Someone I know, came out to me as gay recently.
She dropped the fact into the conversation as causally as you like, but both of us knew it was done anything but casually.
I picked the information up carefully.
I will say no more about her, it's not my place to
But I was asked ( eventually) how I coped with bigotry or discrimination in the workplace.
I told her this story.
Many years ago now I was the nurse representative in a weekly rehabilitation multidisciplinary meeting. Present was a cross section of the great and the good. 2 medical consultants, a social worker, a consultant psychologist, junior doctors, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist and a student nurse in training . Every professional knew the other very well and the forum was often a lively but honest collection of minds.
As we were wrapping up the meeting one consultant ( a man I admire to this day) made an off the cuff remark about a general discussion of being disappointed as a parent by one of your children. Unthinkingly he shared that the ultimate disappointment would be for him, if one of his children came out gay.
The psychologist sitting opposite to me opened her eyes very wide and gave me a look, as did several of the other staff, but as the consultant went on, I said nothing, got up quietly, with my papers and walked out of the room.
I needed to process what I had just heard.
I wasn't angry but I was disappointed and moments later , as I stood at the nurses station with a good half dozen staff, the consultant appeared in front of us.
" I need to speak to you" He said to me carefully
" Go ahead" I told him as all of the staff pretended to be doing things just within earshot.
He indicated with his head that I follow him towards my office but I didn't move and said
" We can talk here"
I wondered what was going to be said , so I was totally surprised when he unexpectedly gave me the most eloquent and moving apology I have ever received in my life.
Apparently after I had left the room, his fellow consultants and others had rounded on him.
There was a reason that I remembered this event to my friend.
Not only was it the only " discrimination problem" I ever experienced in my entire career,
It was one that I didn't have to battle myself.
I had a whole raft of people behind me.