Saturday, February 26, 2005

Why do I feel I can't come out at work?

So the British Navy is now a more gay friendly employer than the bank I work for. Its not that the bank I work for is gay unfriendly. But the Brtish Navy has suddenly become especially gay friendly (see Royal Navy to promote gay rights).

The bank does provide gay friendly benefits. Boyfriend number 1 gets his medical insurance through the bank. He's also included in the pension rights, and if I die while an employee of the bank boyfriend number 1 will get the "death in service" benefit paid directly to him. But the staff Christmas party last December demonstrated the problem.

For the first time since I joined this bank, all staff were allowed to bring someone along to the bank's Christmas party. I discussed this with my colleague P (My gay colleague P on the trading floor) and neither of us wanted to go. We didn't want to stand out, we didn't want people to talk about us, perhaps we felt we didn't want to damage our careers.

It's not even as though I can pretend that no one knows I'm gay. I know for certain that one colleague knows, and because of the brief chat we had about this I am sure that others know too. So why do I still feel the need for this pretend secrecy? I am worried about the reaction of the guys who report to me, but if I were to think about it I'd probably conclude that they wouldn't really care.

I feel a bit guilty too. I discussed the Christmas party with boyfriend number 1 and he would have been happy to go along as my partner. Given that, perhaps we should have gone. Almost certainly I'm the most senior person in the bank who is gay - so maybe its up to me to take the lead. One day.

No comments: