OUT for Work PROFILES
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My coming OUT at work story
I started my coming out process at the age of 27. With the exception of who eventually became my best friend, I knew no other LGBT people. Although I work for a company well known for its diversity and inclusive practices, it is truly a different thing when you're the one coming out. Fortunately, my journey was made a lot easier because of my resolve to be genuine and honest about myself and the support of my partner (who then initiated his own coming out journey, but that's another story...). I started by having a brief conversation with my boss and co-workers. The rest was really about being myself and ensuring that above anything else my performance and attitude in the workplace was above reproach. It's been over 12 years since, and I now contribute to and/or lead many of our company-wide diversity efforts. The support of my supervisors and colleagues has been critical to my successful coming out. My respect for who others are and what they believe in, has helped me appreciate that we all come out in different ways - Gay/Straight, Christians/Non-Christians, Republicans/Democrats, etc.
Advice to students
- Be honest, be genuine, act with integrity
- Be yourself, but learn to adapt to your environment as necessary
- Read everything you can about the history of the LGBT struggles. There are tons of lessons to be learned and you don't have to make the same mistakes again yourself to learn them
- Surround yourself with true friends and mentors and be grateful for their positive contributions to your life
- Reach out to straight allies and make them part of yor world
- Help others along the way. Pay it forward. Do unto others...call it what you will, but always make sure you do good within your community and society in general
- Never settle for less than you deserve and do not ever think mediocrity is ok
- Respect and understanding before judgment or criticism
- Reach for the stars, but remain grounded!