A guide to coming out at work

rainbow paper clips, LGBT workplaceBY BRIANNE L. CROTEAU
Tagg Magazine

No matter how many times I do it, there is always that silent moment after I first mention my partner to a colleague; that millisecond where I’m holding my breath and bracing for their reaction to my “outing”.  These people have known me in one way but now I am revealing an entirely new dimension of myself, one that may change the way they view, relate and interact with me. Will they be surprised to learn that  I’m a lesbian or have they already made their own assumptions based on the way I dress or act? Will it negatively affect our working relationship? Will sharing my personal life bring us closer and foster a better understanding of each other? Will it affect my chances for advancement?

When deciding to come out at work, consider these questions:
Is your office a place where you feel safe? Are offensive e-mails forwarded? Do your colleagues throw around derogatory phrases like “that’s so gay” or worse? Are there anti-discrimination policies in place and/or does the office provide same-sex or domestic partner benefits? Are there other out coworkers – and if so, how are they treated?  Does your company embrace diverse lifestyles or do you feel like the lone fish swimming against the heteronormative stream?

Your colleagues may take their cues from you, so if you are relaxed in sharing your personal information, it can help them feel comfortable asking questions or discussing LGBT related issues.

Read more at TaggMagazine.com

Tagg Magazine is a print and online resource for LBT women in the DC Metropolitan and Rehoboth, DE areas.

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