A few years ago, I undertook a freelance gig at a media company. I was only supposed to stay for a couple of weeks, but somehow the days blurred by, and before I knew it, I’d been part of the team for six months. I was friendly with staff, included in office gossip, and even went for after-work drinks on Fridays. I was a part of the furniture; sort of.
One day, the office chatter turned to A-list actors, and everyone in my team gave their verdict on which famous celebrity was the hottest. When it got to my turn, I laughed awkwardly. “I’m going have to sit this one out because I’m gay,” I said. It was the first time I’d mentioned my sexuality, and judging by the astonished looks I received afterwards, I was reminded for the umpteenth time why I usually keep it quiet.
Once my colleagues had recovered and conversation bubbled back to a normal volume, one woman turned to me and said, “you never mentioned you were gay!” Her tone was incredulous, eyebrows quizzical, and she looked at me as if I’d been deliberately concealing the information. I smiled, shrugged, and swiveled back around to my laptop. The truth is, I wanted to say, you always assumed I was straight.
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