March 11, 2012


Does it matter if people know that I’m gay?

It shouldn’t, right? I mean, I’m just a person who happens to be attracted to women. That fact doesn’t usually influence the lives of the people I interact with on a daily basis. Besides, the majority of people—straight people, that is—never have to declare their sexuality. It’s just irrelevant in most situations. My sexuality is really no one’s business but my own, right?

I’ll be starting a new job soon. That means a new boss and new coworkers that I potentially have to come out to. I’ve been wondering how important it is that they know I’m gay. Sure, it would be nice to avoid a lot of awkward conversations or questions about whether or not I have a boyfriend if they just knew up front that I date women. But then again, why should I be obligated to share this really personal aspect of my life as soon as I meet anyone new? Who I date has no bearing on my professional life, so unless I get to be good friends with my new coworkers I’m not sure if there’s a reason for them to know.

But it does matter if they know. Because them not knowing really just means that I’m allowing them to assume that I’m straight. Which isn’t true. My silence would be almost the same thing as denying my sexuality—denying a big part of who I am.

And I am not ashamed of who I am. So, no, I won’t let them just assume that I’m straight.

But back to the question: does it matter if people know that I’m gay? What difference does it make for people to see me and know that I’m gay? This is the difference: Every coworker, classmate, friend, or family member who knows that I am gay is one more person who will have to think twice about voting to take away the rights of their coworker, classmate, friend, or family member. I may be a part of a minority, but we are by no means a minority living in a bubble. You see that majority that gets to vote on the rights of a minority? Don’t let them live in a bubble.

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