#PRIDE What Do They Know? by Kelly Butler
As a freelancer, my most valuable asset is my reputation. My clients are almost all referrals. Word-of-mouth is how I put food on my table of one.
Years ago, I was at dinner. Some coworkers were talking about a woman who’d recently come out as bisexual. One friend said, “She was always a slut so I’m not surprised.” I remember that comment so vividly because it cut so deep. I thought, “This is what they’ll say about you.”
That one dinner kept me in the closet for another three years.
I confided in a lesbian friend for advice about coming out. She said I should prepare myself to not to be taken seriously by LGBTQIA+ or straight communities. She said that bisexuals are universally disliked by pretty much everyone because neither straight nor gay people consider them “one of us.” She also said I wouldn’t get dates because lesbians hate bi’s.
That one conversation kept me in the closet for another two years.
I didn’t want to go on a first date with a woman until I was out as I didn’t feel it was fair to them. So, in my mind there was only one thing left to do. Step off the cliff. For me, that’s what coming out felt like.
I flew home to tell my family. Then I made a list of close friends to tell, most of them also in my industry. I knew once I told them the secret would be out and I was petrified. I relied on colleagues to give me work and I had no idea how people would react.
However, after many long years of fear, honesty, tears, conversations, therapy and books, I finally went on my first girl date to “A Klingon Christmas Carol.” It was great :-)
As the years went on, the fears of not getting work never materialized. I used to wonder which colleagues knew. Eventually, I stopped caring because I knew— I knew in my soul that coming out was the right thing to do for me— and me knowing was all that mattered.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Kelly is a creative problem solver, word slayer and remote freelance team builder, currently double chin deep in a productive midlife crisis. She also heads up the Freelancing Females LA chapter. Kelly doesn’t believe that success is a straight line. That’s probably because Kelly currently lives in her little brother’s spare bedroom and drives her aunt’s 2006 Camry. If you wanna ride shotgun, follow Kelly at LinkedIn HOU> CHI> LA