I spotted a nice post on the Harvard Business Review blog last night – the author compares his constant “coming out” about his sexuality to the awkward conversations that need to happen in organisations. Standing up, speaking out.
People have the misconception that a gay person comes out once. It’s not true. If you’re gay and you’re authentic, you’re coming out constantly. You’re on a business trip, for example. A cab driver asks if you have kids, and you say that you do. Then he asks about your wife. Even though you may be exhausted, you find yourself summoning the energy to have a transformative conversation with a total stranger on whom you are depending to get to the airport and whose reaction you have no way of predicting. It takes a few tablespoons of courage. Every time. But you do it. Because it’s who you are, and you’ve learned long ago not to deny who you are or who your partner is. Because to deny who you are is a betrayal of yourself and the man you love and the children you have together. So you never, ever skirt the issue, no matter how tired or busy you are.
He points out how faulty products and services make their way to market often because the many people who noticed the faults in-house were afraid or unwilling to point them out – and incur the resulting wrath from their colleagues and the unpopularity of being “that guy”.
My favourite line:
So you’re not gay. You can still develop the strength to stand up for your truths. Stop trying to think outside the box. Start thinking outside the closet.