Every day can be a coming out experience for most LGBTI people. Day to day life is a minefield of on the spot education sessions with every interaction leading to more questions. The choice to come out can be a tricky one based on a mental assessment of the person who you are talking to and how it could impact future opportunities in the work place or service at a cafe.
Thankfully these days it’s easier (comparatively) to come out as a Gay or Lesbian person and the idea of homosexuality is more familiar due to media exposure. Unfortunately for our Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex family the experience of coming out can lead to more questions and more anxiety.
Is your boss, the team culture or even your own personal state ready to deal with the disclosure of your personal life and what the the possible outcome may be? What about if you are a job seeker?
Is the company ready?
The Human Resources department of any company is a great place to start. You can contact them and seek confidentiality for any enquiry that you may have. If you are worried about exposure you can also contact a of supporting organisation in your area to contact your HR department on your behalf to request a copy of the policy that relates to your situation.
Companies who publicly show support for those who are Sexually or Gender Diverse are usually safe spaces, however it’s important to get a second opinion if you are concerned that coming out may impact your employment situation.
Unfortunately there are still loopholes for certain employers to deny services and employment to those who fall into the above category so it’s always best to get a second opinion.
How will this change my current role?
Once you have the go-ahead you may want to consider the impact if you are currently employed. One thing to think about is if this will impact your colleagues – but only to a point.
A good idea is to arrange a meeting with HR and your manager (if trusted) to ensure you have a plan before announcing / coming out if you think this is required.
You always deserve the same respect as every other employee and shouldn’t let cultural, religious or difference in opinion impact your day to day performance. If you think that this might be the case, then it’s probably best to be prepared for any questions they may have.
It is also completely acceptable to tell people you don’t wish to discuss certain aspects of your personal life.
This experience should be about you and not your colleagues.
Your company says it’s okay but your team may say otherwise
It’s important that your manager is across all facets of the companies inclusion policies and helps to drive this. Statistically in Australia it’s been proven that those who are able to bring their complete selves to work are more productive and included in the companies progression. As a leader they are expected by Australian Law to be supportive in your professional and personal growth.
Don’t Avoid TMI – to an extent
Put photos you want up of your family or relationship. Share your activities with your co-workers and your friends at work. Additionally don’t share your tips on being a better bottom or your sexual exploits – but feel free to chime in when your co-workers do. Normalise your experience, but probably leave the club talk to the club. That being said – relate to people on your level, but adhere to the same policies as your co-workers. Use your discretion when needed.
BONUS ROUND! The Interview Process
Talk the Talk in your resume
If you have any achievements in the LGBTI space be sure to list them. You will be putting your life experience and expertise out for the employer to see that you may be a good candidate at changing the culture of the work place.
Be sure to list professional and community achievements. These may be applicable qualities for the role you are applying for.
Ask the questions during an interview
Employers these days in Australia will be impressed with your interest in not only the role itself but also in the company’s culture. Ask around policies regarding LGBTI social or networking groups. It’s okay if they can’t tell you on the spot, but request that they find out through their HR department.
Be Honest with Yourself
Will this company be the right fit for you to be out at work? Only through questioning and the interview process can you ask the right questions for you to be able to gauge this.
If you can’t come out during the interview process, do you think you can come out when you are in the role you have applied for?
Coming out to your colleagues can be stressful and at times impossible for some. It’s important to be true to yourself when you are looking for a new job, but it’s also important to be safe in your authentic self with your current employment. If you don’t feel comfortable then maybe you should search [LGBTI jobs] for your next role!
We have missed a lot of good tips here and welcome your input down below! What has been your experience bad or good? we would love to hear them.