James Quarmby, tax partner, Thomas Eggar

Ten ways to reveal your lover: coming out the easy way

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  • LOL @ Kevin Poulter. Pwned in the face by FB.

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  • To Jim. I understand where you're coming from, but I think you misunderstood my point. My point is that you can't choose when to be gay or not to be gay, you just are, 100% of the time, 24hrs a day. Equally, if you're straight, you're that, 100% of the time.

    That doesn't, in my view, mean talking about sex or sexual preference or the nuts & bolts of being gay (or straight for that matter), but my point was that it's not just possible to 'just get on with it' all the time.

    If you're straight, it's usual to take for granted that you live in a straight world, and therefore anything manifestly gay feels as though someone is shouting at you, or shoving it down your throat, and I understand that.

    Let me illustrate. One of my friends asked me if I knew a particular pub. I said I didn't, because I didn't usually go to straight pubs. She looked puzzled. She said: "it's not a straight pub, it's just a pub!!". I had to explain to her that there's no such thing as 'just a pub' if you're gay (hence we have gay pubs). She asked, not unreasonably, whether I only went to gay pubs, and how limited that was. I said I mainly went to gay pubs, but not exclusively, and had to explain to her that I preferred to go somewhere where I felt comfortable. A straight person, in a straight pub (or a gay pub for that matter) could kiss their partner withoug a problem. Try doing that as a gay man in most straight pubs and see what happens to you. Hence I choose to go to a gay pub where I feel most comfortable and where if I choose to show affection to my partner (or friends) I won't get attacked or indeed 'offend' anyone.

    Unfortunately, alcohol and intolerance can be a heady mix, and even in the most seemingly friendly 'normal' pub, discrimination can come at you, even if you are just having a nice drink with your straight mates one evening. I've had experience of this, and none of my mates - straight or gay - would describe me as 'flamboyant' (to use Mr Quarmby's word).

    For gay people, much of what you regard as simply normal life is 'straight' stuff. We're used to it, so we don't make a fuss at endless ads showing straight couples kissing, mums and dads on hols with the kids, billboards, couples in the street, the list goes on. It's just 'normal' life. For you.

    Instead, we get things like being refused a double room in a hotel (this happened to my partner and I after a 7 hr drive to Cornwall) having booked it in good faith, or being refused service in a pub or get attacked for wanting to be treated equally in our partnerships (we're still not, btw, as Civil Partnership does not have the same recognition rights as Marriage)

    I want to be judged on my intelligence, personality, demeanour, but I HAVE been judged - out of my control - many times simply because of my sexuality, whether I admitted it, was proactive about it or not.
    I don't 'blame' every negative thing that happens to me on my sexuality; but nor do I try to live my life in a bunker hoping that if i life in 'as quiet and unassuming way as possible' (as - clearly - every single straight person does 100% of the time) that everything will be ok.

    Instead, I believe that prejudice and ignorance have to be rooted out, challenged and shown up for the wrong behaviours they are. And if that means being gay in the office - whatever that entails - I'll make that choice, and people can think what they like.

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  • Well, I worked in a lawfirm in the Philippines, and the reaction was pretty cool. But, while it's nice to be brave and say fighting words about how coming out should be a piece of cake, there's still the fear of the unknown to deal with. To have a mindset that expects everybody around you will have a 21st century, rational response to your sexuality, is to be deluded...

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  • I think Jack Vance's backpedaling is delicious. Can't we just imagine those little gears in his head, turning and turning. "Wait, this is the internet! What I write here is traceable back to my IP address! Someone with rudimentary skills could track me down! My clients might discover that I'm a senseless bigot! My partners might find out!"

    And one can't help but wonder about all of those gay "friends" that he has. What a true friend old Jack turned out to be, eh boys? You drunken, porn-watching fuckmachines. Poor wretches, so lucky to have Jack as a beacon of hetero respectability!

    I'm all for free speech. But I'm also all for the ruthlessness of the free market, which lately abhors this kind of bigotry. Here's hoping the market for legal services teaches Mr. Vance a lesson about the economic costs of being so uniformed and discriminatory, at least in public.

    On second thought, I'd be happy with just one more backpedaling post. Come on, Jack. Walk it back just a bit more for us.


    Non-drinking, monogamous gay prude who bills 2200/yr.

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  • There's been a lot of needless criticism and banter on this thread, all of which can be summed up in the one question: Have you any of you actually met a homosexual person?

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  • I'm a trainee at a mid-size law firm in the South East and I decided to be out to everyone before I started. I also did it in much the same way that the article suggests (although I do like musical theatre...) to my immediate colleagues.

    However my plans for the rest of the firm sort of fell apart when it was suggested that my sexuality become a running joke (in a good way) in the Christmas Party entertainment. Oh well...at least everyone knows now, and there's been no bad come back.

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  • K

    Very brave of you, but for your firm to turn it into a running joke?

    Presumably the panto also included a re-enactment of the Black & White Minstrel Show?

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  • @ Anonymous (Jan 6) in re White & Case:

    My husband has been with W&C for three years, and is openly gay. We attend company events as a couple, and the firm has been nothing but supportive of us. I am sorry if you did not have similar experiences with the firm, but I have to say we have seen an open and accepting culture there.


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  • Well, it hasn't turned into a running joke outside the entertainment, everyone has been perfectly respectful and it's been treated as nothing more important than if I'd revealed my taste in cars. Which is obviously a good thing.

    I am the only out person (I think) in the firm and I recognise that the first inevitable step of tolerance and acceptance is, firstly, visibility.

    I can endure good-natured ribbing and curiosity with no concern, and humour is a useful tool for diffusing situations, provided that, like any tool, it is used in the right way.

    I actually wrote a good part of the entertainment so was able to ensure that the humour wasn't offensive to me or any reasonable person - and while given the option I probably would not have come out so publicly, I also recognised the opportunity to present my sexuality as something of which I have no shame over and that there was no reason for anyone else to concern themselves with.

    I recognise it's a difficult line to tread between...oh...the Black and White Minstrel Show and...Avenue Q (to use a musical theatre example of racial politics as entertainment). But provided you can keep to the line, it's one of the most effective methods of integration and tolerance. And I've never been one to shy from that sort of challenge.

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  • I *heart* FB and 'Non-drinking, monogamous gay prude who bills 2200/yr'

    Isn't it strange how any debate on gay rights usually involves Jack Vance (or his equivalent) holding forth about how awful gay men are in their behaviours, and little, if any, comment about lesbians.

    Because when people like Jack Vance talk about gay rights he will focus on the gay MEN and how awful the gay MEN are, and the unspeakable things that gay MEN do to each other and gay MEN shouldn't be allowed to exist and let's belittle gay MEN because they're clearly a lesser species and not menly men like me, Jack Vance.

    Lesbians, of course, don't exist on Jack Vance's radar until Jack Vance requires some form of pornographic entertainment, at which point we exist for him and him alone. But what we do isn't subject to the same sneering idiocy, which is reserved purely for the men. Me? I'm an exotic curiosity in Jack Vance's feverish imagination. And yet he won't sound off about my rights (and in particular the rights I shouldn't have).

    Fact is, it's ridiculous to focus on sex when talking about sexuality, and utterly absurd to think that the rights of someone else might rest of what I think of what that person does (or doesn't do) behind closed doors.

    I think many of the comments on this article have actually heartened me. I've been 'out' for many years and I'm very pleased that noone seems to care. Except maybe Jack Vance.

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