Has coming out affected your professional career?

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    Sep 03, 2009 12:15 PM GMT
    Has coming out affected your professional career? Was it a positive or negative effect? If you are out, how are you able to relate to your coworkers and boss on subjects such as relationships, family, friends, vacations, issues, etc? Are you able to be honest or do you have to mind what you say in order to avoid any awkward situations?
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    Sep 03, 2009 1:54 PM GMT
    Almost everyone at my work is out. Most of them are out about their heterosexuality. They find it appropriate to have pictures of their spouses and kids. They tell me amusing stories about their hetero weekends and their hetero family. They aren't in the closet and I admire their bravery. So, I have no problem being just as out about my homosexuality.

    The effect is pretty neutral, in terms of my career. But I hope it makes life a little easier for my queer brethren who have yet to get the balls to do what everyone else already has.
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    Sep 03, 2009 1:57 PM GMT
    I work in sports on the "major league" level. "Don't ask, don't tell" is alive and well. Those people who do know don't care and love me just the same. Sexuality really shouldn't be a priority at the office. That's why it is called "work".
  • Latenight30

    Posts: 1525

    Sep 03, 2009 2:02 PM GMT
    I was very upfront with my company that I'm gay with a partner. He comes to the office and we go to lunch and he is always at holiday parties with me.
    In Events and theatre it is no big deal. But in Atlanta I'm one of the few out about it. I'm a gay production lighting supervisor. But i take no shit from noone and if you got something to say, you better be able to back it up.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 03, 2009 2:16 PM GMT
    I worked for a successful brokerage firm which has their home office in san fran. I started getting harrassed by my manager about six months before I had to quit. The company did nothing to protect me from his hostility even though HR did an internal investigation(and of course they had no problems with his conduct). I didn't know where all this hostility was coming from until after I quit. I guess I was naive. After I left, a coworker finally came forward to HR and told them that the manager asked everyone on the team to help "get this faggot fired". Long story short the manager started harassing her until she had to quit as well.
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    Sep 03, 2009 2:39 PM GMT
    So far no. I try to keep things separate. I don't hide, I just don't talk about my personal life... whether it's money or sex, it's just too personal and at work you talk about work.
    Some co workers know, others don't but I haven't had any problems. And if I do, they are gonna see a hard time.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Sep 03, 2009 2:45 PM GMT
    You could say that. I came out while in the military, thus ending a promising ten-year career in a matter of weeks. I did it willingly at the time, but I miss that life occasionally...
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Sep 03, 2009 2:52 PM GMT
    Well as I have always said, I don't "advertise" my sexuality. My clients
    employ me to provide an answer to their needs. I do so, my personal life is
    not relevant and I don't make it so. My employees largely know, but it isn't discussed in any significant way. We talk about personal things, but they are there to work, not discuss my (or their) private lives at great length.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 03, 2009 2:52 PM GMT
    Same in ohio. Speak to a lawyer anyway, seems I have a good case anyway.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19119

    Sep 03, 2009 2:54 PM GMT
    I've never brought my "personal life" to work, and I think that is the way it should be -- gay, straight, or somewhere in between. Granted, I work in Real Estate, so it's not like I'm stuck in an office all day anyway. But, I've worked in office-type jobs before and I still think one's personal life should be left at the front door. I've found that more often than not if you don't make it an issue or topic for discussion, no one else will.
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    Sep 03, 2009 2:55 PM GMT


    "But I hope it makes life a little easier for my queer brethren who have yet to get the balls to do what everyone else already has."


    MunchingZombie, look what happened to jprichva. We think that your statement infers that those not out at work are lacking in some way.

    You live in a bit of a horror show of a country when it comes to the crazy patchwork of human rights, and their absence.



  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Sep 03, 2009 2:55 PM GMT
    Celticmusl saidI worked for a successful brokerage firm which has their home office in san fran. I started getting harrassed by my manager about six months before I had to quit. The company did nothing to protect me from his hostility even though HR did an internal investigation(and of course they had no problems with his conduct). I didn't know where all this hostility was coming from until after I quit. I guess I was naive. After I left, a coworker finally came forward to HR and told them that the manager asked everyone on the team to help "get this faggot fired". Long story short the manager started harassing her until she had to quit as well.


    Thats amazing, especially in San Francisco. It sounds like the co-worker
    could vouch for the same issue from this "unprofessional" person. It sounds like you took every step you could from HR in documentation. Knowing me, I would have already visited a law firm specializing in discrimination in the workplace and asked alot of questions.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 03, 2009 3:46 PM GMT
    Thanks Hndsmkansan for the advice. I did have a lawyer at first but she is now representing that coworker that had to quit, long story, lol. I had to give a deposition for her case and my deposition lasted 8 hrs....ugh. Also, the only reason why I was out at work was because I had to tell HR in a previous issue when my ex lover of an LTR became my manager, again long story, lol.

    I only mention their home office is in san fran for irony, but I worked in Ohio where we are not protected from sexual orientation discrimination. I guess the manager making it difficult for me when I went to HR would make it Retaliation, which is illegal however.

    I planned to start a new career and then have extra money for a lawyer, but I guess I might have to find a lawyer that will get paid if the case is successful. I don't think I've ever been unemployed for over a year in my adult life. I've met some gay lawyers on a personal level, ones that actually deal with human rights issues, and they pretty much give me a look like they could care less. Maybe they hear these stories too often.
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    Sep 03, 2009 3:51 PM GMT
    I voluntarily quit my last job in 1998 and have been self-employed since then. It was a good job, and I had it for five years. But I did have an incident where I came back to my office after working with a client for a day, and found someone had taken a Washington Blade (the gay DC rag) and strategically draped it over my trash basket in my office so anyone who walked by or entered my empty office (door open) could see it.

    I immediately called Human Resources and told them of the incident. She asked if I wanted them to investigate it further, and I said no so it wouldn't become a bigger deal, but to hold onto it and keep it on record. When I quit two years later, I asked the new human resources woman if they kept a record of it, and they didn't. So I was actually asked to write down "sexual harassment" as one of my reasons for leaving. The company later broke apart into separate companies and then eventually crumbled.

    I wish I would have had that investigated further.
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    Sep 03, 2009 4:13 PM GMT
    Celticmusl said I might have to find a lawyer that will get paid if the case is successful... I've met some gay lawyers on a personal level, ones that actually deal with human rights issues, and they pretty much give me a look like they could care less.

    It's not that they could care less, but unless you live in a state that includes gay people in their antidiscrimination law you will have a hard time proving your case. Also, there's very little chance that anyone would take an employment-discrimination case on contingency because the lawyer would have to eat major upfront costs (that 8-hour depo should give you a clue) with poor odds of getting his money back.
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    Sep 03, 2009 4:15 PM GMT
    meninlove said MunchingZombie, look what happened to jprichva. We think that your statement infers that those not out at work are lacking in some way.


    You are absolutely right MIL. I only meant to wag my finger at the closet cases at jobs where employers aren't fuckwads.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 03, 2009 4:34 PM GMT
    TexDef07 said
    Celticmusl said I might have to find a lawyer that will get paid if the case is successful... I've met some gay lawyers on a personal level, ones that actually deal with human rights issues, and they pretty much give me a look like they could care less.

    It's not that they could care less, but unless you live in a state that includes gay people in their antidiscrimination law you will have a hard time proving your case. Also, there's very little chance that anyone would take an employment-discrimination case on contingency because the lawyer would have to eat major upfront costs (that 8-hour depo should give you a clue) with poor odds of getting his money back.


    Thanks for the input. Your right that it might be impossible to find a lawyer to work off of contingency, but I assure you there is far more to the story than I can write about here. The only reason my deposition lasted 8 hrs is because of the number of heinous actions of two managers at my previous company and I had stacks and stacks of documentation that I was subpoenaed to produce. Like I mentioned previously my ex from an ltr was my previous manager for years....and I was subjugated to a great deal spanning years. HR(therefore the company) had complete knowledge of the situation and activities and did nothing about it other than promising me over and over again that they would get me away from my ex in "two week to two months". It took a year and a half.

    I did have a very successful lawyer that worked under contingency for me for awhile and she thought I had a very strong case, but like I said, she is now my ex coworkers lawyer who is also suing this company. There is a reason other than financial that she will not represent me and I can't go into it here.
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    Sep 03, 2009 4:46 PM GMT
    Celticmusl said The only reason my deposition lasted 8 hrs is because of the number of heinous actions of two managers at my previous company and I had stacks and stacks of documentation that I was subpoenaed to produce.

    Celtic,
    I hate to tell you this but it's not at all unusual for a depo to drone on for 8 hours. The request for production of documents is a standard feature in any litigation -- and it's an unbelievably time-consuming pain in the butt for your lawyer as well as for you.
    I once did one of these cases for a friend and it was a nightmare, partly because it was a huge time-eater for which I was never paid and partly because as a result of depos and document production I realized that there was ample just cause for termination. Needless to say we're no longer friends.
    But I hope you have better luck with your case.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 03, 2009 5:23 PM GMT
    Thanks Texdef07, although both lawyers were somewhat surprised with how much documentation I had for my coworkers case and how long the deposition took. They both assumed it would take 2-3 hrs until I gave over the documentation a day before the deposition. Mind you, this was not even my case. My ex-lawyer kept on objecting because the company lawyer was fishing for what kind of a case I had against the company. I guess the gay issue really muddles things for lawyers because once they hear that they shut down. There are so many other issues, one of which involves the Patriot Act.

    Other than that, I did not get fired, I left after a horrible situation with the manager, and was too frightened to ever step foot in that building again because no one would do anything to intervene. I was there about ten years, won the annual Chairman's Club award my first year, had consistently great annual reviews and did millions of dollars per year in business development. The year that I left my BD(business development) was 13 mil halfway through the year and the annual goal was just 3 mil. My career was going well until they made my ex lover my manager. To get me away from him they have me work for a hate filled bigot.

    They offered me another job with another manager months later after I did not come back and considering I was involved in three internal investigations(one for my coworker) and the company comes back and says that their managers are doing nothing wrong, obviously it is not a safe environment. I could even see physical confrontations happening and the company would say nothing happened.
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    Sep 03, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
    Integrity is always the best policy. Who wants to work for assholes.

    In the age of The Patriot Act, mentioned above, if you're out, and leading a single life, as opposed to the deceit and multiple lives of a closet case, you aren't considered to be a security problem. You're only a security problem if you're a dirt bag, and not a honest person and someone can hold something over you.

    There's also the issue of social responsibility. While sex should be a non-issue in the work place, folks only get more accepting if they find out all gays / bis / straights aren't flamers, with squishy asses, and lisps.

    In my personal experience, and having been honest since my early 20's I make it a non-issue.

    Here's the thing about working for someone else. If they don't like you they don't like you. No one owes you a job. Unless it's government, they really can't be forced to give you a job. Even then, if someone wants to get rid of you, they WILL. Best to be a honest person and to be respected for that, than being a dirt bag.

    With nearly 7 BILLION folks in the world, if someone doesn't like you, move on.

    I think you'll find that integrity often canceled out all the irrational fears you might have about being a honest person.

    You shouldn't wear sexuality on your sleeve. It should be a non-issue.

    If you lisp, swish, swoon, and prance, you're going to get some push back, just for being weird.

    When someone asks me what it feels like to be fucked up the ass, I respond "neato." They move on, because, after my honesty, they know there's nothing they can do to upset me.

    Become a honest man FIRST, and learn to like yourself, then, the rest will fall into place. You're worrying about stupid stuff. STOP IT. That's crazy.

    9730_176026.jpg

    To answer your question, I've had more hatefulness from religious nuts than fag haters. False belief systems are a plague upon modern civilization.
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    Sep 03, 2009 6:14 PM GMT
    AJC_TB saidHas coming out affected your professional career? Was it a positive or negative effect? If you are out, how are you able to relate to your coworkers and boss on subjects such as relationships, family, friends, vacations, issues, etc? Are you able to be honest or do you have to mind what you say in order to avoid any awkward situations?


    Years ago, I left a family business when I came out and the knowledge of my sexual orientation affected many people I was working with. It did not affect the corporate level mangement because those folks were primarily family and already knew my orientation.

    I must admit, it was the best thing that ever hapepned to me. It caused me to go out on my own and man have I ever prospered. I formed my first company at age 28. Sold that company three years later As part of the sale I ended up on thr board of another company that grew and sold six years later for an eleven figure sum.

    Now don't think that I do not know when it is best to keep orientation as an unknown. As you go down the ranks in most organizations the need to keep orientation out of the picture increases in my experience.

    One thing that has also helped me is to have citizenship in three countries: the U.S., one country in Europe, and one in the Middle East. I find it far easier to conduct business in Europe and Asia as a gay man than I do in the U.S. In the Middle East, forget it, you'd better never ever admit to being a gay man, although you'd be surprised at how many gay men are there and thriving.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 03, 2009 6:20 PM GMT
    The reason I mention the Patriot Act is because I was with a brokerage firm and they were continuing practices that would incite money laundering. I tried to help resolve this issue only to be shut down by the company.

    I am masculine, more masculine than many people I worked with that were organized to harass me....maybe that's what upset them so much. One of guys even got his eyebrows and widows peak plucked and I would be very surprised if he wasn't gay himself. My sexuality was never an issue until I had to go to HR because my ex from an ltr was my manager and he made my job a living hell.

    It was very hard to take the high road constantly in terms of arguments and name calling but I knew if I did anything unprofessional it would look bad in court or to maybe a higher authority in the company that could have done something about the situation.

    The reason why I just didn't move on is that I wanted to retire with this company, I had already been there ten years. I wasnt going to let some bigot chase me away. After all this hit the roof with HR and them not doing anything and lying about everything I obviously thought differently about the kind of company I worked for.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Sep 03, 2009 6:36 PM GMT

    I'm heading to graduate school in a few days and I told myself that I need to be out. I am nervous because this is a very big step for me - especially considering the fact that I've only been out for a year and a half to close friends. I'll be sure to write once I have a career and am out.
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    Sep 03, 2009 7:09 PM GMT
    I've been out at work for many years, in multiple work-places. I came out to my current company during the interview process, when one of the interviewers -- just trying to make conversation -- asked if I was married or had kids. I just casually answered that I have a partner, and went on to talk about how I've never had kids, but have had college-age nephews live with us, etc.

    To those of you advocate leaving your personal life at the front door, I have news for you: You don't have a personal life that is separate from your professional life. You only have a life.

    I quote from our Inclusion & Diversity statement:

    Your experiences, ideas, beliefs, values and innate characteristics make you a complete person, and you will not achieve your full potential if you leave part of yourself behind when you come to work; you won't perform at your best if you are distracted in that way. You can be a true professional and still be yourself.

    I know that it isn't possible to be openly gay in many work environments -- I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying that it's both healthier and more productive if you can be yourself. There is always a price to be paid for hiding -- you may have to do it, but you shouldn't want to do it.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Sep 03, 2009 7:13 PM GMT
    eek....that diversity statement sounds a lot like the HR policy statement at my old company that let a manager harass the hell out of me for being gay. It makes good PR and my old company won numerous GLAAD awards to boot.