Traveling Man

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In my day to day work life, I am fully out. Everyone who reports to me at work; my peers; and boss, all know I’m gay. But today I am traveling for business to participate in a product advisory group for a company that my company does business with. One of the subtle questions is do I come out? There is no real need to publicly declare my sexual orientation to people I do not know and yet the question comes up regularly in my mind.

At the dinner meeting this evening I sat next to a woman who was my age or a little younger. From the little she shared about her life she had nearly grown children and was divorced. I shared with her that I was also separated from my wife. Then the question arose in my mind, will she now see me as a single available male? I do not want to be seen as a date or relationship prospect. But I do not really know this woman. Do I come out to her casually over a business dinner? I weigh who she is in her organization and how we work with her company. Should I come out to a mid-level manager when I have not come out to the people in her company who I work more directly with? It all makes for interesting challenges.

In the end, I did not come out to this woman and have not come out to any of the other people at the meeting. It just seems like a strange thing to do. It is like telling a passing stranger on the metro that I am gay. I wouldn’t do it. So then why should I come out to people I meet casually at a business meeting who I may never see again?

And yet I want to be out and proud of being gay. I do not really have a big emotional issue on this topic, but it crosses my mind at various points during the meeting.

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