Being Out of the Closet at Work

@Pigglies (9339)
United States
January 12, 2007 1:11pm CST
Do you think it is a good idea to be out of the closet at work? I used to feel that when I was doing volunteer work, I should be open about my sexuality because if they didn't accept me, I didn't need to be there working for free. But if I was at certain jobs, say, when I worked for a Christian tutoring company, I figured that I was paid anyway and if I had to try to pass, it wasn't a big deal. It wasn't until I started working in retail that I really thought about being open. The company had a policy that all sexualities were okay, and a lot of employees talked about gay people in a negative way. I thought about dropping the bomb so to speak, after they liked me. Instead, I made up a fake boyfriend. Now I really like where I work, but I didn't worry so much that I would lose my job for being a lesbian. I sort of got outed by accident, but I still enjoy being out. I feel like now I can be more open and not have to fake liking guys. I already have to hide my sexuality at home, why should I have to hide everywhere else? If you're out of the closet at work, why? And if not, why not? And even if you're straight, what do you think? Should people stay in the closet or be out at work? (I try not to limit my discussions to only one group of people!)
9 people like this
28 responses
@Melizzy (1381)
• United States
18 Feb 07
Being out is a job by job basis. In Cali it was no big deal. Moving back here, it's a HUGE deal. I actually lost a job here because of the gay thing. And no, you aren't protected by any laws here. So, be careful, but be true to yourself. Now where I work, there are people who know and most who don't. It's conservative and I'm ok with that.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
18 Feb 07
Very good point. When I worked at a Christian tutoring service, I couldn't be out of the closet really (imagine what they'd think, a lesbian teaching their children, oh my!). I think even when you have the protection of the law, it's better not to have to go through the hassle of getting it to get.
3 Feb 07
You should do what makes YOU comfortable. If you are totally comfortable in your skin then you have nothing to hide but if you like to keep your private life private and you are comfortable with that, then why change it. Some people would say that you are lying or not being true to the gay cause, but it really is up to you. Just be happy.
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
4 Feb 07
Excellent response. I don't think it's a good idea to come out just for the gay cause if it doesn't feel right to you.
@misskatonic (3727)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I've always been out at work. When I was a waitress, I got some nasty looks and some rude comments from the older waitresses, but the manager didn't stand for it and it stopped pretty quickly. I wasn't at that job for long, though. Everywhere else it's been accepted pretty well. I had one case where I broke up with a girlfriend and one of my managers told me that 'now that that's out of your system, you can find a nice guy to settle down with', but that was it. There was another lesbian and a gay guy working there, too, and it really wasn't a big deal. No one cared. I'd hang out with the guys and we'd go out drinking after work.
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
13 Jan 07
It would have probably been a big deal when I worked in a jewelry department. But where I am now, not so much. We've got one other "out" lesbian there.
@inked4life (4227)
• United States
12 Jan 07
You should do whatever makes you feel comfortable. I have worked with and been friends with a number of gay people and it makes no difference to me whatsoever (as it shouldn't to anyone). You should be proud of who you are and just disregard those narrow-minded judgemental people who have a problem with it. Your sexuality in no way affects your ability to do your job.
1 person likes this
12 Jan 07
I think it depends on the individual person as well as the atmosphere within the workplace. Many people take the view that work is work and their private life is private, and that what they choose to do outside the office has nothing to do with anyone else. For others, their sexuality is an important part of their identity and they need to be out in order to feel comfortable with themselves. There are others for whom it isn't a major issue and if their workmates figure it out, that's ok, and if they don't, that's ok too. A gay man working in a stereotypically 'macho' profession such as the police or the army might want to keep his sexuality quiet because being out would make it much more difficult to work effectively alongside his colleagues. I would never quarrel with his right to do that, though I know that some gay activists might think his silence was perpetuating the homophobic atmosphere and that he should be making a stand.
1 person likes this
@charlesming (1866)
• Singapore
31 Jan 07
I would question on the need for people to know. In most cases I don't think people need to as sexuality is a private issue. You want to volunteer and it should not have anything to do with them accepting you for who you are. I understand how you feel but one has to look at the broader picture. Who stands to gain from your act of volunteering? The people who receive your help. Now would you want to deprive them of it just because some people in the organisation potentially is against your sexuality? In my line of work, I do not see my sexuality to have anything to do with my capabilities. If I want people to know it is because I treat them as friends and this has nothing to do with my scope of work. :)
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
31 Jan 07
In volunteering, there are almost always several organizations to choose from to help a cause. I'm all for anyone finding the right organization for them because otherwise, they'll burn out quickly and won't help the cause much anyway. If I had to put on a show of having a fake boyfriend just to be accepted, I wouldn't be happy there. I'm not in their face about it, but generally it comes up in such closely knit groups.
• Singapore
1 Feb 07
Yes i do agree one has to look for the right charity. back here, we are having a lot of charities who are found to be non transparent and they take manpower and donations and spend them through unscrupulous means. it is nice to be accepted.. but if there is this place you really wanna volunteer at and they give you problems, you may want to form your own group then. we have people who form groups of like minded people and embark on their own missions.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
1 Feb 07
Absolutely! But forming a group isn't for everyone. I was one of the founding members of one group and wow that was a lot of difficult paperwork and red tape to go through. With other things that I volunteer for, some take a lot of special permits and aren't something that just anyone could start. Take wildlife rescue for example. A lot of special permits are involved.
• United States
12 Jan 07
gay is one of the things that i won't do ever in my life... it really sux..
• United States
12 Jan 07
well that was a well thought out response...your attitude sucks
1 person likes this
@emisle (3823)
• Ireland
13 Jan 07
And being an a$$ is something I won't ever do in mine..it's people like you that are wrong with the world.
1 person likes this
@mari61960 (4895)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Oh no, Please don't anyone "Do Gay" what are you thinking...you'll go blind or something... lol. Here's your STUPID sign. Sorry couldn't hold back. I almost Peed my pants..laughing. Some people just open their proverbial mouth and both feet fall out ! ;)
1 person likes this
@emisle (3823)
• Ireland
12 Jan 07
If someone came out where I worked I couldn't care less, so what? It's not like the person is going to suddenly turn into a serial killer, or get a personality transplant! Some people are so close minded and ignorant. But I think that if someone is planning on coming out they really need to make sure that the majority of their colleagues will be okay with that because at least they will have them on their side.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I wasn't so much concerned about my coworkers as my employer when I worked doing tutoring. They were very religious and so I couldn't be sure. I know some people who are religious and are tolerant people, but it's still hard to be sure.
@emisle (3823)
• Ireland
13 Jan 07
You're right, you may think you know how someone will react, but it's not the same as knowing.
• United States
13 Jan 07
I think you should listen to your heart and do what feels best for you. It is no one's business but yours, though some ignorant people may persecute you.
@olaff123 (434)
• Namibia
3 Feb 07
I work for a small property management company. My boss asked me upfront after about a week if I was gay, and I told her yes. After that, my partner was invited to all work functions etc. as a matter of fact. Some time later he was recruited to join the team. Then my gay cousin also joined the firm. So, at the moment, we've got one straight guy working there, three gay guys, and a bunch of girls. And it's working very well, the office atmosphere is great.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
3 Feb 07
Wow! Sounds like you have a really cool boss!
@olaff123 (434)
• Namibia
3 Feb 07
Yep, she's the best! At the time I started working there, she had a business partner, a 60 year old guy, who used to farm his whole life. He was unbelievable openminded as well, my boyfriend and I used to have drinks with him and his wife. It really meant a lot to me to see that there is people out there who do not fit into the narrow minded slot gays often reserve for straight people.
@rosey3223 (1569)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Not trying to be mean, but even if you did limit this discussion to a certain group, I would still add a comment!! LoL!! I feel that there should be no reason to hide who you are. I understand how cruel people can be, especially to gay people, but I don't feel that it is fair that you can't be YOU!! Those that are cruel seem to think that they can be themselves!! So I feel that instead of lying and coming up with a fake boyfriend, you should have used the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. That way you wouldn't be lying, they just never asked you!!! But I am happy to know that you have come out and that they do know, that way you don't have to keep carrying on the way that you were. But I wish you all the luck and best wishes in the world when you do decide to come out to your family!!
@rosey3223 (1569)
• United States
13 Jan 07
WOW!! Talk about a soap opera, but that is really funny!! I wonder what my mom would do if I ever came out saying that I was gay? She once said that if my sister and I wound up pregnant and still in school, that she would drop us off at the "funny farm"!! I have to laugh at people like that!! But I love my mom!! I just can't believe that she had to go to the hospital!! But there are a lot of people out there that can't handle it...obviously!! And it sounds like those guys that you worked with were complete d*cks!! I've had my fair share of those type and I put them in their place REAL quick!! I can't stand people that discriminate no matter what you do or who you are, and it seems like they are that type if they are being mean to your replacement. Well, good luck!! I hope that your coming out when you are 25 goes a whole lot smoother than the last time!!! LMAO!!
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Thanks! I hope so too! I could hardly believe it myself when I was going through it. It was pretty crazy. Definitely not the reaction I expected as I planned and printed off all kinds of PFLAG stuff for them!
• United States
12 Jan 07
I have a friend who is a lesbian and she and I worked together. I got her a job. I remember that when she went in for her interview she told me she did not know if she was going to say anything or not. I left it up to her. She did not say anything and said that she would get the feel for the place before she told anyone. She learned that most people at our company did not like gays, or lesbians. She decided not to say anything and asked that I not say anything either. She like you made up boyfriends and all kinds of stories just to make friends and be accepted at work. Two years later someone from work found out about her sexuality and spread it around work. She still works there but she is not treated the same any longer. I really feel bad for her as just because she likes woman does not make her a bad person. She is still the same person and I often wish that those people there would see that. I no longer work there but always try to be there when she needs someone to talk to about this.
@emisle (3823)
• Ireland
13 Jan 07
That's so sad, it's not like she they discovered she killed someone!...o sometimes people just make me dispair.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
13 Jan 07
That's exactly what I was worried would happen in retail, because so many people were against it. That's why I ended up having to invent a fake boyfriend to throw off suspicions. Sorry to hear that it ended up that way for her. Mean people suck.
@Catkin (480)
• United States
14 Jan 07
I'm not out at work, but that's really just because the topic hasn't come up and I haven't felt a need to mention it to anyone. I feel that I would still be accepted and all, but it's only a part-time job and I doubt I'll be there more than a year and a half at most. I would be fine with being out, though for a short while after I would wonder if that's what immediately popped into people's minds when they saw me or talked about me. That happened when my parents found out I wasn't straight (I was calling myself bi at the time, but it's become clear that I'm a lesbian), and my friends, as well. Not long after, I had mostly forgotten about it, but it's always there in the back of my mind. I can think of certain situations in which I wouldn't want to come out, especially if they were likely to become hostile or threatening in some way, but in general I have had good experiences.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
15 Jan 07
Yeah. I have a part time job too, but I hope it lasts a few years. I only stayed in retail for 60 days. I couldn't take it anymore, not even because of all the harassing there that made me make up a boyfriend. More because the manager needed to be on medication and was not.
@coolcatzz (1587)
• Canada
13 Jan 07
It is hard to answer all of your questions because you haven't specified your age. I'm just curious why you aren't out at home. I know it's a scary thing to tell your parents but they love you and they will learn to accept all of you no matter what. I'm glad you are out at work. I think it is probably more of a relief to you to be able to act yourself and not have to keep up a facade. That would be hard to do. I would like to think in this day and age we have come so far in people accepting gay/lesbian people. I for one do not think it changes a thing. We are all people. What we prefer to do in our private life shouldn't change who we are as a person. Good for you for finally letting some of the real you out. I just hope in time you will have the courage to tell your parents. I'm sure it will be difficult but as I said before parents love their children unconditionally.
• United States
13 Jan 07
im not a lesbian and i have nothing against them but alot of people do so if i was gay i would not want it out at work not because i would be ashamed but because people are cruel and tend to judge people but that is only what i would do.comming out of the closet is always good but you should not have to hide your sexuality at home they should accept you for who you are.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I think the problem is that at home, you are dependent on family for survival to some degree, so if you know for certain they won't accept you as you are, it's not a smart thing to let them know. A lot of people think their life is dependent on their job, but I figure I could eventually get another one if I need to. I can't go get another family. If they kick me out, I never will have them to fall back on. Eventually, I hope to be financially stable to the point where I wouldn't even have to worry if they were to disown me forever.
• Philippines
23 Feb 07
the first time i started working.. i was already been paired up to this girl, actually a co-employee.. have nothing against that coz i know their only makin some tricks on me.. but then.. i can't tell if i'm open or not.. coz i really don't have anything to hide from them.. what they see is what they get.. that's me.. later on when i juz happen to be sure of what i'm really feelin towards someone here on the same department.. he's starting to be special in some ways.. and he knows that.. coz i told him..^^ not really expecting something from him.. but its still better for him to know that.. right? well.. everybody here in our department knows that.. and as far as i can see.. there's nothing wrong about that..
@wolfie34 (26793)
• United Kingdom
18 Feb 07
Unfortunately there is still a lot of discrimination in the work place, even tho' we are supposed to be in the 21st century, although there are laws now to protect employers can find other reasons not to employ you if you state that you are gay or lesbian hiding the real fact that because you have been honest and upfront. Where you spend most of your life at work you don't want to cause friction and hardship, it's always best to keep your social life separate from your working life, regardless of whether you are gay or straight, you should never mix both of them it is a recipe for disaster.
• Pakistan
18 Feb 07
well it can be a good idea ! if u got the guts to try it!!!!
@rhinoboy (2129)
1 Feb 07
That's a very thought provoking question, Pigglies! I think that you should be open about your sexuality, but not flaunt it, if you know what I mean. I'm straight and work in media where there are numerous gay people. None of the gay guys at my work are 'screaming queens' though. They're just people getting on with their jobs. I doubt that they would hide the fact, if they were asked, but nobody asks and nobody really cares either. It's how you do your job that counts, not who you sleep with (unless it's the boss!). Having said that, I have straight friends who are car mechanics and builders etc and they can't believe that I'd sit in the same room as a gay guy, let alone be friendly. I suppose it depends on the type of environment you work in.
@camille101 (1027)
• United Arab Emirates
13 Jan 07
Hi there, I'm a straight female, but I may become a bi-curious female since Im curious of girl-to-girl relationship. I'm kind of discreet about it since I'm married to a very wonderful man. I'm also kind of embarrassed at the same time excited about this fantasy, but I'm so discreet about it. I'm more ashamed to feel this mixed-up feelings inside if it's divulge openly, coz I believe that we have to discipline ourselves inorder to act accordingly in the norms of the society.
@limosonia1 (1559)
• United States
13 Jan 07
You should do what ever makes you feel comfortable. Sometimes it is going to be hard. In the long run you will know who likes you for you and if they don't you don't need them. People tend to say hurtful things just to fit in. I don't think you need to go overboard and just keep announcing it or make people understand your views. As a stright person I don't go around saying hey I'm straight. If someone ask you then tell them.