A few years ago, before I came out, and long before I came out at work, I studiously hid even the slightest mention of anything gay. Since coming out at work last year and becoming the executive sponsor for my company’s newly formed LGBT Associate Resource Group, I have marveled as some of the LGBT related conversations I have had in the workplace.
Last week I had a conversation with a co-worker about the complexity of the surgical choices for transgender individuals. I explained in detail, with her permission, the differences between the bottom surgeries for trans men and how the outcomes differed. It felt amazing for me to speak so openly about these topics.
Earlier this week I had a meeting with the two new co-chairs our company’s LGBT Associate Resource Group about the group’s strategy for the next year. Again, we talked openly about some very complex LGBT related topics. As we spoke I silently marveled that we could have these conversations as part of our work life and how much the world had changed for me.
Being out has also enabled me to push my company to expand health benefits for transgender employees, something that is currently explicitly excluded.
For most of my work life, I separated my interior gay life from my work life and it had me feel lonely and separate. Being able to bring my ‘whole self’ into my work, and integrate my personal life with my work world life has made for more happiness at work and more commitment to the company.
I never imagined that coming out at work would have as many positive benefits, from my improved state of mind to opportunities to play a leadership role and have a positive impact on the lives of my organization’s LGBT associates.