For the past three years I’ve blogged about being out at my employer on National Coming Out Day and this year is no different. What is different this year is that I want to focus on on the powerful impact that straight allies have when they, too, come out of the closet as allies.
For LGBT folks there is a high cost to not being out at the office1 and straight allies make coming out, and being out, that much easier. Allies create a safe place where you can talk about your life without filtering and make being your authentic self at work effortless.
But they, too, have to come out of the closet at work. In companies and areas of the country where LGBT folks aren’t openly accepted, our allies face risks when they show their support. Depending on the employer, it’s possible that being an openly straight-ally could be a career limiting move.
My current employer, EMC Isilon is very gay friendly and creates an inclusive workplace. Many of my coworkers go above and beyond that and are open supporters of LGBT equality both inside and out of the company. I never have a question of being accepted and valued, and that’s due in no small part to all of the straight allies.
Straight allies: thank you for being “out” at work. You help create a safe place for everyone to be themselves.
1 I always think of this wonderful poster created by my good friend John Martin when this topic comes up. I intend to print it out and post it in my cube. I’ve no doubts that John would love to see you do the same.