Do You Wear Your Pride on Your Sleeve?

I was in a job interview some time ago with the general manager of a certain agency, when this unanticipated question was raised.

Whatever happened to “what’s your strengths and weaknesses?”, I wonder. Do I look that gay? Do I get paid more if I say, “Hi, I’m Pat and I eat pussies,” to each client?

His sotightyoucanseehisnipples black PVC shirt and white, svelte leather shoes were telling, so I decided to be a sport.

We do wave the same flag, but I don’t hang it outside my window as though it’s National Day.

Good, because neither do I, he smiled.

Black PVC shirt and white, svelte leather shoes. Ya right, I thought. But of course, I won’t have known you were as happy as I was, if you didn’t mention, I lied innocently thru my teeth. Hey, it was a job interview after all.

There are undeniable liberties in the advertising world, and damn right I leverage on them. People in the advertising industry are generally more open-minded, and perhaps a bit too frivolous too. In my second advertising stint in a French advertising agency, I made the historical decision to out myself to my colleagues (point to note to those toying with the same thought: remember that there isn’t any CTRL+Z button for you to “un-out” yourself, should you regret it, so do think about it carefully). And boy have I done it in style (and clearly, with a fair bit of alcohol).

Prior to my official date of employment in the French advertising agency, I was invited to the company’s Christmas party. I had initially attended the party alone, but eventually invited my then-girlfriend to come along as my partner. A clear unspoken declaration of my sexuality was made, and my freedom to be who I truly am was automatically granted.

In retrospect, I’m glad I ‘out-ed’ myself to my company, although frankly, if I have to do it now, I doubt I’ll be as blatant. I don’t fancy being liable to any conservative right-wing republican’s anxiety attacks.

But why did you do it? questioned my closeted lesbian ex-colleague. You will be surprised at the number of closeted lesbian colleagues that approach you if you happened to the official lesbian spokesperson in the office. By making my sexuality known, it becomes too obvious for one to gossip about. You don’t point out at an Indian and whisper “hey, that girl’s an Indian”, do you?  I explained.

Group shot with colleagues

While my sexuality is a registered fact, I don’t see a need to shove the information down everyone’s throat. In all honesty, I don’t see how my sexuality is relevant to my performance at work. I see myself as Pat Law the Suit, and not Pat Law, the Lesbian Suit. My preference for women does not mean I want to get in the pants of all my female colleagues and clients. Well, not all anyway. It took Midnight a year before he realized I was gay, through a photograph I had on my desk with my ex-girlfriend. And for all my female ex-clients whom I had affectionately nicknamed “my wives”, they were only informed of my sexuality after I was no longer servicing their accounts. I like the fact that they still refer me as their “ex-hubby”. Heh.

What I’ve come to realize from being open about my sexuality is that people aren’t as homophobic as I perceived them to be. The more comfortable I am being gay with them, the more comfortable they are with me being gay. At the end of the day, being gay has absolutely nothing to do with my clients’ ROI or my company’s profitability.

In summary, I’m proud to be gay and I have been fortunate that I have not been punished with any discrimination at work for being gay.

Here are a couple of questions for all gay readers of my blog: Do you wear your pride on your sleeve at work and if so, do you face any prejudice as such?

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