I am out at work. When I talk about my identity, I phrase it: “I date all genders; gender is not a deciding factor for me.” I try not to use a specific term such as “bisexual” because using the term causes people to bring their own preconceived and mostly negative notions of what “bisexual” means into the conversation.
I came out for the first time at work while working for a short time at a nonprofit that promotes social change in the US and internationally. Because of the organization’s mission, the company culture was more open-minded about people in general compared to many other organizations. In this environment, I felt comfortable and safe to come out for the first time at work. I also had job opportunities available at other organizations at the time. Therefore, I felt safe that if I came out and was fired for being bi, I would be able to find another job. Additionally, the organization was quite bureaucratic, so I knew that if they tried to fire me, it would probably take a few months, which would give me time to transition to another job with another organization if necessary. When I came out, everyone’s response was, “Sigh, no big deal. What are we having for lunch?” I was surprised by how blasé everyone’s responses were. I’ve since moved on to a for-profit, fairly conservative organization, but have been comfortable coming out because of the positive experience I had at the social change organization.
I think it’s easiest to come out if you work at a company where your job performance is measured by specific, objective metrics vs. subjective criteria. If you are performing exceptionally well (exceeding your metrics), then it is safer to come out and not worry about being fired. (Yes, I know it’s illegal in many states, including my own, but of course it does happen.)
Sue lives in Massachuestts.