With all the massive wins for the LGBTQ community, you would think that coming out at work nowadays couldn’t be easier.
Unfortunately, coming out of the closet in the workplace still has its challenges, even in today’s progressive society.
Christine, a psychotherapist, and a trans woman said, “The government can legislate policy, but they can’t legislate how someone feels.”
And I must say, truer words have never been spoken.
So it may be illegal to be fired for your gender identity, sexuality, etc, but you could face discrimination and judgment from coworkers and employers.
This is why before coming out, you must carefully consider a couple of factors. Let’s talk about them and how to come out at work with a script.
Should You Come Out?
Before coming out at work it is important to take a couple of factors into consideration, as these factors would help you know what to expect.
1. What Is Your Workplace Environment Like?
Do your coworkers or employers make inappropriate jokes about the LGBTQ or other underrepresented communities? Are out LGBTQ employees treated properly in your workplace?
Coming out in certain workplace environments may make you the brunt of homophobia and transphobia.
If there are no openly gay employees in your workplace, take note of how people who are considered “different” are treated.
Before coming out it’s best to get in touch with your detective side and do some digging.
Look at company records, policies, and code of conduct, ask questions, etc.
Find out all you can about your company’s LGBTQ past and present.
Is there an LGBTQ employee resource group at your workplace?
You can also check how your company scores on the HRC Corporate Equality Index.
2. What Would Happen If You Don’t Come Out?
Just like coming out has consequences so does deciding to not come out.
If for any reason you decide not to come out, it might be a little difficult to focus fully on work and be productive, as you may be distracted as you are constantly trying to hide who you truly are.
Occasionally you may have to lie or do things you’re uncomfortable with just because no one is aware of your identity.
It can be a little difficult to brand yourself as a different person at work and another outside.
You must know that there is no right or wrong answer to the question, “should you come out?”
You get to decide which option is best and most favorable for you.
And no matter what you pick, there will always be people who will support you through the course of that decision.
How To Come Out At Work
If you decide to come out at work after considering all the necessary factors, I believe you have made a fantastic decision.
So moving forward, how can you come out at work? Is there a proper or standard way to do so? Let’s talk about it.
1. Be Subtle
There’s no accepted way to come out, and it’d be so awkward to just yell “I’m gay!” in the middle of a conversation about the economy. So being subtle and sleek with it is not a bad way to come out.
You can slip it casually into conversations in such a way that it’d be too hard to miss. Just make sure you are doing it in a conversation that allows for such.
2. Tell a Few
Although coming out entails telling people about your LGBTQ status, not everyone deserves to know.
Especially in a work environment where there’s hostility towards the LGBTQ community.
All you have to do is pick a few people that you can trust and tell them.
You should tell them to keep it a secret. It can be a little tricky finding people to confide in.
One way to tell if they’re trustworthy is to pay attention to how they speak about the LGBTQ community.
You can start a conversation with them that’ll allow them to state their views on such matters.
You can also come out to people who are already out in your workplace.
3. Tell Your Superior
If your employer, HR Manager, or any other manager is an ally, it’d be a fantastic idea to come out to them.
Not only are they not going to discriminate against you, but they also hold enough power to protect you.
They can get other employees to respect you and fight for you if there’s ever any need.
Also, in terms of records and official documents that may need changing if you’re transitioning and or undergoing a gender change.
They would be of tremendous help.
4. Let Others Do It For You
There’s no better way to take the pressure off your shoulders than by getting others to spread the word.
You can tell people in your workplace that you know will definitely tell others.
That way you only get to answer yes if anyone decides to ask you for confirmation.
5. Wait For The Right Time
Opportunities may arise where you can actually come out to your colleagues without having to overthink it.
You all could be having a conversation about something that allows you to share your sexuality or personal life with them.
Coming Out Script
If you’re still nervous about coming out at work, here’s a coming out script our NetWerk Team put together to help ease your anxiety.
You can use this script whether you’re coming out as non-binary at work, gay, lesbian, or transgender.
First of all, thanks for meeting with me. This is a bit uncomfortable for me to share, but I feel that it’s important for me to bring it up to you. There is something I’ve been keeping to myself for a while now, and I’m ready to talk about. I am [insert sexual orientation]. Meaning, I identify as [insert gender identity], which means that I [insert any details you feel your employer should know, IF ANY). I know our company values authenticity. And sharing this allows me to come to work as my authentic self. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
Coming Out At Work
Deciding to come out at work is a serious decision, which is why this article first discusses if you should come out. If you decide to come out at work, know that there’s no special or correct way to do so.
You can be sleek about it, get others to do it for you, or tell only a few.
When you pick whichever way works for you, please don’t hesitate to share your story with us.
The NetWerk community is always enthusiastic to learn more about your experience.