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Author Topic: Coming out: how and why?  (Read 113607 times)

sactopete

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2006, 01:02:38 PM »
Lola,

So what kind of behavior affects job performance?  If employees are for example telling fag jokes in meetings, is that material to the job?

Do I have to wear a pink triangle on my lapel just so people know not to tell THAT one in "mixed company"?

helen_uk

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2006, 01:07:59 PM »
If you are in a relationship then you have to try pretty hard not to come out when asked questions like...

Why would you do this?  Why not just answer the questions?

I feel there is a great deal of confusion here on the thread.  Just because I, and others, are confused as to why a person would feel the need to go to their boss and declare their sexuality does not mean that I/we think that homosexuals should not talk about their home lives in the course of ordinary interaction with other people.

Offline Lola

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2006, 01:10:23 PM »
agreeing with helen_uk .........again!

Pete if someone is telling gay jokes, yes an employer or HR manager would want to hear about that, that is not acceptable.

Although I think if someone said something like that and you said "EXCUSE me, but I am gay" that would have alot of impact and probably straighten them out.  If it didn't then yes go to HR and they will get a write up and disciplined.

Like I said "nothing" like that every happend in our workplace.   Not alot of gay jokes, or jokes about race, maybe the odd blonde joke - which I should take offence to those! lol

I have actually been at parties where someone has told a gay joke and I don't laugh and usually say "I have gay friends and don't find that funny" and then they say "oh sorry"

Also we have gay friends and they don't walk in the door and announce they are gay, so again I would expect my other friends are mature enough to not saying anything ignorant.  And they don't.

I would really expect nothing like that to take place in a workplace.

Also I have to ask, if you are gay, do you ever make gay jokes?  It is like black people telling black jokes, I never quite got that.

I am just not a big joke person, every joke basically offends or hurts or pokes fun at someone.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2006, 01:12:31 PM by Lola »
 
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sactopete

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2006, 01:28:09 PM »
Lola,

And if its management that's telling the jokes???
I rarely tell jokes of any sort on the job.  I take those harrassment policy statements from the HR folks seriously.

But when folks ask me if I'm married, which usually happens within 10 minutes of being on a new job, if I simply say "no" that either only encourages some people or marks me as some sort of selfish jerk cause "who needs the cow when you can get the milk for free" - yes, I've actually been told that.  But if I say "The State of .... doesn't allow gay men to marry" then I'm making a statement which remains politically loaded and only invites equally political reactions which is not my intention and I'd just as soon not hear. 

Offline vertimus

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2006, 01:32:28 PM »
Also agreeing with Helen again. When I started talking about this the first time, my remark was that I saw no reason to come out with a full-frontal statement like "I'm gay, hello" or "My name is so-and-so, I happen to also be a homosexual."  Or even something like, "As a homosexual, I..."

I speak aobut my life and interests all the time at work.

helen_uk

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2006, 01:33:13 PM »
we don't have domestic partner benefits -
 

The situation here in the UK is somewhat different I believe, now that we have Civil Partnerships which ensure that same sex  couples have benefits.  However unmarried couples of any sexuality don't have guaranteed benefits, it depends on the workplace, so everyone is in the same boat.


Offline happycamper

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2006, 01:43:08 PM »
If you are in a relationship then you have to try pretty hard not to come out when asked questions like...

Why would you do this?  Why not just answer the questions?

I feel there is a great deal of confusion here on the thread.  Just because I, and others, are confused as to why a person would feel the need to go to their boss and declare their sexuality does not mean that I/we think that homosexuals should not talk about their home lives in the course of ordinary interaction with other people.

gordonleo said:
when i was 40, i decided to come out and live as an openly gay man

as part of that journey, i went to the director of my work place (ontario government - ministry of community and social services) and announced my new found self and my new intentions

The feedback he got was:

I am just wondering why you even felt the need to do that??

having a picture of your 'spouse' on your desk etc etc is vastly different to going to your boss's office and saying "I just want to let you know I'm homosexual."

I hate to keep veering off course but I just don't think you get it. Coming out is not an ad campaign. "Coming soon, your gay coworker!"

Here are some possible reasons, as gordonleo either does not log on often or doesn't want to continue the conversation:

Maybe he has a close relationship with the Director. Maybe in the type of work he does, it is important to be upfront about your own situation as it may affect your feelings about client situations. Maybe he announced his newfound self by saying that he moved to a known gay area. Maybe he didn't want to wait for it to just "come up". Face it, even if you casually remark to a co-worker, "My boyfriend and I just bought a new condo." There is a big light going off in their head, "Oh, you're GAY" even if it isn't a problem for them. Why is it so offensive to just make that statement up front?

It seems like people are all upset that he talked about his orientation, when as someone said, just by wearing a wedding ring, you are announcing you are straight. (Not so much any more.) Why is this inapropriate? Is it because when some straight people think of gay they think of gay sex?

helen_uk

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2006, 01:54:36 PM »
Maybe he has a close relationship with the Director. Maybe in the type of work he does, it is important to be upfront about your own situation as it may affect your feelings about client situations. Maybe he announced his newfound self by saying that he moved to a known gay area. Maybe he didn't want to wait for it to just "come up". Face it, even if you casually remark to a co-worker, "My boyfriend and I just bought a new condo." There is a big light going off in their head, "Oh, you're GAY" even if it isn't a problem for them. Why is it so offensive to just make that statement up front?

It seems like people are all upset that he talked about his orientation, when as someone said, just by wearing a wedding ring, you are announcing you are straight. (Not so much any more.) Why is this inapropriate? Is it because when some straight people think of gay they think of gay sex?

I don't find it offensive, I just find it bizarre.  I've already given my reasons for doing so.

I can't speak for anyone else, but personally I am not upset that he spoke about his orientation, just perplexed that he declared it to his boss in such a manner.  Having a close relationship with his boss would be a good reason, but until gordonleo comes back I guess we'll never know.

As for a wedding ring being a declaration of straightness - I'm married.  I'm bisexual.  I used to wear a wedding ring, so yes people were free to make assumptions (e.g. that I was straight), doesn't mean they were right. 

Quote
Is it because when some straight people think of gay they think of gay sex?

Like I said I'm not straight, but this just sounds completely off the wall.


Offline Lola

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2006, 02:01:49 PM »
I don't find it offensive, I just find it bizarre.  I've already given my reasons for doing so.

I can't add anything to that! lol

As for managment making gay jokes (or any other kind of joke) who knows, I have never worked any place where management sat around making jokes.....they are usually too busy managing the company.

 :-\

and just so gordo doesn't get miss quoted:

just a little life story

when i was 40, i decided to come out and live as an openly gay man

as part of that journey, i went to the director of my work place (ontario government - ministry of community and social services) and announced my new found self and my new intentions

she was very supportive and very gracious - and she said

You know gordonleo this ministry is very very tolerant and very very accepting

AND - in my heart of hearts and soul of souls my minds voice said

until this very moment - you were always just gordonleo
and now you are tolerable and acceptable

ouch -

it is a long lonely isolated hard road (and i have only seldom regretted leaving the closet)

to quote McMurtry and Ossana when they write about ennis looking out of jacks window "a window looks down on the dirt road stretching south ... the only road out of this godforsaken place."

« Last Edit: February 07, 2006, 02:04:09 PM by Lola »
 
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Offline mountain boy

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2006, 02:09:18 PM »
I wonder if it might help us get some perspective to say where we live (just kinda generally) - I'm in Atlanta. I think homophobia is not at its worst here. People know I'm gay and I don't recall anything I'd call a reprisal right off hand. But I know there are people who have a very different experience even here.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2006, 02:17:05 PM by wdj »

Offline vertimus

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2006, 02:11:03 PM »
As I said in my posts on this subject on the other threadline, I'm in Manhattan for work, I live in Brooklyn, and there's varying degrees of tolerance and intolerence in each.

helen_uk

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2006, 02:11:58 PM »
Good idea wdj.  As you know I'm in the UK; specifically Buckinghamshire, and about 30 miles from London.

Offline jim ...

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2006, 02:12:39 PM »
Great thread idea wdj!  I was going to start a thread on coming out in general (not necessarily related to the workplace) as its something that most of us have to deal with in one way or another.

Someone’s reason for coming, or not coming out at work obviously hinges on various issues … the relative acceptance of the environment & co-workers, the management and their level of acceptance, the type of job your in and most importantly the individuals “comfort level” with coming out in general.

I quite frankly can’t see coming out simply for sake of coming out!  I don’t see what I do in the bedroom to be anyone else’s business.  I don’t hear my heterosexual colleagues sharing their private sexual life with me.  Doesn’t that work both ways?  I’ve heard it said many times, that the two most personal things in anyone’s life are their salary and their sex life. 

There are many in the gay community that insists it is “our” obligation/duty to be out to everyone.  That by doing so, somehow puts us more in the public eye and shows how many of “us” there really are.  I really have a problem buying that.  I think we are in the public eye. With movies like BBM, various articles and coverage in the media, I doubt there is anyone that doesn’t think homosexuals exist!  Whether they like it or not, they know we’re out there.  And in terms of the numbers, I’m not sure anyone knows what the real percentage of gay folks really is, but anyone desiring that information can simply search the net for starters and get a decent idea.  For those in our community that feel we should be outing ourselves to every Tom, Dick and Harry and that we all should be marching in the front row of our gay pride parades, I say, sorry … but that’s just not me.  There are many that say my first allegiance (as a gay man) should be to our community and our “fight”.  While I am all for gay rights … marriage … etc., my first allegiance is to me.  If I’m not comfortable with myself and with the choice to come out to whomever I want, then I’m not going to be of much use to the gay community as a whole.  Quite frankly, I think it stinks that “we” are in the position to have to come out at all.  Off the top of my head, I can think of very few others that have to deal with this issue.

Btw, I am out to my family and close friends and am also out to some of my co-workers that I feel a connection with.  I don’t walk around with a big “G” stuck to my forehead and you won’t find me marching anytime soon in the gay pride parade.  For those that are comfortable with that, I say great … go for it!  It’s just not me.

People talk about being totally out and the honesty and freedom that brings.  I’d like to remind those people, that none of us is totally out.  There will always be those that are not aware of your orientation and trust me, you’ll be coming out again, again and again.  I don’t think it ever ends.


« Last Edit: February 07, 2006, 02:17:41 PM by jim ... »

Offline Hmmmm

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2006, 02:15:18 PM »
It is interesting that workplaces are much more acccepting of individuality that in other settings.  Here is interesting summary poll trends over the years on peceptions of homesexuals.  Note how strong the support for non discrimination on the job.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_poll2.htm

This is in line with results in other polls to questions like "I would be comfortable working side by side with a homosexual at work".  Note that many of the people that have no problem with that do answer in the same survey that they think that homosexual relationships are morally wrong etc.  Turns out that workplaces are a by and large pretty accepting "let's get the work done" places it would seem.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2006, 02:46:11 PM by Hmmmm »
Prejudice is not a family value.

helen_uk

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Re: Coming out in the workplace
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2006, 02:18:46 PM »
But when folks ask me if I'm married, which usually happens within 10 minutes of being on a new job, if I simply say "no" that either only encourages some people or marks me as some sort of selfish jerk cause "who needs the cow when you can get the milk for free" - yes, I've actually been told that.  But if I say "The State of .... doesn't allow gay men to marry" then I'm making a statement which remains politically loaded and only invites equally political reactions which is not my intention and I'd just as soon not hear. 

Why don't you just say "No, I live with my partner Bob", or that you're not firmly attached but have a boyfriend, or something of that ilk.  And say that you and Bob would like to get married one day.