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Boss Called Out For Their Nonchalant Response After Employee Comes Out To Them As Gay


Coming out is a very sensitive and nuanced experience.

It takes a lot of courage to step into your authentic self.

And even in this day and age, with how far we’ve come, every reaction will vary.

Whether you’re the person coming out or the person being told… there is no perfect way to do it.

Case in point…

Redditor uamConfused007 wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for not reacting right to a colleague telling me he is gay?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I feel like I could be in the wrong here, even if I don’t understand why.”

“To be honest, there have been incidents in the past where I have unwittingly been rude without intending to.”

“And there are some social norms that escape my understanding.”

“Which is why I would appreciate some impartial unbiased input and am posting here.”

“One of my colleague’s… H (technically I am his boss, not sure if that matters) came into my office today.”

“I have an open door policy to encourage team members to come forward and share their ideas, so this was not that unusual.”

“H came into my office and said ‘I am gay.'”

“I thought there would he would be saying something else, so I waited for him to continue.”

“After a moment I made a sound of assent to make it clear I heard him, but he still didn’t say anything.”

“Since he was staring at me, I assumed he was trying to convey something I wasn’t understanding.”

“Here’s where I might have messed up.”

“The first thing I said (my friend’s specifically scolded me because this was the first thing I said) was to ask if he had had any insights in marketing to that demographic (we work in a marketing firm).”

“H said he hadn’t.”

“I asked him if he was getting married and needed time off (this too, I have been informed was an a**holish response).”

“H said he wasn’t married.”

“I finally said that if H had nothing else he wanted to discuss, he should leave as I had a meeting starting in a few minutes and needed the office.”

“He left.”

“Shortly afterwards a mutual friend scolded me and said I was a right a**hole for the way I responded to H.”

“AITA for how I responded?”

“If so, could you please explain:”

“1) What I did wrong?”

“2) What should have been the right response?”

“3) How I can fix this?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. Isn’t this sort of the long term goal for when someone comes out? For it not to be a thing and just business as usual?”  ~ swagdaddio69

“It depends. Every person coming out has a different expectation.”

“Many consider it a special moment which needs acknowledgement.”

“Others need support. Others have different expectations.”

“My own reaction tends to be minimalistic unless I suspect that I’m one of the first being told in which case I try to be ultrasupportive.”  ~ naraic

“Coming out sure. But… Walking into your boss’s office and just… Announcing it?”

“That’s just so strange to me.”

“Honestly OP’s reaction is… Hilariously accepting.”

“Granted they need to follow up with the employee and figure out if there was an incident at work that prompted the outburst.”  ~ dezeiram

“I just have sympathy for both sides because I’ve been the only ‘out’ person in a very small town.”

“Working with people who don’t quite know how to navigate stuff like this in a professional environment.”

“I don’t think OP handled it great but as far as someone in a strictly professional environment having ‘I am gay’ just sprung on them.”

“OP’s response wasn’t too bad.”  ~ dezeiram

“Maybe a more thorough boss would have gone down the train of thought OP almost had (are you getting married) and said, I appreciate you telling me.”

“Please have a seat – is there something we need to discuss related to this?”

“Because if someone on my staff came in and said this with no other follow up I would assume I missed something that made this relevant.”

“Harassment, bigotry, even just assumed sexuality (maybe I’d said something that implied he was straight and he just wanted to correct me to avoid awkwardness later ‘guests are welcome to the bbq if you have a girlfriend you want to bring’).”  ~ OMVince

“I am 55 and just came out as Bisexual six months ago.”

“I talked about it with my management and coworkers as many were also friends in social media and would see posts.”

“I joined my companies LGBTQIA group.”

“Beyond the one discussion I don’t really talk about it.”

“My team lead also knows about my depression and commented he was happy for me that I was going to be able to live a more authentic life.”

“OP the way you can mend things is to invite the employee back to your office.”

“When they arrive invite them to sit and just say you were sorry you were so pressed for time earlier and wanted to give their news a proper response.”

“Thank them for trusting you with this information.”

“Ask if they are letting everyone they work with know this information or is it being shared in confidence.”

“Ask if there is anything they needed help with.”

“It is possible they have a homophobic coworker and need to discuss stuff.”

“Basically give them a moment of your time and let them know that this information doesn’t change their worth.” ~ markdmac

“Yeah, but the person coming out should manage their own expectations.”

“As long as the other person was not negative, then OP isn’t an AH for reacting the way he did.”

“It’s a business environment. I don’t see how gender is any relevant at work.”  ~ dessertandcheese

“I can even understand the ‘This is a big deal for me, can I get a little bit bigger reaction, please?!'”

“Feeling when coming out to family, but your boss?”

“NTA .I’m not a supervisor of anyone, but if I were, I would have no idea how to respond to an employee coming out to me with no other reason (i.e. reporting harassment).”

“Asking about marketing is a total foot in mouth moment, but that’s what happens during those deer in the headlights moments.”  ~ JuliaX1984

“That is an absurd response.”

“OPs response was perfect. ‘Cool, and?'”

“Is literally the goal of acceptance.”  ~ Goofy264

“I agree, something like that would be the ideal response.”

“I definitely don’t blame OP for not coming up with that right on the spot. Definitely understandable, NAH.”

“Following up could be a good thing to do, just to make it clear to H that there are no problems with the relationship.”

“Something like ‘I hope I didn’t come off as uncaring the other day…’ etc.”

“Or, if it would feel easier for OP, they could also just make a point of being TOTALLY NORMAL and friendly in their interactions with H to show that nothing has changed.”  ~ sarita_sy07

“I probably would have said ‘okay, and…?’”

“And maybe have eventually gotten around to ‘has someone else made this a problem, because HR will have a word with them.’”

“But without context I would have been utterly nonplussed.”  ~ Junior_Ad_7613

“I never felt the need to “come out” in a professional setting.”

“There was nothing to gain and everything to lose.”

“Either people accept me and nothing changes or someone takes an issue and I have obstacles to hurdle.”

“NTA the journey out of the closet can be rough but a non reaction is not inherently bad.”

“Business as usual is how it should be.” ~ GaymerGirl42014

“Not only that, but what did he expect from his boss at work?”

“I would’ve initially had the same reaction—sitting there waiting for him to get to the point—since it was so random and came out of nowhere.”

“I sit there and try to figure out the reason any time someone makes a random statement.”  ~ ximxperfection

“NTA, it’s kinda weird to just come into your boss’s office and declare your sexuality for no reason(unless he’s making an offer) so you being caught off-guard isn’t being an AH.” ~ _Sniffin_

“He probably just wanted validation, who knows who in his life he feels comfortable telling?”

“Sure, that’s not a good way to go about it at all, but OP could have done more with their reaction instead of asking about marketing.”

“I don’t blame OP, but the way they went about responding was cold, regardless of how ‘random’ the occurance was.”

“OP, I suggest you reach out and just email a half hearted ‘I’m proud of you, good luck, let me know if anyone harasses you, blah blah.'”

“If you want to set professional boundaries, fine.”

“But, without meaning to, and I DON’T BLAME YOU but it’s what happened.”

“You probably hurt his feelings and made such a big thing feel unimportant/only important if it can make the business more money.”  ~ sortaangrypeanut

“NTA. Your awkward response mimed his awkward comment.”

“This may have been some revelation, or some deeply troubling secret he has held, so it was a big deal to him, but it’s 2022, and people are gay. “

“It’s nothing. You responded as such.”  ~ Therealuberw00t

It seems like both parties were a little vague in their communications.

But this feels like a situation that will work out peacefully..

Good Luck young man!