Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Professionalism, and Being Gay at Work

Hey Grey people!

So I was at work today, and one of my coworkers (the only other out gay woman where I work) responded to something that I posted on my Facebook wall by telling me to get back to work. We are generally friendly (friendly enough to be Facebook friends, I suppose), and we joke around a bit, but for some reason I felt like this went too far. I went and found her and explained that I didn’t appreciate the comment, and that I was going to take it down. She responded that she was just joking, and didn’t understand what the big deal was. I told her that I didn’t like the fact that she had implied in a very public venue, that I do not do my job adequately, and that professionalism is important to me. I removed the comment. She then came into my cubicle, and while I was on my computer, leaned over me, almost resting her chin on my shoulder. Her breast was touching my back, and she just seemed too close. I asked her to move back, and explained that it wasn’t appropriate for her to be that close to me. She laughed, and walked away.

On the drive home, I realized that I had been harsh with her, and I was thinking more about the situation, and I two things came to mind: 1) this is the first time in my life that I have “friended” a co-workwer on Facebook, and 2) I really don’t like to mix my personal and professional lives. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the comment that had bothered me in particular, but that someone who knows me professionally was responding to a personal aspect of my life. Now I’m seriously considering removing her from my friends. I can’t put my finger on what’s unsettling about the meshing of these two worlds, but I think I’m going to stick with my instincts on this one.

As for her getting too close to me, this is the second incident I have had with her. Last week I popped my head out to say goodbye to everyone (she works with a few other people I know, and people who I’m also Facebook friends with now), and when I did, she got up to say goodbye. She asked why I was leaving early, and then proceeded to pull the bow out of my trench coat so that it came undone. Thinking about these two incidents, I wonder if I would feel so awkward about them if she weren’t gay. Am I afraid that people at work will think that we’re together? Or is it really just that she has a partner, and that’s the reason I don’t want to be perceived as flirting with her? Am I being homophobic? I have never had to deal with sexuality in a work environment, so this is uncharted territory. Thoughts?

Peace and Love and Bugs Named Doug,

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