Q. Dear Civil Behavior: I’m bisexual (female), and I want to be out at work. I just don’t quite know how to slip it into conversation … But, bisexual visibility can only get better if people like me don’t cop out and say we are gay when that’s not true. Any advice on how to make “out bisexual” a little easier? ~ Erica, East Brunswick, NJ
A. Over the years I’ve frequently heard from my bi friends that it’s harder for them to come out than it is for those of us who are gay or lesbian because of the enduring myths about being bisexual. Stereotypes persist, and many people think that identifying as bi means
- you’re going through a phase
- you’re promiscuous or
- you’re really gay but not telling the truth.
If more bi folks come out of course visibility increases. But is work the right place to do this? … BUT without making a “declaration,” don’t our straight colleagues routinely discuss how they spent the weekend with their opposite-sex partner, which is a nonchalant way of proclaiming their sexual identity …
Context is key here … Two bisexual activists, A.J. Walkley and Lauren Michelle Kinsey who write the column Bi the Bi: Two Bi Writers on Big Bi Issues also recommended casual “water cooler”ways of bringing up your sexual identity through current events.
“I was thrilled to hear that Clive Davis came out as bisexual, being bisexual myself,” or “Did you hear that same-sex couples will soon be able to marry in Delaware? It means a lot to me since I’m bisexual.”
Context isn’t the only thing that matters here – consider your company and its commitment to diversity and inclusion as well. Many corporations now have LGBT employee groups; think about getting involved as an out bi person and use that public role to reduce the invisibility of bisexuals in the workplace.
Click HERE to Read the full column
Every other Tuesday, Steven Petrow, the author of “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life”, addresses questions about gay and straight etiquette in his column Civil Behavior in the New York Times. Send questions for Civil Behavior to stevenpetrow (at) earthlink (dot) net.
The other good thing about coming out at work? You find out so many of your other work colleges are members of the Queer Nation too … and you were ALL nervously hiding in the closet!!!