually really convenient, one of my close friends told someone at work about my girlfriend and then it kind of just spread and no one cared, which is exactly how i like it.

  33. 0

    So, um, except for a few hideous exceptions in my early post-college days when I was still acting/modeling, coming out at work has usually been pretty natural and not a huge deal for me. But I’ve found myself in this newly awkward situation: so, second week of work and with no reason/situation that has allowed me to come out yet, three different guys have asked me out, and, somehow, “No, I can’t go to the Italian restaurant with you BECAUSE I’M GAY,” does not seem to be the appropriate response (albeit, the one that popped into my head), so I’m currently just kinda avoiding with vague prior plan-type excuses but I’ve totally been caught off guard. They genuinely seem nice and from my own experience I know that it can take a certain amount of guts asking someone out and can be a little crushing to get shut down and for whatever reason it didn’t feel like the moment to out myself, but I also don’t want them to feel stupid three weeks down the line if I do out myself in some other, more neutral context. Anyone been in a similar situation/any advice at all?

  34. 0

    i usually find the gay at work and if i see that he/she is being their big gay self then i feel more comfortable mentioning my gf in normal conversation.

    i think its def. easier when you have a gf you can refer to.

    I just recently started a job this summer and i put up a couple pictures of my nieces and one of my and my gf. Pretty soon my coworker asked me who that was and told them it was my gf. i think at that point everyone found out. Later on that same coworker invited me to her art show called “femmes in butch clothing”

  35. 0

    My co-worker had a bitchin’ house party the first month I was there, and she was all “Hey could you grab me another redbull from the fridge?” And I was all “Only if you make out with me”. Then we got jiggy, smoked a bunch of crack with her boyfriend and both got fired the next week for failing a drug test.

    I regret nothing.

  36. 0

    I live in possibly the most conservative state in the united states…Utah where it is absolutely legal to fire someone for being gay AND we have not passed any kind of hate crimes legislation. However, I refuse to hide my orientation at work. I caved to social and religious pressure hiding my orientation long enough to actually marry a guy and have a couple of kids. I was 27 when I started to acknowledge I might be gay and 28 before I came out to myself. I cried for a week….then I began to celebrate and immediately come out to everyone. I had been quiet and repressed so long, I was not going back in that closet ever again.
    I dealt, as a single parent and full time student, with some tough repercussions but never regretted it. 18 years later, I have been with the same partner for 10 years. I don’t put it out there every minute of everyday but my colleagues talk about their spouses and so do I. My colleagues talk about family trips, in laws and the kids and so do I. They and I both understand we all have a LIFE outside of critical care nursing and we respect and enjoy each other enough to share our joys and frustrations.

  37. 0

    I came out at work last week when I was driving back from a conference with someone I work with. When asked why I went somewhere this weekend, I just tried to casually say “because my girlfriend lives there.” I got a 2 second pause, a “that’s cool,” and a change of subject. Hasn’t been mentioned since and my coworker hasn’t even asked me any questions about who she is, how long we’ve been together, etc. Now I’m all nervous about it and afraid to mention her another time, it feels like I have to come out all over again!

  38. 0

    You know, after eight years with the same company where I know I’ve performed really well, and where I’ve developed a specific skill set and acquired a lot of vital experience, then I would seriously hope they’d consider the assets I bring to the table over irrelevent shit about my life outside the building.

    That said, we have a really weird and clear generational divide at my work. I’m one of the artists, I’ve come out to two of them, I don’t particularly hide it from the others, but really, it’s not relevant to ANYTHING at work at all, whatsoever.

    I keep my head down, I bust ass, I do my job and do it well, that’s always been enough. I don’t really socialize much with coworkers, and I like it that way.

    With the office personel, I have more apprehension. They’re all nearly old enough to be our parents and ugh, if they don’t have a tendency to treat us like we’re their teenage kids (nevermind that I’m fucking 30 years old). All of them are middle-married women, and they genuinely believe that showing an interest in, sharing information about, and then commenting on one another’s personal lives is some necessary job function.

    I’ve also overheard over the years various homophobic comments. Nothing excessively hateful, but more backwards and ignorant, and definitely from the assumption that what they say won’t be heard by someone who is gay or who has a gay friend or relative. It’s like they don’t really think queers exist aside from somewhere “out there,” but not actually in any relation to them.

    I doubt I would be outright fired, but my concern is more that a few of the older women would treat me differently and maybe in a somewhat hostile manner. Like I said, they tend to relate to us like we’re kids already.

  39. 0

    a couple weeks ago i was on the phone with my mentor, who used to be a coworker, but who now works across the country, and our conversation strayed from work stuff to more personal life… it turned out that we were both half chinese and she said, “i always found there was a certain type of man who specifically goes after asians, you have to watch out for those types…” i was all, “well, i…” and then she sort of cut me off.

    the next day i emailed her referring to other things we had talked about in our phone convo and also slipped in, “…also, i don’t date men, so i don’t have to worry about the creepy asian-loving ones, or any at all for that matter.”

    she didn’t reply directly to that, but it felt good to get it out there… and she’s been totally normal to me ever since, so all’s good i guess.

  40. 0

    I don’t think I have ever come out directly at work and said “I am a lesbian” but when I first moved into this department, my Boss at the time asked me, I said yes and she said “cool”. Then I transferred to the main office where my boss was a big ol’ dyke and didn’t hide it. Talked about her partner and brought her to company functions and everything. My current position has not presented me with a need to come out and say it, but I talk about my gay boyfriend a lot (he’s my bestie) and they all seem fine with that. Not dating anyone so I have no need to bring up that side of my life. Point is, I don’t hide it, but there is no need to say anything right now

  41. 0

    I agree with not bringing it up with [insert person for whom Janet from payroll is a stand in] if you’ve never talked about your personal life with that person before – I was out to my whole previous workplace except for one of my bosses. That was purely for the reason that, if I was straight, I would never in a million years have sauntered up to him and said “So – boss – guess what – I’ve got a new boyfriend” – if I had, he would have thought I was actually insane.

    Suffice to say, he didn’t have the best EQ ever, god love him. But he was still a great boss. And when my then girlfriend turned up to my leaving drinks, I think he got the picture.

  42. 0

    Keep in mind that in the U.S., private companies have the right to fire employees at will: for any or no reason. If a state includes sexual orientation language in its anti-discrimination clauses, it still only applies to state employees.

  43. 0

    I have been in the closet at work apart from one previous job. I have previously fabricated an ex boyfriend as I had wanted to ‘fit’ in with the other staff. I must admit I am now sick of this and want to talk to my colleagues about what I have been doing with my girlfriend during the weekend etc!! I have recently met someone at work who is totally out after being married to a man & had kids. I want to be as out as she is but am petrified as to how I am going to do it after all these years and how colleagues I have a lot of respect for are going to react!!

  44. 0

    I work at a super queer friendly place. We even host an LGBT camp every summer and our food service director used to be the general manager of a popular local queer cafe! My coming out was just telling people about dates I was going on with a girl who came to the camp when she was younger. But even there I’m only out to my closest friends, not everyone.

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