JWG (jwg) wrote,

NCOD thoughts

Reflecting on the fact that yesterday was National Coming Out Day...

I came out to myself shortly before I hooked up with Robert (in 1973).

A few years later I came out to my mother - who had already met Robert several times in visits. I didn't think it would be a problem and of course it wasn't. And she said something like - oh that's what I thought.

Now the complication about all of this was at work. I was Robert's boss! Later, his bosses boss. The standard formula says don't do this. As far as I know it wasn't a problem with anyone at work. We were a ~40 person office in Cambridge that was part of a division of Honeywell that was in Phoenix. I don't know if anyone in HR in Phoenix knew about this. My boss - the same person for many years (for part of the time he was in Cambridge, but then he moved to Phoenix and I got promoted to be manager of the whole group). I believe his boss (different ones) did know about it.

Once when I was in Phoenix (I used to go there on business trips with my long hair and wearing a pink triangle (see the icon) - all of which was quite out-of-place there). Once at a meeting, the Engineering VP (several levels above me) at the end of the meeting where I had made several presentations, privately said something like - thanks, that helps me know that gay people are just like other people.

When my group was transferred to a Boston area division and we moved out there, the HR person questioned me about my relationship to Robert, but seemed OK with it considering the long previous history.

Interestingly enough a few years back in this story, my boss married someone who reported to someone who reported to him. HR in Phoenix found out about this and it was a violation of Policy C63 which disallowed spouses, siblings, parents, or children from working for their spouse. I remember being at the meeting with my boss, his boss who had flown up from Phoenix, and the HR person from Phoenix about this situation - feeling quite odd about it all because of my situation ( I wasn't violating the Policy because it said nothing about dating - good thing this was before 2004 when we got married, …). Of course I said it wasn't a problem. Management solved the problem by having her report on paper to someone in the Boston area division which was pretty silly since her new boss knew nothing about the details of what she did.

In 2010, David Maher was elected Mayor of Cambridge (he was a City Councillor and they elect one of their own to be Mayor (with little power because Cambridge has a Strong City Manager form of government). (The prior two Mayors were gay and lesbian). David was known to be a somewhat closeted gay man. As one of the co-chairs of the Cambridge GLBT I went to meet with him about the Pride Brunch which we co-host. I said he should come out. He said he would and he did in his opening speech at the Pride Brunch. For quite a while we had a gay Mayor and a gay high school principal (only one public HS in Cambridge). I've always though how valuable this would be to a kid coming out to his parents. When a skeptical father would respond - you're never going to get anywhere in the world - the kid could say, but Dad, the Mayor and the High School Principal are gay. Pretty good rebuttal.
Tags: multics, personal

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