Ethical Jam asks three thought leaders to respond to dilemmas through a prism of Jewish learning, leadership and values. This one’s in honor of National Coming Out Day.
Here’s the jam: I am a woman, married to a man, but I identify as bisexual. I am the assistant director of a medium-sized social service organization with employees from a wide range of backgrounds. We are slowly working on educating our staff on LGBTQ issues; though I am not the lead person on that effort, I have been vocal in support of it. Most of the people at the agency clearly assume that I am straight (there are no “out” LGBTQ people on our staff), and undoubtedly many of them take my perspective more seriously because of that assumption. I feel like I am helping the effort to move our agency forward on these important issues by not actively disclosing my sexual identity (though I would certainly not hide it if it came up directly), but am I undermining the cause (and myself) by remaining passively closeted?
Should I continue my current approach? Or should I make a point of coming out, even if it could, over the short-term, slow the progress we are making in our organization—and also mean I’d have to speak more personally to my co-workers than I usually do?
Is coming out always a better choice in order to make progress on LGBTQ issues? Weigh in by adding a comment below.