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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.

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(Note to other readers: That "Boston area division" is where I know jwg and Robert from. They recruited me into their team, and it was great working with them. I've been friends with them ever since.)

Edited at 2014-10-12 06:00 am (UTC)

That's a lovely story!

I think it's pretty cool that you were Robert's boss, too.

In my last year at Quantime, before it was totally subsumed into SPSS, a manager of the programming and testing function was recruited from Chicago to move to London. His girlfriend/wife (not sure whether they were married) had to be found a job here too, so they made her head of testing and my manager. Instead of reporting to her bf/husband, she (on paper) was managed/evaluated by SPSS's technical VP in Chicago. She should have been found a job elsewhere as she was not a great manager, and she knew nothing about UK employment law. When I'd found a new job, and gave notice, she said, "Oh, that's convenient for us. We were planning to hire someone else, have you train them, then lay you off." That is illegal here and SPSS would have been in for some big damages if they'd done it. Then they laid her off. Didn't replace her either, as she did nothing constructive around the office.

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