I'm going to the office holiday party...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 21, 2012 3:48 PM GMT
    and am bringing my partner. I am out to close friends and family but not with coworkers. I have only been at this job for three months and do not know the people very well. Most of my coworkers are much younger than me so you would expect them to be more accepting but they are mostly foreigners from a fairly traditional culture (Indian) and we are engineers (not the most liberal bunch). But I have decided that I don't care; I'm going to live my life on my own terms and if anyone has a problem with it it's better know up front than after I've been with the company for ten years or so.

    Anyway, my partner and I will be conducting ourselves just as any hetero couple would behave in a company sponsored social gathering.

    Anyone have any experience in this type of situation? I'd like to hear your stories.
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    Nov 21, 2012 3:51 PM GMT
    Good on you. That's just how it should be.
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    Nov 21, 2012 4:17 PM GMT
    Congrats...so proud to hear it, especially in the environment you'll be in.
    For me it was more of a non-issue only because we work together; however, when there is these types of gatherings it's always amazing at the number of people who had no clue.
    You will see a lot whispering behind your back, shocked faces, some expressions you may take the wrong way, but hopefully you'll also get the two or three come over and congratulate you on being so open, ask about you're relationship; like they are happy to know a gay couple for the first time.
    Over all I found it comical, just from the one or two people who's minds were blown.
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    Nov 21, 2012 4:25 PM GMT
    I went through this at my second job out of law school, twenty plus years ago. It took that firm quite a few years to get used to having an out gay lawyer. Issues that came up at the firm formal event were really stupid, though. The "boy girl boy girl" seating that mixed up the couples was, oddly enough, the most difficult. The first year they just omitted the place cards at our table. The second year they seated us together. The third year they seated us together again, until the wife of one of my colleagues marched up to the lawyer in charge of the event, told her this was stupid and that they should treat us like everyone else, and proceeded to mix us up at our table. It was never a problem again after that.

    Just go, be yourself, have a good time. If anything difficult happens, rise above it and deal with HR about it afterwards.

    While that job was at a really prestigious botique firm, it was never "great" on gay issues but it got a lot better over the years. Today, I'm at an international biglaw firm and it is a complete nonissue. They love the gays and take great pride in scoring 100% on the HRC equality index.

    Unless the people you work with have absolutely no social skills, expect everyone to be very friendly and accomodating in person. If there are any issues it will be in whispers afterwards. But this is 2012, for chrissake. I would hope it will be a complete non-event.
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    Nov 24, 2012 1:27 PM GMT
    I too hope it will be a nonevent and will report back on how things turn out.
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    Nov 24, 2012 1:33 PM GMT
    Considering I've lived my entire life this way, yeah I have a LOT of experience at it. The key is to maintain a "matter of fact" attitude about it. Introduce the guy as your partner (or my preferred choice "my other half") This lefts them know that he's not your business partner. I've never had a single bad experience from being out. In my opinion, this is the only way to lead your life.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Nov 24, 2012 2:49 PM GMT
    showme saidI went through this at my second job out of law school, twenty plus years ago. It took that firm quite a few years to get used to having an out gay lawyer. Issues that came up at the firm formal event were really stupid, though. The "boy girl boy girl" seating that mixed up the couples was, oddly enough, the most difficult. The first year they just omitted the place cards at our table. The second year they seated us together. The third year they seated us together again, until the wife of one of my colleagues marched up to the lawyer in charge of the event, told her this was stupid and that they should treat us like everyone else, and proceeded to mix us up at our table. It was never a problem again after that.

    Just go, be yourself, have a good time. If anything difficult happens, rise above it and deal with HR about it afterwards.

    While that job was at a really prestigious botique firm, it was never "great" on gay issues but it got a lot better over the years. Today, I'm at an international biglaw firm and it is a complete nonissue. They love the gays and take great pride in scoring 100% on the HRC equality index.

    Unless the people you work with have absolutely no social skills, expect everyone to be very friendly and accomodating in person. If there are any issues it will be in whispers afterwards. But this is 2012, for chrissake. I would hope it will be a complete non-event.





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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 24, 2012 3:10 PM GMT
    The first week I started my current job, I put up one of the photos of my partner and myself from a vacation along with my other personal photos and decorations. I thought it was a subtle way of inviting those that were curious to ask about my relationship status. By the time the office holiday party came around months later, those that were interested knew about Clay. It was pretty much a non-issue. Working in a city where sexual orientation is a protected class probably helped but even if that wasn't the case, I don't think anyone would have had a problem with it.

    I definitely think you should take your partner. IF anyone is going to have a problem with it, better to know now rather than working for years and feeling like you have to hide who you are.

    I'm interested in hearing about how it goes so please let us know what happens.

    BTW, I see you live in New Orleans - one of the gayest cities around. I'd be shocked if your coworkers have an issue with you and your partner.
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    Nov 24, 2012 3:28 PM GMT
    I'd say you have the right idea. I think the bigger deal you make about something, the more power it gives others to make a big deal about it. The more casual and natural you are, the more likely people will just go along with it. Or look stupid if they make a big deal about it.

    When I started my job, it was about 2 months before I really mentioned anything about my bf at the time. I didn't have any kind of official "coming out" moment, because it seems kind of stupid. But I did want my coworkers to know, and I wanted to know there would be no problems. Being from MA I would've been shocked if there were, but still - you never know.

    So I just worked it into a conversation.. My supervisor was complaining about her husband, something silly - like how he would use a plate for a sandwich then put the plate (ONE plate!) in the sink without washing it then and there and putting it away. And I just turned and said something like, "Seriously! My boyfriend does the exact same thing and it drives me nuts!"

    And she rolled with it and we made fun of it for a good 5 minutes and then the conversation just progressed from there, and she started asking about him, what he did, how long we were together and all that.

    She admitted much later that until that point she had been wondering what my story was, since I had no pictures on my desk, didn't wear a ring, and made no mention of a significant other.

    About a month later, another coworker in my group came out in a similar way, and then we hired someone new who was also gay. We joked that my supervisor was the pflag supervisor of the company haha. icon_lol.gif

    Didn't mean to go off on a tangent, but just figured I'd share the story... either way, Good Luck!! icon_biggrin.gif
  • TheAlchemixt

    Posts: 2294

    Nov 24, 2012 3:34 PM GMT
    Good for you Undercover, Im glad that you're the type of guy who is proud to show off your partner. It's sweet icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 24, 2012 3:57 PM GMT
    I agree I think this is great. Go, have fun and be your sefl! icon_biggrin.gif xoxoxo can't wait to hear how it went
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    Nov 24, 2012 6:29 PM GMT
    Yes. I did this in 1997 at a Fortune 500 holiday party. As you stated, conduct yourselves with dignity and relaxed professional demeanor. Do not drink too much. Have a good time. respond with a smile to any "off" looks you might receive.
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    Nov 24, 2012 7:14 PM GMT
    I'm happy to read the advice of everybody above me here, especially Darin (Sashaman). This is the way Bob and I handle it here in the San Francisco area, and wherever we go. We have a good number of 'things' to attend throughout the year, and we just go in, looking and feeling good, shaking hands, greeting everybody, smiling, making conversation - and we don't make an issue of our sexuality. We treat it as a non-issue wherever we go - and we notice that others treat us well in return. If there was ever any isolated person who might be uncomfortable about our situation - we never see any indication of that. Homophobic individuals would be ostracized in normal, intelligent places these days - - - and they know it - - and if they do have negative impressions of gay couples, the homophobes keep that to themselves. Just go out and be yourselves, and people will take cues from you. If you look good, are happy and comfortable - you'll make the people you're with feel the same way.
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    Nov 24, 2012 7:19 PM GMT
    As an Indian guy ( born, raised and living in India except for the 2 and a half years that i spent in Canada) I can say, that most Indian guys abroad would be very comfortable with your boyfriend and may be even curious and wanting to talk with him. The others might be too shocked to actually mumble a word out. I think you will be just fine.