Okay, gay teens — there’s a lot of ground to cover here. After all, you’re growing up and getting into a world that’s truly more gay friendly than ever. That’s not to say that we’ve won the war – not at all. The truth is that things are much more complicated than ever before, and it’s important to make sure that you’re thinking carefully about the type of life that you want to lead. Generally speaking, you want a great career, right? Does that mean that your gay identity has to stay locked away? Does that mean that you can’t mention that you’re gay at work?
The truth is that being gay isn’t something that you have to turn on and off. However, would we disclose our sexuality at work? Not at all. Why? It doesn’t have anything to do with business.
The reality is that businesses care about one thing: making money. If it helps them to give you health coverage for same sex domestic partners, then so be it. But they really don’t want to be in your bedroom, unless your bedroom is profitable for them. They want to make sure that you can show up to work, leave work on time (to avoid unnecessary overtime), and other issues of that nature. They want to make sure that you don’t contribute to a hostile working environment. Getting into fights with people that don’t see eye to eye with you on gay issues can be construed as contributing to a hostile work environment.
Remember our last post, where we said that you can’t just closed minds? We meant it. You really can’t change someone’s mind when they’re decided that they’re really not going to do what you need them to. They’re not going to do it, no matter how many times you wring your hands. You’re going to need to just push forward and hope for the best. That would be better than assuming that everyone is out to get you. Most people just aren’t concerned about what you do. They’re too busy trying to make sense of their own lives. It’s best not to turn your workplace into a battlefield. The reality is that you will never really know what your coworkers honestly think. Everyone is keeping on a mask at work.
If you’re thinking about going for promotions, this is even more of a reason not to say much of anything. You want them to really believe that you’re a team player that wouldn’t do anything to divide the team. Whenever you bring drama into the workplace, you’re proving that you’re not focused on providing the company value. You’re focused on being right. Sometimes, you’re just going to realize that you won’t be right in the eyes of other people. And that’s okay. They’re not going to be right all the time in your eyes. If you’re going for a promotion in order to rise higher in the company, you need to think about whether or not this is something that you can live with. If you feel that it’s a freedom issue, chances are good that you don’t want to work there at all.
Today’s workplace wants to be as neutral as possible — so discussions about personal choices really aren’t as welcome as you think they are. Just as they don’t want to hear about your gay boyfriend, they don’t want to hear about the secretary’s straight boyfriend either. Get the idea?
As long as they aren’t making insults towards you, it’s better to leave this subject out of the workplace. The only warning we would give is that if someone is giving you a hard time, don’t hesitate to go to HR. While they might not specifically roll out the red carpet for you as a gay person, you certainly don’t want to deal with being discriminated against. That’s just not cool at all, no matter who you are. Good luck and hang in there!