LGBC to hold talk on ‘Coming Out at the Workplace’

By Jen Bland

Tonight three panelists will be on campus to discuss issues surrounding “Coming out at the Workplace.” The discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Illinois Room of the Holmes Student Center.

One of the panelists is an NIU alumni who is currently a teacher, another is a man who currently works at NIU as computer support and the last panelist is a restaurant manager. Brian Turkaly, co-president of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Coalition (LGBC), said these people were chosen as panelists mainly because they were willing.

“The teacher should generate interest because people feel it’s a profession where it’s hard to be out,” Turkaly said.

Turkaly said the program will begin with a lecture of general issues and work into issues specifically pertaining to the work place. He said panelists will share their experiences and will open the floor for a question and answer session.

The LGBC has sponsored lectures before but never dealing with workplace issues. This lecture should be of interest to students who will soon be entering the workplace or people of the community who are currently dealing with these issues, Turkaly said.

Turkaly said these issues are important because some people feel there’s no reason to be out at work, but if you’re not social, people may dub you as antisocial or uninteresting. He said problems also arise when employees are discussing dating and lesbians or gays can’t say anything for fear of people harassing them. This discussion may also offer suggestions for what to do when people find out on their own.

“Students don’t know what to expect so this is a good way for them to find out what the situation is in different fields,” Turkaly said.

Kerri Price, co-president of the LGBC, said she hopes the discussion will allow gays and lesbians to see what kinds of things they will face. “Maybe it will help gays and lesbians decide whether or not to come out,” Price added.

Price said this is an important issue because when gays and lesbians decide on a career, they need to know what to expect. “If they’re out it’s important to be in a career where they won’t be closeted,” she said.