Forced out after mock shag
Mike described how "eventually I was forced to come out at work. It wasn't something that I had planned." About 1994 or 1995 he had gone to a gay bar in Manchester where he had met up with a friend that he hadn't seen for a number of years. They were very pleased to see each other, hugging and kissing, rolling on the floor, his friend "pretending to shag me - just to embarrass me, and generally messing around". Unknown to Mike he was seen by a colleague from Manchester who "was obviously worried that I'd seen him - he had no reason to be worried but he obviously was. On the Monday he went into the Manchester office... it must have been a defensive reaction on his part ... and he went round telling everybody that he'd seen Mike having a shag in a gay bar. It was a vain attempt to take the spotlight off him. You know what it's like with these guys. They go into a gay bar... they make out that they've had their bottoms pinched or that some guy's chatted them up. We all know it doesn't happen but they've got to have something that makes their experience more salacious than it really was." The gossip that he had been seen in the gay bar went round the Manchester office and then spread to the Birmingham office.
"And then one day, one of the girls in the Birmingham office ...she just...she did it nicely...she just said, 'Do you mind me asking, are you gay?' and I was quite taken aback. It wasn't a question I was prepared for so I answered her honestly and said, 'Yes I am' and she said, 'Oh right. That's okay' and her reaction was fine and from that point onwards one or two people discussed it and a few people said 'Oh I didn't know' and a few other people said, 'Oh I did. I knew all along' but you always get that... people who want to be cleverer than others... but I had no adverse reaction from the team. I think that that was because they had got to know me."
Contributed by: Mike