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Old 03-03-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
lecach
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Found out coworker is gay-can I let her know that I know without offence?

Just found out a coworker (A) is gay. I really like A and would like to acknowledge that I am aware that she is gay without offending her. I am straight but I have absolutely no problem with her being gay. I was just wondering if its okay to say something and if so, what can I say? Since she hasnt officially come out to me would it be wrong to mention? Another coworker confirmed it when I asked. A is really laid back and I think it would be hard to offend her. But I dont want to take any chances. If you werent completely out and someone who was cool with it - a CSP maybe - mentioned it, would that bother you? I guess it really isnt any of my business. I just thought she might want a friend at work who knew and was cool with it.

PS I was really afraid to ask this question because I dont want to offend anyone - I hope I didnt offend.
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Old 03-03-2006, 03:07 PM   #2
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Your post isn't at all offensive (to me, anyway). It's hard to advise you because the "right" thing to do depends entirely on whether she in particular would want you to know, especially if she understood that you were a CSP. The fact that another co-worker knows suggests that she is at least theoretically okay with having at least some people at work know, and her laid-back demeanor is also a sign that she would not be extremely upset if you said something to her even if she would have preferred you hadn't. So I think the risks of speaking with her are minimal. At the same time, the ball is really in her court, though I very much applaud your wanting to put her at ease by letting her know you already know and are a "friend." In your shoes I'd probably make it feel exceedingly safe for her to come out to you, for example by referring to gay friends of yours in a positive way or maybe even by making a social plan with her and asking if she wants to bring a significant other (and finding a way to say "she or he", or "it's a 'she,' right?").
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Old 03-03-2006, 06:21 PM   #3
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I dont think its bad you want to acknowledge the fact that she is gay. It would probably make her feel closer to you and more comfortable. I had coworkers who I knew "KNEW" I was gay but never would say anything. I thought it was funny. I never had a problem, they treated me just the same. Eventually it all came out and we would talk about our lives like it was no big deal. I actually liked it better when everyone knew, it was definitely more comfortable being open with people.
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Old 03-03-2006, 06:26 PM   #4
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As was said, it is never clear what to do as one never knows how others will respond. My suggestion is just be yourself and do not worry seriously about it. If you have other gay friends, one nice easy way to do this is to have a small social gathering and send an eMail invitation listing couples like:

Mike & Bob,
Tom & Beth
Sally & Sue,
Tony and Friend
Barbie and Friend

That makes it more clear that there will be other gay couples there and should make it somewhat less of an issue.

Finally, it is possible that the other co-worker knows through some other channel as well and was not told. If that is the case, my suggestion is just let her come out in her own way.

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Old 03-03-2006, 07:00 PM   #5
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Actually the coworker that confirmed it with me was told by A. So she has told some people. One way I may be able to break the ice is by mentioning our gay plumber (a woman - who besides being an excellent plumber - is pretty darn hot).

Thanks everyone for your advice!
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Old 03-04-2006, 07:46 AM   #6
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I am very involved in AIDS charities as well as GLBT rights. After the Dallas HRC dinner last year I brought the program to my boss to show her an ad for some furniture. (We are all straight.) She had the program on her desk and one of her co-workers who is a lesbian was really shocked to see it there! My boss is a CSP and it sort of opened up a conversation between my boss and her co-worker. The co-worker's partner is on the committee for the dinner, and my boss told her co-worker that I (her nanny) go to the dinner every year because the agency I volunteer with is a beneficiary. I am also on the AIDS walk committee so I often talk with people about forming a team or participating in the walk some other way.

Maybe there is some way to mention an event or activity that you are involved in that would let your co-worker know that you are an ally, then let her decide if she wants to discuss it.
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Old 03-04-2006, 08:03 AM   #7
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There is an annual fundraiser in the town I live in every year - its called Drag Queen Bingo. I've always wanted to go. And since our office is moving to this town it might be a good opportunity to mention it. I could ask around the office to see if anyone wants to go. There are unfortunately certain people I cant mention it to (one girl is apparently really prejudiced AND naive - she keeps trying to set up one of the guys that is CLEARLY gay with her sister - and she also talks about how she doesnt trust gay people ).

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I have some good ideas on how to show that I am a CSP.
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Old 03-04-2006, 10:59 AM   #8
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Gay Bingo is the BEST!! If it is anything like the one we have here you will have a BLAST!

Ours is to benefit the AIDS Resource Center. They have it the 3rd Saturday of every month and it is a HOOT. They have a theme each month and some people dress in costume. Ours is held at an old movie theater where there is a stage in front of the movie screen. You buy your game cards for like $15, then they have "special" games that require an additional buy in. The master of ceremonies is a drag queen and so are the folks who go around to verify the winning cards. So hilarious! They even have a little speech at the beginning where they have all the straight people stand up and be recognized. You can order pizza, they have beer and soda for sale, it is an absolutely fantastic way to spend an evening. I have been lots of times and I have never won a dime but it is a lot of fun. It sells out a lot of months, too, so people end up being turned away at the door!

Definitely see if you can get a group of friends & co-workers to go with you!
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Old 03-04-2006, 05:05 PM   #9
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I just looked it up - the next drag queen bingo is March 25. Here is the website if anyone is curious: http://www.dragbingo.com/

Its hosted by Mary K Mart - a local legend. Apparently its held monthly and they raised $9000 for AIDS in February. I hope I get to go - it really sounds like a lot of fun!
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:32 PM   #10
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I had this quandry with a client of mine a few months back. One day we were at lunch and she was asking if I had any pictures of my kids. I whipped out my cell phone and showed her the pix of my kids with my sister and her partner. A picture was worth a thousand words.
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:24 PM   #11
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About 3 years ago a straight Co-worker of mine asked me if it was okay to ask gay people if they were gay. I told her *no* but only because I didn't want the next question to be about me. In retrospect that was really stupid but I was scared. Now I know It's a lot easier for someone to acknowledge you than to need to either a) avoid the truth or b) find a way to say something yourself. That Co-worker is now a good (work) friend but I still haven't come out to her and of course, she hasn't asked and won't.

Why don't you try to just fit in an inclusive question - like: "So, any dates this weekend? Any guys? Any girls? hmm...It's girls, right?"

Anyhoo... that's my story.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisy-J&D

Why don't you try to just fit in an inclusive question - like: "So, any dates this weekend? Any guys? Any girls? hmm...It's girls, right?"

Anyhoo... that's my story.
LMAO!!! Too funny! I can totally see myself saying something like that!
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Old 03-10-2006, 10:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lecach
I was just wondering if its okay to say something and if so, what can I say?
I (this is OttawaWendy, I'm just posting from my DW's account because I was reading this thread over her shoulder) have a story to tell that may be helpful. When my Dad was first retired he volunteered with Meals on Wheels twice per week (once with my mom and once with another lady). As he and this lady spent two hours every week driving around together to drop off the meals, they got to know each other fairly well. Well, my Dad was telling her about his family. And he described me and my brothers with no shame (I'm gay and my brothers are straight) and what we did for a living and our partners and so forth. He was so obviously OK with my being gay that she came out to him. Now this was a 60-something lady, who had never come out to a single straight person in her life. I think telling my Dad was incredibly difficult for her, even though she knew the response would be positive.

The sad thing is, my parents were the only straight people who ever knew about her. When she died, her family had a funeral for her and her partner and none of her friends attended. There was a separate memorial for her with all her gay friends and my parents were the only straights who attended.

What a sad story. Anyway, my recommendation to you based on that story is that you tell A something so that she knows that you are OK with people being gay. Do you have a gay friend or family member that you could work inconspicuously into a story? Then if she wants to come out to you she will know it's safe.
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Old 03-16-2006, 09:07 AM   #14
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I think the Drag Bingo idea is pretty good. I would recommend you talk to the other coworker that told you that "A" was gay and maybe that co-worker could ask "A" if she has told you. Then she could mention that you'd be cool with it and are actually trying to organize a trip to Drag Bingo.

I dunno, just a thought.
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