I work for a very conservative company that
routinely fires gays and lesbians who come out at work. My boyfriend,
who works for our local AIDS project, says I'm homophobic and living
a lie and should come out at work even if it means losing my job. I
don't know what to do. It's not like I make up girlfriends or anything
like that, and I go out to gay events and parties. Besides, I love my
job. I don't like the secrecy but other companies in the same business
are not any better. What should I do?
I hope I can help, but I'm not going to
tell you what to do, and neither should anyone else, including your boyfriend. I
wish it was easy for everyone who is different to be open about their
differences, but that's not the way the world works. There are occupations where
job security and coming out of the closet are incompatible, and it sounds like
that's your situation.
It concerns me that you don't say what
you want. You are the only person who can know for sure if the benefits you get
from the work you love are worth the price of being closeted at work. I suggest
you consider the benefits and costs of staying closeted, and the benefits and
costs of being open--there's good news and bad news about both options. Also,
you may decide not to be open at work for now and review your decision in the
future--the choice is always there.
Does your profession have an association
for gay and lesbian members? You might want to look for people in similar
circumstances to ask them how they handle this question. The Queer Resource
Directory is a good place to look for lists of organizations, and you can reach
it through our link.
Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein,
Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks
and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional
audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT
HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.