Quote from smartnurse1982
I don't understand why this would come up tbh.I don't let anyone know anything about me,its none of their business.I'm not a lesbian,and I'm not sure anyone would find out. Just because someone doesn't have a boyfreind or inst married does not = gay.I might be a nun,who knows?There are lots of nuns who are nurses in my area.
It can come up when everyone is talking about holiday plans, and you plan to go visit your girlfriend's family but are unsure how to refer to them. Do you lie and say you don't have plans? Do you say you are visiting distant family, your roommate's family, your fiance's family? Fiance is good because when spoken, it sounds the same for either male or female partner, but then you get questions like what does he do for a living?
and now you either lie, come out, or play the pronoun game. (This is a [sarcasm] SUPER FUN [end sarcasm] game where you talk about your partner normally but avoid using any specific pronouns.)
That's just a recent example, but a lot of small talk centers around family and/or home life. And if you're single or dating, it can be easy to hide your orientation. If you've been with a partner for a long time, and all your co-workers are talking about the awesome, or sweet, or ridiculous things their husbands did - it can be hard to not chime in with a story of your own.
The OP also mentioned her unit is close, and coworkers often meet up after work to hang out and chit-chat. Keeping quiet in that situation can be ostracizing.
Located in the South presents additional stickiness. People on the whole are generally very accepting, especially if they get to know the person first and then learn about the sexual orientation. But all it takes is one person with a nasty attitude, and a willingness to file multiple complaints or accuse you of impropriety - and then sexual orientation can be cause for dismissal. Does it happen often? No. But it does occasionally still happen. In my state, sexual orientation was REMOVED from the protected list about 5 years ago. Companies may have different policies, and usually are more liberal. But legally, the South can still cause problems.