For those that are unfamiliar June is Pride month.

The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world.

I'm planning on trying to take a couple of days off from work in order to attend a few Pride events. The main one being a parade that a friend will be marching in, in remembrance of the Pulse nightclub shooting where her partner's little sister was killed. I wasn't working where I currently work at the time, so my supervisor isn't aware of this.

Requesting time off where I work is always a little dicey. We run on a skeleton crew, so there usually isn't an extra set of hands to help when someone needs to take time off. To further complicate matters, I work in a county that doesn't offer explicit workplace discrimination protection for LGBT folks, and those protections wouldn't apply even if we had them because I work for a religious non-profit. I can technically be fired for being queer, although I think that's somewhat unlikely.

I'm "out" with a few close friends at work, but unfortunately my immediate supervisor isn't one of them. He's made some unkind/homophobic remarks in the past, so I've been hesitant to talk about my life outside of work with him. (One of those unfortunate things about passing privilege is that you get to hear what people really think.)

I've been considering just flatly coming out at work for months now, just because I'm tired of having to lie and avoid certain conversations. Namely conversations like "what did you do on your day off?" or "what are your plans for the holidays?" or "why haven't you moved closer to work yet?" But I'm also thinking that coming out in the context of asking for time off, probably isn't ideal. There are some differences between this and, say, asking for time off for an interview.

There are rules for extended leave, a week or more, but a single day or two is more discretion based. This would be unpaid leave, but they often try to force the use of paid time off in order to make sure it's all used by the end of the year.

I could of course put in a request for the days off without offering any reason at all, but requests like that tend to be denied. The supervisor always asks why I'm asking for time off in order to gauge how important it is...

I guess I'd like to hear from other folks who've had to walk this line in their workplace. How have you managed to successfully navigate these situations? Is coming out the only way to do this without lying?

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    @Tim Some of your edits make the answers confusing, please don't remove content that the answers specifically rely on. Be cognizant of that when editing. Additionally, please note that this site encourages questions to be very detailed, so removing the detail is harmful and goes against site policy.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 18:56
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    Just an FYI, as far as Stack Exchange policy goes, there's no such thing as "more on topic". If a question is on topic in two places, the OP gets to pick where it's posted. This isn't off topic on IPS, so unless apaul wants to have it moved to TWP, it's going to stay here.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 21:59
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    Just not sure I see much of an interpersonal aspect -- I'm sure OP's workplace has policies in place for time off, it shouldn't be personal?
    – jkf
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


It sounds like your boss is a little nosier than many, but you don't need to reveal details. I've used the following framing when I've needed to request days off but didn't want to say way (for example, because I had an interview scheduled with another employer):

I need to be able to take off $date for an important commitment that can't be rescheduled.

This is equally true for your pride event, your cousin's wedding, your school reunion, your sibling's court hearing at which you're testifying, or anything else. "Can't be rescheduled" is an important part of the phrase.

If your boss presses for details, you can truthfully say "it's a personal matter". Most people understand that that's signal for "I don't want to talk about it". (Don't say it's a "family matter" if that's not literally true, lest pictures of you at the march appear where your boss might see them.)


I can't address coming out, but as a woman in what was a vastly male (and misogynist) dominated field, I can empathize. When I went into premature labor (by months, mind you) during a shift in the Emergency Room, I called my boss to tell him I had to leave, and he told me to not only finish my shift, but to find my own coverage for the shifts I'd miss. He cursed, saying he knew this would happen if he hired a woman. I had to call his superior to get him to do his job as the director of the ER. That's only one example, but you might help you to know where I'm coming from.

Is coming out the only way to do this without lying?

No. You never have to lie, and if things at work are as you say they are, it won't help you get the days off if you do come out. So what do you do instead? Tell another version of the truth.

This is very important to me personally. I know things are tight here and that you need everyone to work (to meet deadlines/whatever the case is), but I really feel the need for these days off, and wouldn't ask unless it were important.

Only you can decide if you want to come out or not, but to use your orientation to get something you personally want might be seen not as brave or credit-worthy, but rather as unimportant to those who don't share your values.

My boss's prime objective was to run the ER with as much efficiency but as little hassle as possible. My prime objective was to save my pregnancy/baby. He saw my dilemma not in terms of real people and a life or death situation (for the fetus) but as a hassle for him. Clearly our values weren't aligned. Neither will your boss's and yours be aligned.

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    "...to use your orientation to get something you personally want might be seen not as brave or credit-worthy...." Very true. To elaborate on this, even in countries where sexual orientation is a protected category, if you're coming out in the context of asking for time off it might seem like you're trying to bludgeon them into agreement despite the detrimental effects on schedules/deadlines/projects. If you omit the potentially contentious and personal details and just handle the projects, deadlines, etc. so you can get time off without harm to the business, then everyone wins.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 5:37
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    @Steve - It's a lot better now for those coming in, but this story, though kinda startling in the insensitivity shown by the director, is mild compared to some of the stuff I had to endure from other doctors, especially during med school and my residency. I wouldn't have thought it believable either, but I lived it, so I know. Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 14:32
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    This (first paragraph) attitude shows he likely behaves in this same inhuman way with men, but feels they have no leverage to stop him. This is exactly why even as a guy I really don't like working in all-male environments. As for the quote, I wouldn't presume to edit, but I'm thinking poster's orientation isn't even on their main justification list with us, so why would it need to be there? Just mention the good friend's murdered sister and supporting the marching friend.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 18:38

One possible solution is in your question. Just tell them that you're supporting a friend at an event in memorial for her murdered sister and don't go into details.

That's the sort of thing that is likely to arouse interest so you can either say that you don't want to discuss it further out of respect to your friends loss...or alternatively you can say that her sister was killed in the Pulse shooting and you are attending the Pride event with your friend in memorial to her sister.

That makes the attendance of the event to be about the memorial and not about your personal sexuality and hopefully will make it more acceptable to people. It may lead to awkward questions about your orientation, which you should think ahead of time about how you intend to answer, but is an entirely reasonable motivation for you to attend the march.

None of this is a lie, you are just sharing as much of the truth as feels appropriate without telling people things that are none of their business.

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