Opinions and Rants

Thoughts On Being Gay In The Workforce

There are many times when I wonder how being gay will have an impact on other aspects of my life, like future careers. Honestly, I don’t know why the topic would ever come up in a therapy session, as disclosing personal information isn’t done very rarely. Usually, the only times it would even happen is to help a client see that we understand or if I worked in an environment that specialized in LGBT issues (which I would LOVE to do someday). But what about other careers, like a lawyer, a doctor, or an actor? How does that   affect what they’re doing as a profession?

For perspective, here’s Ben Baur, an up and coming actor who is gay as he weighs what being out will mean for his acting career. First, Baur weighed even coming out of the closet:

And therein lay my dilemma. Should I be who I am, Ben Baur, the out-and-proud gay man, or Ben Baur the actor who skirts around the issue of sexuality and plays the pronoun game? 

On the one hand, my sexuality is private and really isn’t anyone else’s business. I want to go to work and do a job that I am passionate about and have that be enough. However, with any measure of attention in this day and age, it’s foolish to think that who an actor is dating is never going to come up.

On the other hand, however, I am completely free to be who I am, but there’s the fear that my career would suffer because of it. Recent tweets/interviews from the likes of Bret Easton Ellis and Rupert Everett have contributed to the message that being an openly gay actor will definitely hurt your career and you will definitely be pigeonholed and typecast.

I can identify with a few of the things he’s talking about. Especially the pronoun game. I was a MASTER at it actually. Hmm…. I’ll write about it so look for that one in a couple of days (probably tomorrow). Anyway, in the end, Baur decided it was more important to live an authentic life and be out. Others like Matt Bomer have done the same.

But what about other careers, fellow readers? I’d love to hear other perspectives on this subject. Sure, it may not be as difficult being out now. There’s even websites dedicated to jobs specifically for LGBT. Some may feel that it’s unnecessary to have such sites, but until LGBT have federal sanctions such as ENDA (Employee Non-Discrimination Act), that would protect LGBT from being fired because of their sexuality, it’s a benefit, not a detriment.

So, please share your experiences in the comments!



Sly Merritt has a BA in psychology/sociology. MA in clinical psychology. He's a flip flop wearing hippy with a peaceloving mindset. Even pacifists like him know when it's time to do all we can for LGBTQ equality. Sly's views are all opinions not advice.

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1 thought on “Thoughts On Being Gay In The Workforce”

  1. I worked for a well known software development company back in 2009 and let me tell you it started to get twisted. First of all I came out to people that I had drink with after work, that was my rule. It worked out out for the most part but when I moved to a very large and well known red state I found a much different world waiting for me. Little did I know it I had moved to a right to work state and my rights as a California worker were about to be bait & switched right out from under me. My company was looking for people who would take the initiative to help them expand for a year out in the boonies. Well I saw that as an opporutnity for advancement and moved on over to scary red state territory where they are a right to work state and they can fire you for being Gay simply because they don’t have to tell you why it is they are firing you. As it turns out there was no ship to come home and once the contacted time had expired we were given papers that switched us over from one set of rights based on California law to a new set of laws under which I was no longer protected. At that point I started getting harassed by my coworkers who kept asking about why they never saw me with any girls. So I notified the assistant manager who in coordination with the HR team wrote up all people involved. After a while of working in more and more isolating conditions I eventually quit and came back home. This country isn’t the worst, but we could still do better I think.

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