Remember the letter-writer whose CEO incorrectly assumed he was engaged to a woman, and who wasn’t sure how or whether to correct him? Here’s the update.
Thank you to the AAM community your support and kindness in my last letter. I wanted to provide an update:
The week after sending the letter, I knew that the ship had sailed and I would have to talk to my boss. When I dropped off a project at the end of the day, I casually mentioned to my boss that my fiancé would be coming to the upcoming Christmas party, and I didn’t want him to be caught off guard that he was the same sex as me. My boss had no visible emotional reaction and thanked me for turning in my project, and that he was looking forward to meeting Taylor.
The next day many of my coworkers were busy or out of the office for lunch, so I ate by myself. This is usually not a big deal to me (it takes a lot of planning in my firm to not eat alone – if you don’t reach out you likely will be alone as people typically work through their lunches), however I was very hurt to learn that a group I frequent lunch with went out without inviting me. The next day I would also find out that my department went to a happy hour later that day without me. It is very possible that I was not invited because of a simple oversight, but it was hard for me to not be hurt by it given the timing.
It has become clear to me that I will always wonder if anything negative that happens to me in my office will be related to my sexuality and/or my credibility after being caught lying about my sexuality. I am unsure of how my coworkers feel, but I know that I feel hurt and vulnerable right now. Straight people often think that coming out will be a liberating experience, that I would feel such a relief right away. The experience (at least, for me) was really the opposite – I now feel caged and trapped.
My fiancé and I sat down and talked, and it was clear that I would always feel like a victim in my workplace, even in situations where I am not. Even though I love the work, I will make myself miserable wondering if I didn’t get invited to lunch because of this, didn’t get promoted because of this, didn’t get on a committee because of this, etc (And of course, there are many, many reasons not related to my sexuality that those things could happen!). We decided that we are going to move to a new place. All of our community here knew us when we were “straight” – we have decided that we want to move somewhere new where we will not lie about our sexuality and can have a fresh start. We’ve both begun the process of job hunting in new states.
I hope that other LGBT people won’t look at this and think this is a case study for queer people in the office. I feel like my situation was just an unfortunate series of events – I’m upset about it now, but hopefully soon I can see it as a comedy of errors. For what it’s worth, the outcome was relatively mild – I am still safe and financially stable. And hopefully ultimately good will come from it as I start the processing of moving of starting a new life.
Thank you to everyone who commented on my letter – I read all 1,000+ comments and was grateful for each one. Even people who offered the “wrong” or “insensitive” advice gave me honest perspectives to consider. Thank you everyone for taking the time to offer your thoughts on my situation – I am deeply thankful and apologize that I didn’t have time to respond to each and every one.