By Catherine Rock
I am out at work, but not a lot of people know it. People know that I am married to a man, so many probably assume I am straight despite the LGBT décor in my office. I teach at a college and have come out to several groups, classes and people when appropriate, but it’s not something that often comes up in conversation. Although I identify as pansexual, I am out as bi, since that is what most people understand. Several years ago I was helping with Safe Space training and finally realized that by not coming out, I was being a hypocrite. I had to help show that the college was a safe place for LGBT people. I started by coming out to the allies-in-training, and I’ve never had any trouble. Before coming out, it is important to look at the culture of the particular workplace. Are the policies LGBT-friendly? Are there many people who are out? How are they treated? You might consider talking to an out employee if you feel that you can trust that person. There is always some risk in coming out, so consider carefully before you commit yourself.
Catherine Rock is a professor of English and Assistant Editor of the Bi Women Quarterly.