How to Come Out to Your Co-workers

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If you're tired of feeling left out of the "what I did last weekend" conversations around the office because you're a lesbian or a gay man, maybe it's time to come out to your co-workers. The decision is personal, but it may make your workday world a more pleasant place to be.

  • Take stock of your situation. If you're concerned about a person or group who might find out about your sexuality from a co-worker, maybe you should start by coming out somewhere other than at work.

  • Consider how this action will affect your immediate future at work. Not every coming out has a happy ending. On the other hand, a few days of discomfort may be better than years of lying.

  • Try doing it naturally. Bring in a picture or two of you on a date or on vacation or of your partner if you're in a long-term relationship.

  • Start giving a few more details of your activities. "I saw that movie with my friend Harry last Friday. We loved it."

  • Participate actively in lunchroom discussions of home life, foibles of mates and other personal (but not intimate) topics.

  • Answer the question "Oh, are you gay?" with a simple "Yes."

  • Take one or two good work friends aside and tell them you're gay, if you're not comfortable coming out "naturally." They'll let others know.

  • Be considerate. Share only appropriate information.

  • Change the subject if people appear uncomfortable or if the conversation seems to die. "Speaking of movies, did you see ... ?"

  • Be prepared to listen. Many times co-workers want to tell you about friends or family members who are gay.

Tips & Warnings

  • Read "Respond to Homophobic Comments," under Related eHows. If some people at work know you're gay and others haven't gotten the word yet, any off-color joke or anti-gay comment will make your friends in the know look to you for the first response.
  • Not everyone needs to know you're gay. Remember, it's only one part of who you are.

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