His employer seems to be supportive. And people who know him say it really isn’t a big deal anymore, which contributed to his decision to speak publicly.
But what if you’re not Anderson Cooper? Do you put your career at risk if you come out?
The fear of losing his job and being passed over for a promotion was real for Greg Lilly. He worked for a family-owned business in Charlotte, N.C., where he was an information technology infrastructure team leader.
For eight years he proved that he was a valuable employee and asset to the company.
“The people in my division knew me as their co-worker, not as the gay co-worker,” he says.
He cloaked his personal life. He would change “pronouns on the phone when a personal call came in.
“I did fear the loss of career opportunities,” Lilly says. “Coming out is talking about your sexuality. That is not a work subject. My work performance was important to me. I wanted that to be the focus at work, not my personal life.”
Then a co-worker invited some people from work to a Christmas party. When she invited him and said bring a date, he says, “I had been dating a guy for about a year. So I said my date’s name was Don. Her face lost color.”
Within three hours, another worker came to his cubicle “to tell me how happy she was to find out I was gay. I’m sure by the end of the day, every one of the 2,300 employees in the building knew without me having to actually tell one other person.”
Management never brought it up, and co-workers invited him to bring his significant other to events.
“After a few months, I think it became a nonissue,” and Lilly never felt that assignments or promotions were
This article originally appeared on: http://www.usatoday.com/money/jobcenter/workplace/kay/story/2012-07-21/worries-at-work-about-saying-you-are-gay/56370614/1