Thursday, April 4, 2013

No Hetero in the Workplace

Being a non hetero at work is yet another tricky situation.

Maybe you're not open to anyone, only out to close friends and family, or even out to most people but have no homosexual mannerisms. Basically if you fall into any category besides visibly-, or noticeably-homosexual, then you've been in this situation.

Since your co-workers expect "clues" if you're anything except a regular hetero bro, it's kind of on you to say something when the subject arises. "I had NO idea, you just didn't seem gay at all hehe LOL!!111one"

Coworker 1: Whatever man, as long as there are attractive females there.
You: *laughs* *silence* 
Coworker 2: Did you see that girl?! Damn
You: Nope, I didn't notice her.
Coworker 3: Dude, that girl was into you.
You: Ha yeah, wasn't feeling her.
Coworker 3: You're picky man.
You: If you're not interested, you're not interested

The problem is that the longer you wait and the more of those moments that you let pass, the harder it becomes to broach the subject. You get into this holding pattern of rationalizing why you didn't make it clear at this moment, or that one. "Well, I didn't actually lie or say I liked chicks. I just didn't respond, or agreed that she was pretty. She was pretty. Am I not allowed to say girls are good looking even if I'm not attracted to them?"

But if you just started a job, then people you work with are basically strangers and it feels weird to tell them something that seems so personal. Plus, their expectation of you as hetero makes it more difficult. Personally, some people are intimidated by me for whatever reason, so they start to puff up a bit and talk about chicks when they meet me—presumably so I'll think they're sweet. This does not make me think they are sweet. Having other people interested in you sexually is cool; talking about it is not.

Now you're thinking: "Wait! You talk about how attractive you are and are in general kind of cocky in your posts." Well played, bro, but this isn't real life. I have this neat little filter between my thoughts and my words that serves as a sort of vaccine for verbal diarrhea. Put simply, I don't say all the asshole things that I think. And in all fairness, I hold myself to a very high standard and expect very little out of others.

There are, of course, many other more obvious reasons why people aren't open with their coworkers. Depending on whom you work with, it could negatively affect your relationship with your boss, or your chances at a promotion. There are also cases in which being non-hetero could actually help your career; if you want to use that network, it could be a powerful one. If you play your cards correctly, you could leverage your non-heteroness to get ahead, but this somehow feels dirty. Giving a little extra push to under-represented groups is good, but I would imagine it would feel a little weird to get into college or graduate school because you wrote a great essay on being a homo.

For me, the closer I get to a coworker, or anyone, the more I feel that I "owe" it to them to tell them. I realize that I don't owe them anything, but I feel this way regardless. At the same time, the closer you become to someone—the more you share with them—the harder it is to tell them something that you know will surprise them so much.

I would say 90% of the reason I don't tell people is because I don't want the hassle of spending the time to debunk all of their ridiculous preconceived notions about non heteros. Even intelligent and otherwise knowledgeable heteros are often ignorant as fuck when it comes to non-hetero issues. I already call heteros out on being dicks and/or wrong about homos, but I'm not ready to take up the full-time (and unpaid) job of Ambassador to the Republic of Uninformed Heteros. Not yet at least.


  1. Depends how open minded your coworkers are.
    I had this co worker before that was a total hag. She was educating me. LOL

  2. There's a definite risk of being "the [token] gay" once you come out, especially in a largely hetero workforce (my current job actually has a decent percentage of non-hetero people working at it). I had that happen at my last job, where I worked for 13 years in a largely hyper-masculine IT department. I'm still "friends" with some of the guys from there, but I could definitely tell who was comfortable and who wasn't. I don't lie, though I may avoid, so if someone flat-out asks, I'll answer truthfully.

  3. Man this really speaks out to me...I just started my job for about a month now and my team is full of dudes, and I'm getting kind of annoyed because it's beginning to feel like locker room talk cos the guys are always making gay and "faggot" jokes and they have asked me to rate so many women in like restaurants and on the streets and shit and I'm at the point where I want to just tell then straight up I'm not into pussy

  4. I am lucky to be in a situation where I work with people that I have known since my early teens, so they all know about my sexuality and fully accept and support me. It gives me freedom to be me and the knowledge that I am accepted and makes me feel more secure in my workplace and provides a certain confidence to perform at my best. I understand that not everyone is able to live an 'open'-life, and I find it sad that people have to hide who they are attracted to because of others' issues.

  5. I definitely think the line of work makes it more difficult. I worked road construction for two summers during college, and even though I wasn't telling anyone then I was a NH, I couldn't imagine telling my hypermasculine supervisor or coworkers that made snide comments about ANY female (seriously, they could have been trolls or supermodels) that walked by that I was into dudes. In fact, I probably would have feared for my safety if I did. Granted, that was 6 years ago and I think the U.S. has made significant advances in understanding NHs, but it would have been extremely tough and awkward.

    Fast forward recently to where I worked for a company that happened to have many employees with advanced degrees, and now I work for a government agency, and I have had no problem eventually telling my coworkers who I am, only insofar as the relationship built up to that. Nobody assumed anything of me. And nobody even winced at me when I told them. Most of them are curious and ask me questions because I don't come across as the stereotype. Although I, too, also grow tired of having to be the teacher to everyone who doesn't fully understand NHs. Time helps though.

    Have you said anything about being a NH to any of your coworkers?

  6. I have to agree that its absolutely unnecessary to announce to the workplace if it will just lead to unwanted tension. I would rather they know if and when they ask, or through close association. But its nothing like actively trying to hide who I am.

    Which reminds me of the time when I told I was non-hetero to this security personnel in my area who I happen to hang out with a lot. She asked me why I didn't have a girl friend yet, told her I was into guys, and the questioning ensued. I was just glad she wasn't a bigot.