update from the reader wondering whether to tell her conservative coworkers she’s gay

One more update after all!  This is from the reader who was struggling with whether to tell her conservative coworkers that she’s gay, and who was worried it could affect her treatment at work:

I came out to a handful of co-workers in May 2011, and assume that most people at my office know by now. Some people say awkward but unoffensive things, but most are completely indifferent. The nice thing about working at a law firm is that my bosses really just care about the quality and quantity of my work (ie, are the clients happy and have I met my billable hours requirements).

As most of the other commenters suggested, it’s a huge relief to be out, and I really appreciate all of the support I found here. My office doesn’t have an EEOC policy (but I’m in a jurisdiction where employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal), so this has encouraged me to become more active in firm management/employment policy issues as well, since if I don’t say anything, it’s certain that nobody else will either. So while coming out at work obviously isn’t appropriate for everyone, it was definitely the right decision for me.

{ 16 comments… read them below }

  1. Scott Woode*

    Oh good! I’m happy everything worked out for the best and that your experience and research, in turn, inspired you to make the environment more congenial and accepting with your newfound interest in policy. On behalf of the community, thank you for lending your voice to the cause.

  2. Kimberlee*

    I’m glad that this worked out so well!

    AAM: I think you’re missing a “to” in the post title. :)

  3. Karen*

    OP, I’m so glad that this has worked out for you.

    Some day, I hope gay folks won’t even need to ask questions like these – no one should be afraid of sharing this very basic detail of their personal life with their coworkers.

  4. joe*

    It is good that you did not have problems after you confided your sexuality to your coworkers, but why would you feel the need to confide a private matter to business associates? Few people confide secrets that might possibly turn potential enemies into real ones unless they have a need to be victimized to perpetuate some sort of drama triangle.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Her sexual orientation isn’t a “secret” that should be hidden. Just like a heterosexual employee shouldn’t feel that she needs to hide that she’s married or in a relationship with a man. People mention their spouses and significant others at work.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I should also add: This isn’t about her “sexuality” (which makes it sound like telling your coworkers that you’re into some particular sexual practice). This is about who she loves.

    2. JfC*

      One way I have heard the closet described when you’re in a relationship is that it’s not so much that you have to hide details of your sexuality (which everyone does at work). It’s that you have to hide a PERSON. Imagine if you were terrified of your workplace finding out that you have a wife.

  5. Jen M.*

    OP, I am so glad this worked out well for you, and I think it’s really cool that you want to be involved with policy development at work.

    Best of luck!

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