Dear G Philly: Answering Reader Questions

You ask. We tell.

I just started a new job at the end of last year and am trying to find a way to gently come out at work. From what I can tell it’s a friendly place, but definitely a corporate environment. I’m a little nervous because it’s the first time I’ve ever worked with people who don’t already know I’m gay. But when they talk about their husbands, wives and children I feel like I’m holding back. Is there a right and wrong way to approach the subject?

Congratulations on nabbing a new job in a tough economy. As you may already know, there is currently no federal law that protects against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation on the private level. But you’re in luck since Pennsylvania does have laws that protect many gays and lesbians from losing their jobs over issues of sexual orientation. So assuming that you are not in any danger, sharing personal information with people at work can be done pretty casually.

Try adding something personal to a conversation by mentioning a boyfriend or significant other. If you’re flying solo and being subtle isn’t your thing, then perhaps you can simply share your orientation with a co-worker you get along with well in the office. Chances are you aren’t the only gay there. You may find that when someone knows more about you, you’ll start meeting other gays and lesbians – and their friends – making you, hopefully, feel more at home (and honest) at your new job.

You may also want to look into whether your company has any LGBT groups to join, which is becoming more common in even the most “corporate” of environments.

I’ve been visiting the Gayborhood for more than a decade, partying with the best of them. But I recently met someone who means a lot of to me – and may become my Mr. Right. I’m hoping to find a great date destination that’s in the Gayborhood but isn’t one of the usual places. The last thing I want is to run into a million friends during a date night. But I also want to patronize a restaurant where I feel comfortable and accepted. Any suggestions?

Philly is actually a really great town for foodies of all sexual orientations. If I were you, I wouldn’t limit myself to just a few city blocks. Just because a destination is outside the Gayborhood doesn’t mean it’s gay-unfriendly. I would look into restaurants around town that support gay events and employ gay people. You may find that many are gay-owned and employ gay chefs and staffers. The chance of running into gays you know is reduced drastically when you step outside of the old stomping grounds. Who knows? You may even make some new gay friends along the way.

To find the right place that will presumably knock his (and your) socks off, decide what you’d like from the menu and atmosphere. Are you looking for something casual and fun (Continental, The Dandelion or Distrito)? Are you interested in trying new cuisines (Tinto, Amada or even a visit to Chinatown)? Or do you prefer something more intimate and low-key (there are dozens of BYOBs around town)?

South Philly is also proving to be a pretty popular place for LGBT people, especially the area centered on E. Passyunk Ave. where you’ll find an eclectic mix of cuisine. And Northern Liberties also has a slew of eateries that push the gastronomical limits with small plates and creative cuisines that appeal to diverse customers from throughout the region.

When all else fails you could always ask Mr. Right if he has a favorite dining spot and go there. Just try to avoid those favorite gay watering holes along the way and you may find that with new love comes some fresh culinary adventures, too. Bon appetit!