What You Should Do If Your Boss Asks ‘Are You Gay?’
Are you gay, and were recently asked by your boss about it? Feel like you have to pass a gay test and don't know how to respond? Manplay has some advice. If your boss ever asks if you're gay, there could be a few reasons why they'd want to know. Their intentions really indicate whether or not you should be truthful, and how to respond. There are a few possible ways to answer your manager if they should ever inquire about your sexuality. Figuring out the reason behind their questions is beneficial to the conversation, so don't shy away from asking them questions too. First and foremost, keep your best interests in mind. Trust your gut instincts during your conversation with your boss, and let that guide how you decide to answer them. Most major companies these days have new policies that are tailored to benefit gay employees and couples, so questions about employee sexuality is becoming more and more common.
Are You Gay?: Be Honest
Being honest and open with your boss if you're gay and they ask can have its benefits. If you feel comfortable enough with your boss and your workplace to come out as openly gay at work than by all means go ahead. Your boss may be asking because of HR benefits that are newly available to gay couples, and they want to know if you qualify and are interested in taking advantage of those. Many workplaces nowadays, especially major ones, are now offering same-sex related benefits, so this is becoming a normal workplace inquiry. Your honesty about being gay only has to go so far though. If you want to take advantage of those spousal benefits you can tell HR and your boss about your sexual orientation, but request that your coworker be kept in the dark. Maintaining a distance in terms of personal information with your fellow workers is sometimes the best way. Nowadays, though, more and more people in high-ranking occupations are publicly coming out as gay, so it's definitely no longer a taboo concept.
Are You Gay?: Stay Silent
There is no obligation for you to disclose your sexuality to your boss, and if you're feeling pressured to come out at work which is making you uncomfortable then take it to HR. You have a right not to answer if your boss comes right out and asks. Workplaces can only inquire about sexual orientation to be disclosed or identified voluntarily, so you can't be forced to come out if you aren't ready or comfortable with it. This is especially true is you feel like your workplace isn't a gay-friendly place. If you've heard your coworkers or your boss saying inappropriate things about gay people, their intentions for asking could be less than ideal. They might think they're making fun of you, or looking for a reason to, and you don't want to give them the satisfaction. Question whether or not you want to work in place like that if this is how your coworkers behave. There's no law against denying that you're gay if you are. If you feel like lying about your sexual preference at work is the best thing for you to do, then that's a personal decision that no one can penalize. While most companies are coming around to keep up with current times, and reflect legalized gay marriage, not every person within that company supports it. You know your work environment better than anyone, so if you feel like you could be in a bad place for coming out then don't. Your coworkers aren't your friends, so you don't have to tell them everything about life. Even if your workplace is gay-friendly, you might not feel at ease with your coworkers knowing about that part of your life. There's no obligation at any point for you to tell everybody you work with that you're gay, even if you do decide to tell your boss.
Gay Test: Counter-Question
It's perfectly ok for you to ask your boss questions before deciding whether or not you want to answer. Politely inquire on their views on the subject, and start a conversation if you aren't sure how to reply. Ask them if they're gay, especially if they do it in a bold and upfront manner. They very well could be, and maybe are asking for personal reasons. This could be a conflict of interest at work if you get romantically involved with your boss, but that's a whole separate issue! There is absolutely no requirement for you to answer anything before you fully understand why, and what will be done with that information. Asking questions is more than acceptable, so don't be afraid to indulge your curiosity. If you have a bit of a guard up, then ask a few questions to your boss so you can gauge their feelings on gay culture and gay people. If you get the feeling that they feel positively toward gay people, then consider answering truthfully. On the other hand, if they seem critical and judgemental, then maybe keep that personal detail about you to yourself.
Inquire Why It's Relevant
If you're questioning why your boss is asking, ‘Are you gay?’, then ask them. You're entitled to know what will be happening with your personal information, and why it's required. Of course, companies are not allowed to require you to disclose your sexual orientation. They can only offer the option for you to identify it if you wish to do; it can only be asked to be given voluntary. If you think the reason for the question is positively related, for instance spousal benefits, then confirm that with your boss. If you don't feel like the question is relevant to anything at work, then ask them to explain their reason behind it. Don't answer if you don't feel it would be in your best interest to do so. Keep in mind, though, that there are relevant reasons why your employer could be asking. Access to same-sex benefits can really only be given if you've identified that you fall into that category, which is kind of catch-22. You can claim benefits that are offered to gay people and gay couples, but you have to tell your boss that you're gay in order to do so. There's no way to claim these benefits anonymously, for obvious potentially fraudulent reasons, so it's up to you to decide how worth it for you it could be. If you're asked ’Are you gay?’, especially, by a superior, don't jump to conclusions. Don't assume it's a wind-up for some kind confrontation or attack. It could be genuine curiosity and misplaced social cues on your boss' end that are causing the awkward questions.
Assess Why They Might Be Asking
There are a few potential reasons that your boss might be asking about sexual orientation. Before you decide to answer, figure out what their motives are behind the question. Do you feel like your boss might be asking because they have good intentions behind their inquiry, or could they have sinister ones? Not every workplace is gay-friendly yet, unfortunately, but many of them are. If you get the feeling that you might be being asked so that it could possibly be held against you in the future, then stay silent. Some ill-intentioned employers will use employees sexual orientation as a way of denying promotions or growth within the company. For the most part, especially with major Fortune 500 companies, workplaces are gay-friendly environments. Maybe your boss is asking if you want to sign up for same-sex spousal benefits, and they're simply asking everyone at work for this reason. Your boss might have zero intention behind the question whatsoever, it could be data collection for benefits and things that are offered by the company.
Lastly, consider whether or not you can benefit from honestly answering your boss if you're gay. Aside from the potential HR benefits, will your co-workers be accepting? Could a future promotion be threatened by having this information about you out there? If you feel like you'd be better off be open at work, then tell your employer and coworkers. There are options to disclose it to your boss but not your coworkers as well, but whatever you feel is best for you.