Thursday, 15 November 2012

Coming Out at Work - You Better Get This Party Started

I have worked at my new place for 5 months now - wow, didn't that time fly?

I love it there, its hard work, but the team are great, I'm good at my job, and the company is really good to its employees. I must say though, there is one obstacle I didn't expect to have to overcome at my new role - I've been trying to 'come out' at work for months.

As I've always worked with Sarah, it was very easy to come out - people would see us together and assume, or be told by someone else because inter-office romances are hot gossip, gay or straight. But in an office with no Sarah in sight *sob*, it is just not that easy to get it through to people that I have a girlfriend.

(A day in our lives when we worked together - simpler times!)

It's not for lack of trying - I refer to my 'girlfriend' all the time. Probably partially because I'm American, people assume that I refer to my good female friends that way. No matter what scenario I put my 'girl friend' and I in.
'I'm taking my girlfriend to New York City for her 29th birthday' 'Oh wow, you're a really great friend'
'My girlfriend and I have worked at 4 different jobs together, we always try to get jobs at the same place' 'How funny, you follow each other around!'
'My girlfriend and I are going to Thailand on holiday' 'You must be really close to spend that much time together!'
We are.... really close.

I have found I have to focus on one person at a time in my office, to tell them that my girlfriend is not of the friend variety, then move on to the next - without standing on the desk and yelling 'I'M A BIG GAY' or wearing a hat that says 'Ask me about my lesbian relationship'. I even tried (unsuccessfully) to start a rumor about myself. However, I'd only successfully managed to come out to two people during my employment.... until today.

Then these came into my life.

These beautiful red long stemmed roses were delivered, from Sarah, to my work this afternoon. It was a wonderful surprise - I'm truly the luckiest girl in the world!! When I came back into my office sheepishly carrying the roses with an inane grin on my face, everyone looked up.

'Oh, Laura, who are those from?' 'What are those for?' 'Oh my god they are so beautiful!!'

HR offices love flowers.

So then I did it. I took my moment in the sun. 'They are from my girlfriend!' Surely they couldn't think my platonic girl friend would surprise me with a dozen roses? This would be a really weird friendship.

Thank god, one of my colleagues said loudly 'SO ROMANTIC!' - half sarcastically, but I'll take it!

Another colleague said 'I think you're the envy of everyone in the room right now!'

And with that, I was out.

*Small victory dance*
Or, awkward jazz hands in the Blue Mountains. Your choice.
I know, it was a lot of lead up for not a very dramatic story, but it feels so good haha!

Even better, one of my favourite colleagues wasn't there - so when I went to leave with my flowers, she again asked who they were from. I got to actually tell her about Sarah, and our relationship - in the middle of the office, so everyone heard how amazing she is, and that we've been together almost 4 years.
I gots ma'self a girlfriend
Especially as we are both quite femme, coming out every day is just part of being together, and not at all something I have a problem with - for the time being, until the public is more educated not to assume people who look like them are always straight, we will keep opening their eyes. But it is a relief to not struggle to come out to the people I spend 8-10 hours per day with - lets hope I don't have to change jobs again for awhile!

How did you come out at work/school? Was it as painful as I made it, or was it simple, and how did your peers react?


  1. I think I came out at my current job in my interview - I was talking about my marketing experience in the LGBT society at uni... However, considering that my mentor is/was a pretty nosy gay man, I think I would have been outed to the rest of the office whether I'd have wanted it or not!

    If only it was that easy to come out to family! I managed to finish my 'coming out' story on our blog but it still makes me feel a little uncomfortable rereading it...

    Carley x

  2. I had worked at a doctors office for 4 years before I moved to Tennessee, but at that time Meag n I had only been dating 2 months...I decided to tell them bc 1. I could do it in text/Facebook 2. I didn't have to be there when I got there response. The day I told them all, half said they already had a hunch bc I how meaghn and I talked on Facebook and the others were shocked but couldn't be happier. When I moved back to Michigan I got a job at the same doctors office so everyone already knew, besides the new girls but they had heard from others and they haven't said a word. I am very thankful I had an easy "coming out" at to work on the rest of my family!


  3. I LOVED the video! It actually made me tear up a bit. My wife and I met at work 7 years ago and still work together today. We never really had to "come out" because our friends and co-workers just picked up on it. I too have never worked without her being just down the hall so I can't imagine what that would be like.

    Super cute post - congrats on finally being able to do the "coming out dance"!

  4. Oh Laura, I am so glad you shared this. I just assumed you were totally out at work, this makes me feel better - I'm not the only one who struggles with this! I hoping to come out to everyone soon, it kills me not to be able to talk about Katrina at work. If you care about the people you work with - you want them to know you, and part of knowing you is knowing who you love.

    I wish everyone would stop using "girlfriend" to describe friends who are girls. Maybe that'd help a bit.

    My situation is a little different, as there is a little more homophobia around here. But my office is moving and there is an ordinance in the new town where we're locating that says it's illegal to fire gay people because their gay! So that's making me feel a little more at ease about coming out. What's the worse that can happen? Not getting fired anymore!

    :-) Thanks for sharing.

  5. I am happy for you that you were able to come out, I am sure it makes you feel like you can be more yourself. That's all any of us want in this world, to be ourselves and be loved no matter what :)

  6. I was starting to come out to people towards the end of my relationship with my ex-girlfriend and it was horrible when she left me because I had such a huge lesbian identity and suddenly I didn't know how to come out to people anymore. It was just so easy to tell new people when they asked me if I had a boyfriend that I actually had a girlfriend instead. I sort of went right back into the closet after the break-up, and these days I can't even say what my sexual orientation is. I've been more into men lately but I wonder if it's only because I'm so desperate for a baby and because there are no feminine women around. Anyway, at my current work place, it's somehow been easy to come out as something other than heterosexual to at least some people. I'm really good friends with my work mate Tia and it was natural to tell her almost straight after getting to know her as she mentioned her best friend is a lesbian. Because Tia has known all along, it's been easy to use her in outing me :D. It's usually been at parties that I've come out to more people and I've often made Tia tell them in the style of "Should we tell her?", "YES, Emilia has had a girlfriend." Everyone's been okay with it and it always turns out everyone has a lesbian cousin or something similar anyway :D.

    It's funny, though, how some people just haven't got a clue about me. Tia's best friend is working at our school now, too, and she's quite masculine, and as her wife just had a baby, everyone at work knows she's gay. Well, before Tia's best friend was working with us, Tia had told my class that her best friend is a lesbian and for some reason they'd thought it was me, for 1½ years. Then this week Tia told them Pilvi's wife had a baby and they'd all screamed out "SO IT'S NOT EMILIA!!!!!", it total surprise, heh. Tia was telling another colleague of ours this story in the school cafeteria and when she got to the point where my class thought it was me, this colleague of ours was all "WHAT?!? Don't they have ANY kind of gaydar?!?". HEH. Doesn't she?!? People should realise that not everyone who looks straight is straight. I didn't come out to her. I feel somehow silly coming out to people about my past because I have no clue as to what my future holds or what I want, but at the same time it's extremely important to me that people know who I truly am.

    Wow, that was long! This seemed like the perfect opportunity to talk about this with someone who understands, though! I don't really have any real-life lesbian friends, so sometimes I feel like I need to hold my thoughts inside too much :).

  7. Love it! Congratulations Lauraloo! Love You! Mum xxxx


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