Making a decision about coming out is a difficult one. If you’re lucky, you already know you’ll have needed support from your family and friends. The decision about whether to come out at work can be especially risky for some. There’s no right or wrong answer for everyone in general, but it might be helpful to weigh the pros and cons.
You might become more relaxed
It takes up a lot of our mental energy to try to ‘pass’ in any way at work. We have to be vigilant about using gender neutral pronouns and possibly feel as if we need to behave in a more feminine or masculine way than we actually feel. Coming out could be just what’s needed to take the load off of our shoulders. Without all of that worry and pretense, other things can be focused on, such as building professional relationships.
You’ll know who’s not on your side
Those who knew of your capabilities before you came out will have no choice but to acknowledge it, even if not out loud. It can also stop any hate speech that might have occurred before because bigoted co-workers will know that it’s now personal.
You’ll find out who supports you
You never know, you might find out you have a fellow co-worker in the LGBT community in the next cubicle over! Plus, you might inspire someone to come out if they haven’t already.
You might get attention you don’t want
You might not want everyone to know. Some co-workers may think that your coming out is an invitation for them to ask personal questions about your sex life. They won’t care or even understand that it’s inappropriate. You might be working with some seriously hateful (even threatening) bigots. Of course you should be able to rely on HR to have your back, but that might not actually happen.
It could turn out to be dangerous
There’s a chance you might lose your job after coming out, even if it is against company policy. There are always cases of people making up false reasons for ‘letting you go’ or cutting down hours until there aren’t any left. Try to understand the atmosphere of your workplace first. There are countries where you can be fired after coming out. Check out the laws first. It’s ultimately your decision to come out, or not.