We've all been there. You're starting a new job, and whether you're obviously gay and it's easy to spot or you're more Lipstick, it's time for you to come out all over again.
We all know that coming out to new people can be either stressful, boring or both. I mean seriously, we should all get stickers on our foreheads or something. "Hi, I'm Gay, Feel Free To Ask Questions", so this can be a lot easier all round. The stickers would be glittery, obviously.
But there are some ways of making things easier, and here are 3 ways to come out at work. If you feel you need to, of course.
1. Dress the Part
Now if you're clearly gay with a shaved head, tattoos and have your "I Love Labia" badge on, you may be out of the firing line. They'll figure it out. But some of us aren't so lucky. Say you have long hair (which surely means you're straight, no?) or a dress or have forgotten to paint your (neatly trimmed) nails with Rainbow Pride colours that day. What then? A whole heap of subject avoidance, that's what, but whie also being prodded for information. Which works out just as subtle as it sounds.
2. Blame Your Girlfriend
My favourite "figure you out" phrase is -
"So, Emily, Do you have a *Partner*?"
Sigh. Couldn't they just say the word Girlfriend? No, because they think I may be insulted if I'm straight. So why not ask if I have a Boyfriend? For fear of my famous, lesbian, short tempered wrath being rained down upon their uneducated heads, of course. But if you have a lady, here's the time to bring her up. Job Done. No declarations necessary. Just make sure they know you're committed to a woman and you're out of the woods.
But if you don't have a girlfriend to drop into conversation, you're screwed here. Figuratively speaking, of course. Usually, within a couple of days of knowing me (despite my long hair and ability to wear heels) you'll figure out I'm a lesbian. Now of course I would prefer that everyone know who I am, but my sexuality isn't relevant in the workplace. If there were a way of letting everyone know I'm gay without having to shave my head or asking to grab the receptionist's tits, I would do it. But this is frowned upon, apparently.
So as time goes on, I do feel the need to get it out. But you can't just lean casually up against Mark from Accounts in the tea room and tell him you like vagina too. That could be an HR matter. Also, Mark may not care and will just think you're odd. And people think I'm odd most of the time anyway (I talk a lot about my cats), so let's not fuel the fire.
3. Cop Out and Let a Friend Do It
All right, not traditionally good advice. But come on, I'm not an Agony Aunt. I mean I could try, but I'd be bloody rubbish at it. My 17 year old sister once texted me to ask me what to do when she was shy at a party and didn't know anyone. My answer of "Take your top off! That made me loads of friends in my teens!" did not go down well with my mother.
Last option - Find the office gossip (there's always one. They're usually blonde. And likely in the Marketing Team) and become her best friend. Invite her for coffee, send chatty emails, and then just mention that you prefer the ladies and the hard work is over. It'll be all over the office by the time you're back from lunch!
In the current day, being Gay in the workplace is not an issue any more, in fact, it's sort of fashionable. Gay men have it easier... They can just flamboyantly bounce around the office until everyone gets the message. Clever, but I don't think I could pull off mincing around calling everything "fabulous" without people thinking there's something very wrong with me.
Of course, once you're out, there's a whole host of other problems to be dealing with. Like every closeted bisexual wanting to use you for experimentation, or your female married boss sliding her hand up your leg. But that's a matter for the disciplinary committee. Or a bloody good story, should you choose to take them up on it...
Otherwise, I'm out of options. So I'd suggest we get cracking on making those glittery stickers.