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Man's employee comes out to him as gay. Then, things take an unexpected turn. UPDATED

Man's employee comes out to him as gay. Then, things take an unexpected turn. UPDATED


"AITA for not reacting right to a colleague telling me he is gay?"

Here's the original post:

I feel like I could be in the wrong here, even if I don't understand why. To be honest, there have been incidents in the past where I have unwittingly been rude without intending to, and there are some social norms that escape my understanding. Which is why I would appreciate some impartial unbiased input and am posting here.

One of my colleague's H (technically I am his boss, not sure if that matters) came into my office today. I have an open door policy to encourage team members to come forward and share their ideas, so this was not that unusual.

H came into my office and said "I am gay." I thought there would he would be saying something else, so I waited for him to continue. After a moment I made a sound of assent to make it clear I heard him., but he still didn't say anything. Since he was staring at me, I assumed he was trying to convey something I wasn't understanding.

Here's where I might have messed up. The first thing I said (my friends specifically scolded me because this was the first thing I said) was to ask if he had had any insights in marketing to that demographic (we work in a marketing firm). H said he hadn't.

I asked him if he was getting married and needed time off (this too, I have been informed was an assholish response). H said he wasn't married. I finally said that if H had nothing else he wanted to discuss, he should leave as I had a meeting starting in a few minutes and needed the office. He left.

Shortly afterwards a mutual friend scolded me and said I was a right asshole for the way I responded to H.

AITA for how I responded? If so, could you please explain i) what I did wrong ii) what should have been the right response iii) how I can fix this

What do you think? AITA? This is what top commenters had to say:


NTA. Isn't this sort of the long term goal for when someone comes out? For it not to be a thing and just business as usual?

[deleted] said:

NTA. How does his sexual orientation add/detract any value to the workplace? Unless he was reaching out, but still, nobody cares.


NTA, it's kinda weird to just come into your boss's office and declare your sexuality for no reason(unless he's making an offer) so you being caught off-guard isn't being an AH.


NTA. Your awkward response mimed his awkward comment. This may have been some revelation, or some deeply troubling secret he has held, so it was a big deal to him, but it’s 2022, and people are gay. It’s nothing. You responded as such.


NAH. I don't think there is a conflict here. It sounded like you were caught off guard - and really had no idea what to say. You certainly didn't handle it perfectly - but I don't think that makes you TA either.


lol no you’re fine. In the future you can always go with “Thank you letting me know, is there anything else?” But it sounds like you two got caught in an awkward bubble. He didn’t bring it up in a casual way, or with a clear action to it, and it can be hard to have a good response to someone just making a statement like that. NAH.

One year later, we hear from OP again. And he has some surprising news.

UPDATE: He's my brother-in-law now!

I never really thought I would every post an update, but I wanted to share the good news! Nearly an year after my junior colleague H unexpectedly came out to me at work, he's become engaged to my brother.

At the advice of this forum, I had a follow up conversation with H to ensure that he was not facing any type of harassment or discrimination, and try to understand what prompted his exclamation. It fortunately nothing major, and as H seemed to find the conversation embarrassing.

A month later, my parents finally got to courage to ask J, my father's assistant about adoption. My parents had met J several years ago when he was huddling by the side of the road. He had aged out of foster system but due to lack of support he could not get a job and was homeless. My parents had invited him to spend the night, and he has been working as my father's assistant ever since.

J has been like a second son to my parents for a long time, and after a late night conversation when J opened up to how alone he sometimes felt because he had no family, my parents asked him how he would feel about adult adoption. I wasn't there when they asked him, but at the family dinner afterwards it was very emotional and long overdue.

However, as the days went on, J seemed to get more and more anxious and seemed to withdraw from us. Nearly a month later, he told us in a shaking voice that he couldn't go through the adoption because he had been deceiving us, he was gay. Now throughout all his time with my family, J had never dated.

We all had assumed he was just shy or uninterested, so it was heartbreaking to hear that he felt he needed to censor himself, and that he thought we would leave him if we knew the truth. It was a painful conversation but ended happily, and the next day J went with my parents to file the paperwork.

At that time, my siblings and I were wondering how we could show J he had nothing to worry about, when I remembered H and asked him if I could share his email with J. I had been thinking that it would good for J to have a friend who was out -- I never imagined they would start dating and become engaged!

What a roller coaster! Congrats to all!

Sources: Reddit
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