Appearing gay in professional situations

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by ColonialBoy, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. ColonialBoy

    ColonialBoy Member

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    Guys I've been on this forum a few years and this is the first thread I have made. I say in my profile I'm 50% gay 50% straight but in all honesty I only get emotionally very attached to guys. I'm pretty much in the closet and only talk about my orientation to close friends.

    I work on contract for large companies, anywhere from a few weeks to a year at each workplace. These companies tend to be male dominated such as telecoms or information technology. I'm a management consultant and I'm paid a good salary to do a professional job.

    The problem is people start getting a 'gay vibe' and some individuals get very uncomfortable. I've talked about it to consultants from my own company who are close friends they understand but its a totally inappropriate impression to give to a client.

    The scenario goes like this
    - I start working on a new job
    - I notice guys walking past my desk. No big deal. But after a few weeks I subconsciously look at some more than others, they start giving suspicious looks back
    - I get embarrassed (or have social anxiety) and start "gaze aversion", trying not to look at them at all, which makes them a LOT more suspicious.

    All this starts making me look like a total weirdo. Its not something I can really talk about to the people concerned because most of the time I dont even know them.

    Anybody been in a similar situation & how do you handle it.
     
  2. zpacifico

    zpacifico New Member

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    Maybe changing your own point of view of your sexuality would be a good start.
     
  3. HappyBoi

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    Elaborate, please.
     
  4. overninept5

    overninept5 New Member

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    Cannot argue that point.
     
  5. zpacifico

    zpacifico New Member

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    Being in closet makes a social contacts more stressful, especially when approaching someone one might fancy. Just take your time and you will feel more relaxed. No one should be discriminated because of his/hers sexual orientation in general. Considering where you live all this should not be a problem, you live in Australia not Uganda.
     
  6. bryan257

    bryan257 Well-Known Member

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    Do you have an introverted personality and mostly keep to yourself? Or are you outgoing? I think sometimes a lot of men keep to themselves because they just don't know what to say or how to interact with each other. Can you make friendships pretty easily with women on the job? If so, you ought to try some of that same friendliness with the males too. Or tell 'em that's a cool tie or shirt and ask where they got it, if they're an updressed person. Here's another couple things.... maybe when you're checking these guys out, maybe some sexual hungriness/appetite, in other words, plain old lust is showing on your face and can be read, or maybe your giving off some other expression that can be read on your face--needy looking (sexual desperation) and that's a turn off among men. It's hard to say?? I think sometimes it's a giveaway if your caught looking at them and then you turn your gaze away real quick and all of the sudden, they know you were for sure checking them out. Sometimes I really wonder if eye contact is a good or a bad thing? It probably depends on the individual you're looking at. Have you ever noticed, I do this as I am driving....., do you check out the male pedestrians or other male drivers in oncoming traffic or if traffic is slow, the blokes in the cars next to you? Ya know what, of the pedestrian males, I am looking them right in the eye and they're looking me in the eye right back. Many times neither breaks the stare, and some pedestrian males as we stared at each other, he will turn full around I see in my rear view mirror after I pass him. I know that's bad in a driving situation, not fully concentrating on your driving. But sometimes, when I am staring and being stared back, eye to eye, the other guy will tip is head in a gesture to as much as say, 'hello', 'hi, how are ya'. And I'll tip my head back. So.... maybe if you get caught staring, just tip your head to as much as say hello g'day and smile and look friendly. One of these times, I am going to outright wink at a pedestrian just to see what he'll do. hahahaha But.... going back to guys walking in front of your desk who you're admiring, maybe break the ice with a wise crack like.... your fly (zipper) is down and then you'll have an excuse to look at his crotch (playing the joke) and then tell him you were kidding, or say, 'goddam, what do you have all over your back?' as he passes by and then pretend to brush it off his back, then say you were kidding him. hahahahaha make them laugh, be yourself about things and how you behave--that is to say, don't be someone you are not. But, if you can interact with women, assuming you can, then you need to interact with the blokes too and seem friendly, funny and approachable. I am not a sport's minded person, but I do think sports is many times a universal male topic that men open conversations up to each other. Guys begin sports conversations then the conversations move on to other things. It's a common ground kinda thing. Maybe that helps? Best wishes to you, and you're welcome to p.m. me if you like.
     
  7. HotBulge

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    Look at the situation this way: you are a management consultant who happens to be gay (or with a gay inclination). What would you do if you were a permanent, full time manager at one of these telecoms or IT shops?

    You want to earn the respect of your colleagues for being a competent, professional manager. As with any manager, you just want to be more self-aware with your one-on-one interactions with specific male employees in particular. No matter what your position is, people will probably pick up on a gay vibe over time, but that doesn't need to come at the expense of your respect as a manager. It's only with one-on-one situations where you may want to be careful with inter-personal gestures, emotional attachments, etc. Just be careful not to stare or be overly flirtatious.

    One additional tip-- a hidden secret of a manager is one who can put others at ease as well. No matter what your orientation is, your colleagues will certainly appreciate being put at ease when you engage them. So, if you start to show signs of awkward nervousness, your team too will become nervous.

    On the flip side, there may also be other gay employees there.
     
  8. BayAreaGuy

    BayAreaGuy Member

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    I think most of this "issue" is in your own head, my friend. One red flag was when you said that you give a "gay vibe" and called it "inappropriate." Being perceived as gay means you're being inappropriate? Huh?

    Then you went on to describe a situation that actually was inappropriate, but it had nothing to do with your gayness. That situation (leering sexually at coworkers) is inappropriate because it has no place in a professional setting, not because of the man-on-man factor.

    I'm also curious to know why you're not able to more effectively control this. I have a few coworkers whom I think are sexy, but I'd never LEER at them. I also work with young adults (about 300 new ones every 16 weeks, half of whom are young men) and some of them are deliciously sexy. Still, I don't find myself staring at their crotches, nor to I duck my head and run every time I see them coming down a hallway.

    My suggestion is that you seek out a good sex therapist in your area and get your head on straight. Your own discomfort with being gay (and I'm pretty sure you ARE gay) is what's creating this problem for you. You live in Australia, one of the least homophobic places in the world! You'll see that being gay is a terrific thing, and not something to be ashamed of, or to think of as "inappropriate."
     
  9. Cybearia

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    While I tend to agree with Peter79 in that tackling your own perception of your sexuality would be a great start in being more comfortable with yourself in the workplace, it seems that you have a couple of main avenues down which to go.

    The first is to put professionality over sexuality in the work place. There is an argument that says work is a place to, well, work. In the work place one can be a different person to how one is in social situations. If you are in relatively short term contracts in a number of different places then this is a reasonable option for you. Keep up a mask of work focussed professionalism and "de-sex" yourself as you walk through the door to work. Think about doctors, nurses, other health professionals for example, they do this on a daily basis, you can be close to someone, remain friendly, but not flirty.

    The second is to be more open about your sexuality. Again, as has been said, youre in Oz, it is unlikely you will be dragged into the street and flogged for checking out a guys bulge. Also you work in I.T. Not exactly a bastion of rampant heterosexuality (sorry to those rampantly heterosexual I.T. professionals who may be reading this) so a "gay vibe" isnt grounds for being ostracised, nor, for that matter is actually being a confirmed homosexual :)

    Worry less about what people are thinking of you and more about how you are making them feel about you. You are the "new boy" and if you are awkward and reticent around them then people will feel awkward and reticent around you. Relax, be yourself, things will change.
     
  10. Cybearia

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    Oh..another thing. If you look at someone and they look back, this is generally recognised as a good time to initiate a friendly dialogue, not duck and run. Try it... ;-)
     
  11. nudeyorker

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    I have always been a big believer of keeping my personal life and my professional life separate. I do the job I am paid to do and at the same time I am pleasant and professional nothing more and nothing less. If anyone is getting any vibes it's their issue not mine.
     
  12. Kotchanski

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    Have you considered that they're uncomfortable after picking up on this vibe because you've clearly attempted to hide it? It begs the question "Why?"

    Think about the two situations...

    You go in, as yourself and hide nothing (Obviously you don't go in wearing a badge that says "I'm gay, fucking deal with it" lol):

    1. They see you as a person
    2. There may be some who are uncomfortable with gay people
    3. They'll know you're being yourself
    4. Are you checking them out?

    You go in as you have been, and they pick up on this vibe:

    1. Are you gay?
    2. Are you trying to hide that you're gay?
    3. Why are you trying to hide that you're gay?
    4. Is this something you'd rather not discuss?
    5. Do you just want someone to let you know it's ok, and they don't care?
    6. Were you hiding it so you could check them out more easily?
    7. Are you hiding anything else?

    The list of questions for the second option go on far more than those in the first.

    I once had a gay driving instructor, and I can tell you now it was a bloody painful experience...

    He went out of his way to hide it and be professional, but there was no way in hell of not knowing he was gay. He would stumble when chatting about his "partner" to make sure he didn't use any specific gender terms. He would get uncomfortable if we drove by someone he was clearly checking out (and no, you can't stop yourself from having a sneaky look if you find someone attractive, no matter how many times people claim you can)

    It made me feel very uncomfortable to say the least.

    The whole time I was meant to be paying attention, I was sat there wondering why he was going out of his way to hide it. I couldn't help but wonder if I'd given the impression I wouldn't accept it for some reason, or would think less of him for it. Then I started wondering if I should just ask him about it and get it in the open, which obviously led to me questioning if maybe he was hiding it because HE wasn't comfortable with it...

    It is entirely possible that their discomfort isn't with you "seeming gay" or giving off the odd vibe, but with them not knowing how to react or even if there is anything to be reacting to.

    Nothing makes people more uncomfortable than feeling someone isn't being true to themselves or others... It just leads to too many unanswered questions, and no way of getting them answered without even more uncomfortable feelings.
     
  13. ColonialBoy

    ColonialBoy Member

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    Yes thats true, but it can affect your job if somebody goes to a supervisor and says they are uncomfortable with you working there.

    What is the "proper" point of view? Is your view peter79any more valid than mine?
     
  14. ColonialBoy

    ColonialBoy Member

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    Thats what I try to do and it usually solves the problem. But often the people who walk by I have not working relationship with.

    The reactions tend to be
    - talk to me 10%
    - be suspicious 70%
    - avoid at all costs 10%
    - discuss with supervisor and supervisor is suspicious as well 10%

    These reactions are consistent over 10 years.
     
  15. ColonialBoy

    ColonialBoy Member

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    You have hit the nail on the head. Its my problem if I make them uncomfortable & thats why I'm looking for suggestions at solving it.

    I probably have talked to around 2000 people in my professional life, only one has mentioned they are openly gay. I've never met a female at work who admitted to being lesbian. I work in conservative jobs in conservative cities nothing like San Francisco.
     
  16. Kotchanski

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    I'm going to send you a PM to elaborate a little, as I don't want to go into more detail in public :wink:
     
  17. zpacifico

    zpacifico New Member

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    There is no "proper" point of view, there is only your point of view.
    Posing my ways onto you would be silly. I do hope my line did not piss you off, haven't had the intention to do so. But in case if it did you should ask yourself why did it do so.
     
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