"We'd like to offer you the position" - the group of words we often like put together when it comes to applying for jobs!
But being LGBT+ also brings concerns of acceptance and understanding in the workplace. This leads to a great many feeling they shouldn't bring up their sexuality or gender identity, whether they're starting out in a job or have been employed for some time.
Let me tell you something - you can be so much more relaxed being out in the workplace! The first bit of advice I can give you is try to be yourself, work out who you get on well with and allow your natural personality to be seen. Once you develop a trust in each other, it could be something you tell them over a coffee or a social occasion outside of work.
I've been in several situations where my first instinct is to bottle up my thoughts, feelings and personality, a lot of which can be put down to confidence.
One place in Hospitality that I did work, where staff were able to have conversations quite freely whilst working, there were a few comments and remarks made that may have been considered homophobic or used in the wrong context.
"It's just gay" - this description of some totally unrelated gripe made me very tense and had I been working there for another couple of months, I probably would've challenged their choice of words. "I was having a party at mine and my friends that were coming thought it would be great to have cocktails. My friend's brother was a professional cocktail maker so he came along and brought his male partner - so I ended up with a gay guy making cocktails in my house the whole night!" - This could be interpreted in many ways, but it may surprise you that cocktail makers come in all shapes, styles and sizes! Just because he happened to be gay doesn't necessarily mean he's going to start adding rainbow dust to a Strawberry Daquiri, or that his cocktails will taste any better or worse. I'm more concerned whether he crushed the ice properly for a decent Mojito!
*Two girls clearly in a relationship walk into the shop* *One of my colleagues refuses to serve them on the basis he's seen them holding hands*
- there's a high chance you serve plenty of people who are in similar same-sex relationships but it's just not as visible...
Beyond all of this, this is just three, and only three examples, of where colleagues weren't tolerant of the gay community - and guess what I since did in the same workplace?! I've been out and honest about my sexuality. Because I have developed a good relationship with people that are accepting. Sure, being pansexual does mean it takes a bit of describing every so often but I'm also educating people at the same time.
I also haven't had ANY negative attitude towards me as a result of coming out - a slight surprise - but a bit relief none-the-less! I'd like you to have a second think about when you get offered that job - sure you'll probably end up signing 'Equal Opportunities' and 'Equality Act' documents for your file, but what happens in reality is what you're more wary of.
Some workplaces with a greater number of staff have LGBT+ social groups and networks, so staff are aware that there is acceptance. If you don't have one already, it may be worth considering starting one up! It gives you that reassurance there are people around you who you can confide in and have conversations with if you do feel shaky about being out in the workplace.
If you've maybe not had the best experience in a job, where an instance of hostility around your gender or sexuality has not been addressed fairly or not had a strong impact on LGBT+ awareness, then consider having a look at Stonewall's 'Proud Employers' for opportunities with employers who are LGBT-inclusive. This resource also helps employers to put processes in place to be a friendly and welcoming workplace for many.
If you have any thoughts or experiences you'd like to share, please do contact us confidentially (and anonymously) if you wish.