Ready to Come Out at Work? Here's a Few Tips
January 23, 2020
Starting a new job can cause anxiety sometimes and even more so if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. You never know how open and accepting the new environment will be and you may
Starting a new job can cause anxiety sometimes and even more so if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. You never know how open and accepting the new environment will be and you may be afraid of having to deal with homophobic coworkers. This fear is very valid, and you are not alone in feeling this. Should you choose to be out, you deserve to be proud and as comfortable at your workplace as any of your heterosexual colleagues. These are a few steps that you can take towards coming out during the first few days (or at any given time) in your new employment:
Testing the waters
One of the first things you can do is the good ol’ trick known as testing the waters. Try to bring up topics related to the LGBTQ+ community to see how your coworkers react. You could maybe even start by asking questions regarding how other employees may feel about other’s sexual orientation. By doing this, you may find it easier to come out and feel respected in your place of work. Testing the waters is one small step you can take towards the right – and out – direction. You can take it slow and take the time you need to feel confident that you will be safe once you are ready to share your orientation.
Confiding in someone
We all have that one work friend who becomes so important to us. They are the one that you share funny weekend stories with but also who you complain to when your boss gets on your nerves. When you start at a new job, you are on the lookout for a good work buddy. Once you find someone that you are fully comfortable with, they can be the first person you come out to and, from that moment on, you will always have someone on your side. They will help make coming out to every colleague much easier and they will stand up for you if anyone says or does anything homophobic. Find yourself a great work soulmate to have a lifelong ally.
Maybe you feel like you do not even need to test the waters or share with one other person first. Maybe you do not care about what others could possibly say or do regarding your sexuality. Maybe you just do not want to be in the closet because you were for so long and do not ever want to be in that situation again. Whatever the case may be, there is one other step you can take at your new job to tell people you are gay: casually bringing it up in a conversation. If someone asks about your weekend plans, say you are going out with your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/significant other (Sydnificant Other if you are Elena from One Day at a Time). Say you cannot wait to see them. Mention their name(s) or your relationship at any given time. If you are not in a relationship, you can say you will be watching Queer Eye, fighting for Wynonna Earp, hanging out with all your cats or any other homosexual activity we all love to do. That will probably lead to more questions and you can disclose what you feel comfortable sharing with everyone else.
Coming out is never an easy task, and some people take more time to do it than others. You have to remember that you do not have to immediately announce it in your new office. You can look around and get a feel for the environment. See how accepting your new coworkers are and how comfortable you would feel sharing your truth with them.
The new job on its own could be anxiety-inducing, but you should always remember that they chose you out of all the candidates. You are a valued member of their team and have been from the very first moment they hired you; your sexual orientation should never change that. However, put yourself first and decide when it will be safe enough for you to come out. Maybe these few steps will help as a guide for you to find the right moment or the right way to do it. In the end, you want to be proud of the company you work for, and one way to do that is by allowing yourself to be proud of who you are from nine to five.