I am a support worker and I don’t know whether it’s the field of work I’m in or my own personality but I never felt that I had to hide my sexuality from my co-workers. On the other hand, I have felt unsure about being honest about my sexuality in front of the people I’ve supported who have learning disabilities and/or are under autistic spectrum.
This is mainly because I’m not sure how they are going to react and I’m unsure whether I should use myself as a teachable moment. I’m also don’t know what support I’d get from my employer if I faced discrimination from the people I support or their families.
I’ve had very mixed reactions when being honest about my sexuality to the people I’ve supported. One person was very accepting and would regularly ask how my husband was doing. Another wasn’t quite as open-minded and called me a puff which Iead to me having a chat with them about using politically correct terms.
I suppose the argument is do staff really need to be open about their sexuality in the workplace? If someone identified as straight, would they need to announce it to the people they supported?
I’ve decided that I’m going to nervously navigate the rocky waters and only reveal details of sexual identity and sexual orientation once I’ve found out more about the people I’m supporting. I feel that if we are to create an environment where it’s ok for someone to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, I need to show that it’s ok to be part of it too!