Coming Out at Company Holiday Party

  • tomchadwin

    Posts: 26

    Jan 04, 2014 1:34 AM GMT
    My company is having a New Year Holiday party soon and I am trying to gather the courage to finally come out at work and bring my boyfriend who I've been dating now for 2 years. I work at a pretty "old school" law firm in Philadelphia and I wonder if coming out will have an adverse effect on my career at the firm. At the same, I want to be able to share my personal life with my co-workers. I work at small a 20-person company, where most of the employees are over 45, but there are a few co-workers who are my age and who I consider to be my friends. I am also the only gay person (that I know of) at the firm

    Has anyone had similar experiences and what did you do to get over your fears of coming out at the place you work? Any tips or advice?

    Thanks in advance.
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    Jan 04, 2014 7:13 AM GMT
    I applaud you for wanting to live your life open and free. However, in this situation, my gut is telling me, "This will not end well". Don't do it unless you're ready to change jobs. Wrong place. Wrong time. Wrong situation. Wrong crowd.

    But then I'm one of those "over 45" types and may just be too inculcated into a world where discrimination and prejudice was more rampant.
  • xy28

    Posts: 19

    Jan 04, 2014 7:23 AM GMT
    Could you not arrange lunch with the co-workers that are your age and bring your boyfriend along?
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    Jan 04, 2014 10:22 AM GMT
    IDK--Didn't Tom Hanks die in the end of this one?
    1993: good times.
    --over ten years later and you're concerned, because they are very conservative?
    I'm sorry just can't get behind that. It's Philly not Conway Arkansas.
    It is my understanding, in this new age of equality, it is quite the badge of diversity to have a gay on staff.
    It may be beneficial; coming out, before they find a hot lesbian (Jennifer Beals) and offers her a partnership.
  • lgg5819

    Posts: 141

    Jan 04, 2014 2:33 PM GMT
    To be honest with you, if it were me, I wouldn't come out at work at all. Pennsylvania doesn't protect against LGBT employment discrimination in the private sector, so depending on how conservative they actually are, you could lose your job. You know them better than I do, so maybe that isn't the case, but either way I have always considered it a private matter and none of my coworkers' business who I sleep with or even spend time with. Work life is work life, and home life is home life. Of course, that's just me, and I totally understand if you approach it differently. But I'm a lawyer too, and in this economy it's not worth losing your job over something where you literally have zero legal recourse to do anything about it.
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    Jan 04, 2014 5:05 PM GMT
    YourName2000 saidI personally think you've missed the boat on this, and now you're in a bit of a pickle.

    No one knows you're gay? It's a conservative environment, where most of the attendees are over 45? It's the New Year Holiday party? --that is, a party for everyone? Sorry, but I don't personally think this should be your coming out party. If you'd laid any of the ground work ahead of now, I'd say go for it, but you haven't. It's an *office* party...for the entire office. If you "come out", it will be *your* party...about YOU.

    No doubt you've been stressing about this for awhile and let the boyfriend know. Now you're in the position (as is he) that if he goes, a little too much attention will be paid to the both of you and he'll be 'on the spot'. If you don't take him, it could be a slight. If you take him, and the brass thinks it tacky that you announce your sexuality that way, perhaps they'll hold it against you in the future (who knows).

    Personally, I think a better bet would have been to let those in the office know you're gay ahead of time (at least some of them). Then --better yet--introduce him to a couple of them, the younger ones likely, so he at least knows someone else at the party. And that way when you show up you're not 'the news' and the party can be what it was intended to be: a holiday party for staff and their significant others.

    Anyway, my two bits. Hope it works out, whatever you do.


    Agree 100%. It would be better to tell a few open minded people and let the word spread a little. Give people a chance to get comfortable with the news (if possible). It's unfortunate that it has to be this way, and maybe one day it won't be a big deal, but for now, you have to consider your environment and time/place or risk unpleasant fallout.
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    Jan 04, 2014 10:25 PM GMT
    I'm going to be in chorus with the rest of my fellow rj'rs and say, its not advisable.
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    Jan 05, 2014 12:21 AM GMT
    I'm just a little surprised that the OP's New Years party for his work is happening after Jan 1.
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    Jan 05, 2014 1:55 AM GMT
    Just bring your partner. Seriously, who cares anymore? I attend all sorts of work related events and I often bring LingLang and we don't think it's a big deal and have never had anyone else react negatively. You get back what you put out, if you're uncomfortable and expect to be treated like an oddity, then you should be uncomfortable and expect to be treated like an oddity. Get your life together. I doubt any of your straight co-workers would give 5 seconds of thought about bringing someone they have been dating for 2 years to a company party, and that's about how much time you should be giving to the same thinking. Do it and quit being a baby.
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    Jan 05, 2014 2:42 AM GMT
    tomchadwin saidI work at a pretty "old school" law firm in Philadelphia and I wonder if coming out will have an adverse effect on my career at the firm. At the same, I want to be able to share my personal life with my co-workers. Any tips or advice?

    Adverse effect on your career? You already know the answer to that one.
    What makes "old school" law firms "old school" is an aversion to rocking the boat. Turning the office holiday party into a vehicle for your personal coming-out drama is rocking the boat.
    As others have suggested, approach the co-workers you're closest to first, individually. Make this a gradual process. After a critical mass has been achieved, then bring your partner to future office events with confidence.