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LGBTQ Voices

How My Orientation Was Accepted in the Workplace

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Woman walking down a street, facing away from the camera, wearing white pants, a black tank top, and carrying a black bag over her right shoulder.
New York, NY

The first time I ‘came out’ to someone, I was about 14 years old. However, it wasn’t until I was 19 that I fully came out to everyone including friends, family, and the public.

Of these, the hardest audience to come out to was my family, who are still, 2 years later, very unaccepting. My mother’s initial reaction was that I would “never go anywhere in life” if I didn’t go back into the closet.

Now, I am very successful and am starting my career in my professional field at only 20 years old. My father, though initially somewhat accepting, recently told me that I “chose to be gay” and that if any of my brothers had come out rather than me, they’d be dead.

Currently, my parents don’t even speak to me. When I told one of my brothers that I liked girls, he just assumed I was bisexual and said, “well, you’re going to have to choose because you can’t have both.”

However, I do have amazing friends and co-workers who are very accepting. I am leading a happy and successful life, despite the negative opinions of others.

My workplace is one of the safest spaces I’ve ever been, and is like my second home. Additionally, I have now been with my girlfriend for two years and plan to propose to her very soon!

I first realized I was not straight because I was attracted to female celebrities – especially Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson! I still thought some actors were cute but could never picture myself marrying a man.

People have treated me differently since they found out I am gay, especially my parents. Unfortunately, I have also experienced different, yet still negative reactions such as men responding, “that’s hot” or my brother saying, “that’s disgusting.”

I think it is still a big struggle for people to come out. I personally knew my orientation for at least 8 years before I came out. People are scared, and rightfully so, of not being accepted by the people they love.

I think it’s important to realize that people who don’t accept you are not people who love you. No matter how much you may love them.

However, I think it’s much easier to come out today than it was years ago, with LGBTQ+ representation on television and increasingly so in movies.

I just think one area of entertainment that could use more LGBTQ representation is the music industry.

As for how things have changed since same-sex marriage legalization, I personally think homophobia has remained the same. But acceptance is much more common, though not yet universal.

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