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Should I conceal my partner from coworkers or not?

cryhavoc

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  1. Resident [Any Field]
So where I will be working does have anti-discrimination rules. And the area has laws to protect LGBTQ people. Not in the department I have my residency in but I know some doctors on staff in other departments are openly gay and married.

My residency, not my first choice, is near family in my preferred speciality but in a red state. Should I disclose to my fellow residents or bosses any information about my partner if unavoidable questions come up or there is a function where everyone else is bringing their significant other?

Or, given that it is a red state and sort of a religious area, would it be smarter to not disclose that information? Any personal experiences or feedback would help. I'm not thrilled about keeping it a secret for a few years but my partner understands either way and she said she doesn't think we'd hang out enough outside work with coworkers that it would even matter one way or the other. And I'm "straight-passing" so I could get away it if it is the wise decision. I'm not sure how much residents hang out with each other outside work to be honest, I figured all we do is work.

Thoughts? Opinions? Get training in my preferred specialty is more important than being genuine I guess, if being genuine could threaten my career. I'm just nervous of getting targeted or treated unfairly.
 
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DizzyJon

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Agree with goldchallenge, hiding this part of your life would be exhausting. There will be so many times where you are talking about your personal life with these individuals you will be spending so much time with. Just figure out who you can trust and who you should keep your personal life out of the conversation. I've never felt targeted or treated unfairly. I know it can/does happen, but never experienced it. I've practiced is various specialties and in 4 different states/territories. I'm divorced, from guy, with two kids. So, I couldn't imagine getting through work life not disclosing.
 
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May 26, 2019
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Hi, I'm a lesbian born and raised in Alabama who went to a Christian high school and then a conservative college and several conservative workplaces. My advice? Don't worry about it. The people who have problems will always be there, but most people will just take that info and move on. Do what's natural for you. I tried a few times to keep my orientation on the DL; now I certainly don't generally bring it up to management, but I also don't waste energy putting myself in a position to feel shame anymore. If it's natural to talk about my partner, I just call her my partner and let them assume whatever they want to. If someone asks, I tell them. Let them hide their bigotry rather than me hiding my partner. She's way too awesome to hide.

I don't know where you're from, but down here you will occasionally get rude stares... that's usually the extent of it. I just pull my partner closer and wink ;) at them. Their problem, not mine. Don't take on anyone else's baggage for yourself. Just be you and the people who are worth being close to and interacting with will be fine with it, and love you all the more for your genuineness. :banana:
 
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cryhavoc

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Hi, I'm a lesbian born and raised in Alabama who went to a Christian high school and then a conservative college and several conservative workplaces. My advice? Don't worry about it. The people who have problems will always be there, but most people will just take that info and move on. Do what's natural for you. I tried a few times to keep my orientation on the DL; now I certainly don't generally bring it up to management, but I also don't waste energy putting myself in a position to feel shame anymore. If it's natural to talk about my partner, I just call her my partner and let them assume whatever they want to. If someone asks, I tell them. Let them hide their bigotry rather than me hiding my partner. She's way too awesome to hide.

I don't know where you're from, but down here you will occasionally get rude stares... that's usually the extent of it. I just pull my partner closer and wink ;) at them. Their problem, not mine. Don't take on anyone else's baggage for yourself. Just be you and the people who are worth being close to and interacting with will be fine with it, and love you all the more for your genuineness. :banana:

Thank you, I love this message.

I just feel like everyone gets to mention their wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. in conversation all the time and it is no big deal. I hate feeling like saying mine is some sort of mic drop.

Also, I get asked if I have a significant other a lot. I'm not going to parade it around or anything but if someone asks me something like that, I don't want to hide someone so awesome.
 
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May 26, 2019
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Thank you, I love this message.

I just feel like everyone gets to mention their wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. in conversation all the time and it is no big deal. I hate feeling like saying mine is some sort of mic drop.

Also, I get asked if I have a significant other a lot. I'm not going to parade it around or anything but if someone asks me something like that, I don't want to hide someone so awesome.
It's only a mic drop in your mind. You don't know if it's going to surprise them, or offend them, or be a complete non-issue, and you can't control any of those things. I just talk about my partner like anyone would theirs, and don't spare any thought to their surprise or feelings about it. The more you talk about it like it's no big deal, the more it truly is no big deal. And I live in a red, red, red state so if I can talk about it like it's no big deal, most anyone in the states can. Not saying there aren't horribly bigoted people out there, even where I'm at, but we can't control them or fix them so duck 'em. Save your energy for things that you can impact.

Now, that said, every once in a while you'll definitely get some experiences you didn't anticipate. Once, my ex and I were walking down the street during a festival in Athens, Al. We'd just stopped incidentally, and figured we'd walk around and see what was up. After a bit, my ex froze and tapped me. "Let's go back," she said quietly. I turned with her and as we walked away, she said, "I know those guys- this is a KKK gathering." She knew a lot of those sorts of people, being from a very backwoods area. Soooo sometimes you'll be walking down the street and run into the Klan, but it's fine mostly, really. :laugh:
 
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pubhealthdent

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May 7, 2019
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Being gay in the midwest, I completely get the fear of coming out to your coworkers. In my experience, the more time you spend with your co-residents, coworkers, etc, the more likely they are to find out, whether you come out and say it or not. I never had the like "hey, I'm gay" proclamation at my work, but I brought my partner to social events and would talk about them at work occasionally. Are there going to be people that don't support/like people of the LGBT community? Probably. But does that mean you need to hide a large part of your life from them? No.

One of the biggest things I've learned in adulthood is that not everyone's going to like you and that's okay. You shouldn't have to hide your sexuality just to ensure every one of your coworkers likes you.
 
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MediCane2006

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Hi, I'm a lesbian born and raised in Alabama who went to a Christian high school and then a conservative college and several conservative workplaces. My advice? Don't worry about it. The people who have problems will always be there, but most people will just take that info and move on. Do what's natural for you. I tried a few times to keep my orientation on the DL; now I certainly don't generally bring it up to management, but I also don't waste energy putting myself in a position to feel shame anymore. If it's natural to talk about my partner, I just call her my partner and let them assume whatever they want to. If someone asks, I tell them. Let them hide their bigotry rather than me hiding my partner. She's way too awesome to hide.

I don't know where you're from, but down here you will occasionally get rude stares... that's usually the extent of it. I just pull my partner closer and wink ;) at them. Their problem, not mine. Don't take on anyone else's baggage for yourself. Just be you and the people who are worth being close to and interacting with will be fine with it, and love you all the more for your genuineness. :banana:
This is excellent life advice in general.
 
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I am in the military, so move every few years, and have a constant change in co-workers. After I got married, I decided it wasn't worth my energy anymore to play the game of coming out one at a time, figuring out who I should come out to, etc. When I get to a new base or meet new coworkers, I introduce myself by talking about my wife (usually easily discussed, as most people ask who you moved with, etc). The earlier this information is divulged, the less it seems like I am trying to make a point of it. I also try to be very open early on so that others realize I am out and it is ok to mention me to others. There will always be people who "don't agree," but I am finally at the point that I am comfortable with who I am and don't want to spend too much energy caring about how people will react. I also realize I am safe in my position-- I can't get fired for that, and most people I have worked with have been ok with it. I want to be out so that it is easier for others to feel ok in the workplace. It is a very personal decision, I can't tell you what to do or how you feel. I was closeted early in my career, esp as I joined the military during the tail end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." I can only tell you where I am now. Best of luck to you in your decision
 
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TragicalDrFaust

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As recently as 2018, I stayed closeted at work. I was in what I considered to be a conservative environment (after a roadtrip through the deep south to get to my new school a few weeks ago, my former conception of conservatism is pretty laughable). But I've gotten more confident in myself and I really believe the population becomes a little more accepting as time passes. I'm out everywhere now and no one cares. My biggest "problem" is that people don't understand I'm talking about my Gay Sex girlfriend when I refer to "my girlfriend".

Obviously if you think a hate crime is possible stay in the closet. But you might be surprised at how few social repercussions your big reveal has!
 
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