Coming out in inverted commas because I'm unsure as to how I feel about the term. No one should feel obligated to declare their sexuality - it is a very personal thing. However, we live in a world where people are assumed heterosexual until they assert otherwise, and as such coming out is often a practical thing you have to do. How can we expect to obtain our rights, without first asserting that we exist?

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Coming Out to...the Colleagues, Part 1

Setting the Scene

The environment I work in is often assumed to be homophobic

No matter how apprehensive I may have been about coming out to friends and family, I still maintained a semblance of control over their reactions. The same wasn't quite true for the world of work. Protected as I may be under UK law, I am not immune to any potentially negative reactions from colleagues. Furthermore, any organisational bias within my company is still beyond my ability to influence. 

However, my biggest fear has always been that my sexuality, or my revelation of such, would limit the scope of my career. My work often takes me out of the fairly safe realms of the UK. I've already found myself working in remote regions of Africa. I hope that over time I'll find myself working on cutting-edge projects in even more inaccessible, challenging locations. But the truth is, sexuality and the acceptance of sexual minorities will often be unexplored concepts in these places. Being openly bisexual alone may be out of the question, nevermind going expat with a boyfriend. Or girlfriend even, as some places require you and your partner to be legally married to get a visa.

Will my company just refuse to send me places because of safety concerns arising from my sexuality? What opportunities will I be excising from my career simply by being out? But then again, no career is worth a life of cowering in the closet. Not to mention the importance of visibility. I'm doing this not just for me but for those who will come after me. And those now who have to live their lives in less than favourable circumstances. 

There won't be 'My Thoughts' or 'Their Thoughts' sections to the rest of these posts given the wide range of people I'll talk about. But hopefully the examples of my colleagues' reactions give you a good indication of my situation at work.


  1. I did post a quite long comment but it appeared to be deleted. Do you want me to try again?

    1. Hi there - this is the only comment I've gotten a notification about. I'm sorry but I don't know what happened. Please do try again if you get a chance, perhaps break it up into a few?