In the movies, coming out seems like a one-time event. But it’s not.
For our LGBTQ+ employees, every day could be a coming out day. Every time they meet new people. Every time they walk into a new environment or meeting. On each occasion, they could experience ‘coming out’ again.
As a company, we want to make sure that we’re supporting our employees when they choose to share and trust us with their experiences. Acceptance of each other is part of what makes us so close. We don’t judge or discriminate. Well… unless you add the milk before the teabag. Obviously.
Mike (IT Manager) and John (Martech Director) have been with us for a combined 14 years. In recognition of National Coming Out Day, they wanted to share how they feel about working at Twogether, as gay men.
When I started at Twogether, I lied. I know – admitting lying to your boss is never good. But on this occasion, I think she understands. I’d had bad experiences of being ‘out’ in the workplace and wanted it to work without being judged. The lie didn’t last long (it never does!) and I opened up to the team after a beer or two. What happened next was unexpected.
My colleagues were worried they had done something to make me feel I needed to hide my true self (which of course, they hadn’t – it was my internalized fear). They wanted to know the real me, not what I had spun to feel safe.
It’s one of the big reasons I work at Twogether. I’ve never known anyone be judged – not on anything other than their amazing work. We’re given support when it’s needed and space to do things our way. We’re trusted to do our best. All regardless of sexual orientation, gender, age, or race.
LGBTQ+ equality at Twogether is a non-issue for me – a really positive non-issue. I feel like we’ve achieved a level of togetherness (mind the pun) that many don’t experience.
I first started working at Twogether as a contractor from another firm. I wasn’t ‘out’ at that company. There, I’d heard others talking in ways that I didn’t find comfortable, but I never said anything. I kept my head down and let them believe I was straight. Nothing was ever said which actually offended me, it was just a general working climate that made me feel like I couldn’t be who I was and be out at work.
Twogether was completely different. Instantly I felt comfortable talking with anyone about anything; It was as if there was an overarching culture of acceptance, which allowed everyone to be themselves. I then had the opportunity to work directly for Twogether and jumped at the chance. Again, for me, it’s been a complete non-issue. You don’t feel judged, or even the risk that you could be judged, and it’s a culture that’s fundamental to who we are.
I accept not everyone has this experience, but I’m sharing mine to give hope. It’s possible for us all to focus on what’s important – and not on small things – when we look out for each other.
To anyone reading this blog: We know your experiences may not be the same as John's or Mike’s. We understand that for some, coming out is no longer as daunting as it used to be – it can be correcting someone’s assumptions about you, or introducing your partner. But for others, coming out is a huge challenge, making you feel incredibly self-conscious. No matter what, please know that there’s always someone there to listen. You are never alone.