People didn't come out at work in the 80s
Mike talked about his experiences of being gay at work in Birmingham
compared to Manchester. "The dynamics were different
in Birmingham because I was the manager and therefore had
to maintain a distance about my private life, although actually I hadn't discussed my sexuality in the Manchester
office either. I think that being out in the office is something
that's much easier to be now and something that's probably changed only
in the last ten years or even less. Certainly in the eighties and the
early nineties declaring your sexuality in the office (coming out at work)wasn't something
that many people did, not that I was aware of and it might not have
been quite so easy even 15/16 years ago as it would be today but in my
situation as a person who was trying to get this office up and running
it wasn't something that I wanted to do and therefore I didn't. I
wasn't asked any questions and that's how it remained for a few years.
My private life was a separate matter. However, having said that, I
never lied, I never pretended that I was going down to John Bright
Street because in those days there was no Broad Street. Broad Street
was just a road of offices and a few factories. In those days the
straight night life in Birmingham centred on John Bright Street. I
certainly didn't pretend that I was going down on a Saturday, that I
was chatting up girls. I was neutral. I said nothing."
"I think if you meet people for the first time, I don't think you should wear your sexuality on your sleeve and the reason I say that, it's not out of any sense of shame at all but who else wears their sexuality on their sleeve. Why do you have to declare what your sexual preference is. I think you should allow people to get to know the real you without there being any barriers and then six months down the line or a year down the line if they do find out or you choose to tell someone about your sexuality at least they've had that opportunity to get to know you first."
Contributed by: Mike