Adulthood. What an intimidating word. Images of bills, endless responsibility, distancing friendships, and full-time+ work. Eventually your coworkers become a family of sorts because you spend the majority of your time with them. I genuinely consider many of my coworkers (past and present) a part of my family. They make me feel safe, they give me confidence, confide in me, share things with me, and make me laugh. These things are great, but there always feels like something is missing. Like I can’t be myself completely because they just won’t understand an important part of me, and that is no fault of theirs.
I’ve held a job since I was old enough to drive myself back and fourth to work during the summers. Out of those 7 years I’ve only had one open-ish LGBTQ coworker, and the experience was unlike any other I’ve had. We only worked together for a few months before she left, but I cherished our time together. We could talk freely and openly about our lady experiences together. I know it’s possible to have that conversation with heterosexual coworkers, but the same connection and understanding would be impossible to have.
For all my heterosexual readers: Imagine that you worked in an environment where you were the only heterosexual identifying employee. How would that make you feel? How would you feel listening to two men talk about their night at a gay club, or girlfriends talking about where (or what… hehe) they ate the previous night? Maybe they share stories about being discriminated against because they held hands walking down the street or the people they’re attracted to. Maybe you wouldn’t feel so out of place the first time. But imagine that happening repeatedly five days a week for 3 decades. You possibly start longing for an acquaintance. Someone who can uniquely relate to your experiences.
I dream of working in a corporation where my boss identifies as LGBT or at least a handful of coworkers. I’m sure their sexuality would be non-factor in business operations, but I would feel an unspoken connection and pride working for/with them. My heart would swell with joy knowing I could be wholly myself and talk about my troubles without worrying about the consequences or unsolicited and inappropriate commentary. I dream of working with professional lesbians because I don’t know any. Everyone likes a role model, and I am no different. I’d love nothing more than Bette Porter ordering me around the office or Ellen Degeneres critiquing me on what I could improve upon, while Lena and Stef have lunch with me. Hell, I’d even take out J. Crew president Jenna Lyons telling me how disgusting my style is. I think you get my point by now.
Now… I’m sure my chances of ever working with a lesbian in a workplace resembling corporate America ( not as dusty or traditional) is very slim. Until then I’ll just continue my journey of finding some really good lesbian girlfriends. Still don’t have any of those either. Actually there is one girl and she’s awesome and understands the way my brain works and she’s currently dating a girl so we share things. Baby steps people. Keep hope alive.
Love who you love.