What's not OK to ask an LGBT co-worker?

I’ve been having some fun with this topic and some shock value. After I shared my last post on LinkedIn, the scary side of the world reared its ugly head. I saw comments like “you weren’t born that way” and “you just want people to feel bad for you”; a surprising response in a world I feel very safe in. It’s hard to believe we’re not moving forward as quickly as we thought.

It’s a reminder exactly why things have to change and people need to be educated. Unfortunately for those haters, gay people aren’t going anywhere. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 8 million adults in the US who are lesbian, gay.... I love those kind of numbers; it means we’re creating a world where people feel OK to be who they are. 

Anyway, when I asked my friends on Facebook for some more ideas for my next post I got some awesome ideas I’m sure I’ll be writing soon. I loved this idea from an old sorority (yes, I said sorority) sister:

I’ll caveat this list by saying I know people feel more comfortable being blunt with me because my personality is very open. And I am pointing to a bigger picture that impacts how everyone treats each other, not just LGBT employees. So, channeling my best Buzzfeed-esque list, here we go. These are the questions I am so very tired of answering (in general or when coming out):

I know I’m making this fun, but there’s an actual point.  This isn’t a lesson about “best practices for conversations with LGBT employees” or that kind of boring “thought leadership” crap HR professionals seem to love so much. It’s actually a reminder: be sensitive about the questions you ask. Seriously. Just show a little self-awareness and know that when you ask a personal question, it’s likely going to be taken personally.

And personally, I can tell you that just because you’re out of the closet doesn’t mean that you want that business blasted to everyone – believe it or not, being gay isn’t an open invitation for everyone to start snooping around about stuff that any straight employee would want kept in confidence, too.

Hell, I could probably write a whole blog post about the stupid questions that cross the Great Professional/Personal divide, but if you’ve ever filled out an online application or an engagement survey, you already know what I’m talking about. 

In case you haven't checked them out yet, here are a few other posts about coming out at work:

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