General Question

Jude's avatar

For those who are gay or lesbian, are you "out" at work?

Asked by Jude (32112points) May 13th, 2009

When you all are doing the “water cooler talk”, if you’re not out, how do you deal with questions about what you did on the weekend, or your plans for vacation? I find it especially hard when you have a significant other…

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44 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

I’m out, so the questions aren’t that awkward.

spresto's avatar

Telling them the truth has always been a good policy.

casheroo's avatar

I’ve worked with many gay people, they’ve never hidden that their spouse is the same sex. I’ve never seen anyone hide it before.

Jude's avatar

Being a teacher in a Catholic (Elementary) school, I have no choice.

casheroo's avatar

@jmah I’m sorry you have to deal with that, that makes me so angry.
I guess you can’t even mention your significant other, without people asking questions like “what’s her name..” blah blah blah?

spresto's avatar

Yeah, thats gotta suck.

Facade's avatar

@casheroo What would be wrong with asking her name?

casheroo's avatar

@Facade Let’s say @jmah is a woman (actually i have no clue what @jmah‘s gender is..I haven’t been able to figure it out lol) but, if “she” is trying to conceal that she is a lesbian or bisexual, and is dating a woman, and mentions she went to the movies with her SO, and someone says “Oh, you’re dating someone? What’s his name” She can’t very well say “Amanda” if she’s trying to hide her sexual preference. I could be wrong.

spresto's avatar

Well this might not be the best job for jmah if they run the risk of being fired for being gay. That kind of is the employers business.

Jude's avatar

A few weeks ago when dealing with a new teacher, she asked me if I was going away for my Birthday weekend with my husband. I told her, no, I’m not married, just going away with a bunch of girlfriends. It happens a lot (with new staff). With teachers whom I have worked with for awhile, if they ask me what my plans are, I always say “going out with friends” and don’t go any further than that. I’m 36 and they ask me about kids and a hubby and I have to tell them “no”. I’m sure that a good portion of them have figured it out; it’s just not talked about (and I highly doubt that it ever will be).

cwilbur's avatar

I don’t think I’d last in an environment like that one. I don’t like keeping secrets.

Jude's avatar

@casheroo haha, that would be XX chromosomes.

spresto's avatar

I guess its not worth worrying about then. But if you are looking for freedom from that sort of situation the truth will do it, but you will more than likely get fired. There are sacrifices that have to be made to live “true” to yourself.

Facade's avatar

@casheroo I thought when she said she had “no choice,” she meant that she had to tell that she’s a lesbian. (I don’t know how the Catholic church does things…)

Jude's avatar

For one thing, I am the world’s worst liar. When asked, I’m sure that I have that ‘deer in the headlights’ expression. It’s a shitty situation sometimes, but what can you do? I love the job and it pays well.

Jude's avatar

@casheroo is right. If you mention SO, they tend to ask what does “he” do, or they wonder who is he and they ask for a name, thinking that maybe they know him? (I live in a small town).

Jude's avatar

@cwilbur it’s not easy.

casheroo's avatar

@Facade I believe @jmah has no choice in telling them about her sexual orientation. She cannot confirm that she is a lesbian, or she will lose her job. It’s disgusting that people have to ever be put into that situation, you should be able to talk freely about any woman you choose to date.

Facade's avatar

So she’s forced to keep quiet about it. Gotcha.

spresto's avatar

@casheroo I disagree. If you don’t tell all the truth that is necessary for the employers position and point of view that makes you a liability and to a certain degree untrustworthy in there eyes. The fact that she is in this position sucks, but she did come into it on her own knowing exactly what she was getting into. The world knows how the church views homosexuality.

Jude's avatar

@spresto is right. I did go into it knowing. But, really, it’s a shame that it has to be that way. It is what it is, unfortunately.

spresto's avatar

@jmah Don’t get me wrong, I do sympathize. The church should never turn somebody away because of minor lifestyle choices. They are just as guilty as any of us.

timeand_distance's avatar

heavens no. i work for very conservative chinese folk.
not a lesbian, but still queer, if that counts.

tinyfaery's avatar

@jmah The state you live in doesn’t have protection for gays and lesbians?

To answer the question, I never hide who I am but I don’t announce it either. When I’m having a conversation about relationships or whatever I never swith the pronoun or avoid letting on that I am married to a woman.

tinyfaery's avatar

Being GLBT is NOT a lifestyle. Is being a straight a lifestyle?

casheroo's avatar

it’s also not a choice…it’s just who people are…

spresto's avatar

@tinyfaery You can go overboard on the terms that are used, but I’d rather not. I don’t care if you think you are born this way or not. Honestly who gives a shit. Thats not the issue.

spresto's avatar

This is currently how the world is. It is unaccepted, regardless if you want to call it genetics or choice. Yes, it is gaining popularity, yes gay marriage is getting leagalize, but I doubt it will change the minds of a crusty tradition system like the Catholic Church.

tinyfaery's avatar

I care. I didn’t even say anything about it being a choice. Spew your spite at the correct person.

Jude's avatar

@tinyfaery I live in Canada and I’m not sure about protection for gays and lesbians here. I know for certain that are other gay and lesbian teachers within our board. I’m sure that ones job would be fine, it’s just that word could never get out (beyond teaching staff/School Board). Think about the parents of children in a Catholic school and if they knew, it would never be accepted.

tinyfaery's avatar

Canada is waaay ahead of the U.S. in LGBT rights. But, I’m assuming that like here, your government doesn’t apply those laws to religions, even when they are receiving government money.

New job?

DarkScribe's avatar

I have been outed as a “Lesbian trapped in a Man’s body” by several of my Lesbian friends. It gets me some strange looks from casual observers.

Response moderated
Disc2021's avatar

85% of the time, when someone asks, they get the truth. I’m not one for building upon long intricate lies and most of the time I find it to be an annoyance. Otherwise, I don’t make unnecessary announcements about my sexuality unless the situation calls for it.

The other 25% of the time is at work or in particular situations where it would be easier just not to have that kind of crap circulating – especially if it could be a hindrance. As spresto said so beautifully – people are stuck on old crusty traditions and there’s no sense in trying to convince them that we’re just the same as any other breathing human being.

I wont blatantly lie – I’ll just make poor excuses as to why I’m not poking around with girls like all of the other young college boys. Eventually, some catch on and speculate enough to the point where they’ll either stop asking questions or just flat out pop the “Are you gay??” card.

Jude's avatar

@spresto dude, please, don’t. Grow up a little bit, eh?

not in the mood

backinflow's avatar

i’m a dutch Teacher at a christian school , out with collegaes and parents and never experienced any problem.

Disc2021's avatar

I just realized… my math is a little off. Lol.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m fortunate to work in the restaurant industry, which I’ve found to be generally very tolerant of gay people. I’ve been out at every restaurant job I’ve had; only one (in Roanoke, VA) did I experience any negativity toward me, and even then it was never to my face. They were a bunch of high school mentality kind of people, though, and I honestly didn’t care that much because I knew they were immature and ignorant and that I wasn’t the only one subject to the behind-the-back gossip.

I’d say I’m about 85–90% out in general. I do live in WV, so I’m cautious about it (HRC sticker only on my car, no rainbow sticker), but I live in a university town where I feel mostly safe holding hands with my girlfriend in public when we’re feeling daring.

I’m totally out to all my friends and those I consider closest to me. My feeling is that if you have a problem with gay people, you’re not someone I want to be friends with, anyway. Sometimes it’s just easier to not say anything at all, and it feels somewhat dishonest, but if I have little contact with someone or will never see them again, who cares?

casheroo's avatar

“fortunate to work in the restaurant industry” hahahah. That part cracks me up.

MissAnthrope's avatar

In this case, at least as far as my sexual orientation is concerned, yes.

Otherwise, I can’t wait to get my degree and never have to wait on people again. :P

tinyfaery's avatar

@AlenaD Let’s hope. ;)

deepseas72's avatar

I keep a picture of my partner on my desk at work, and refuse to hide my life. The only time I ever lie is in those rare instances when you’re in a conversation with a 90 year old little old lady and its just not worth confusing her.

gottamakeart's avatar

Its pretty much impossible to mistake me for straight, and I figure I tried to stay “hidden” for too many years in my early life, and my visibility now may help others be more comfortable with others like me and maybe even themselves.

There is no point in being ashamed of who you are – that is what the haters want.

Just_Justine's avatar

I am “out” as being bisexual. The girls think it’s great and try and think of friends of theirs to match me with. The boys think its great (for obvious reasons loll). I work with a great bunch of women (and men).

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