I work for a global tech company as an engineer. I was working in the UK up until very recently until I moved (with the company) to the Netherlands. Both countries are very tolerant to the LGBT community. However, we also operate in countries that are less tolerant (such as areas of the US). I don't make an effort to hide - if someone asks, I'll usually say. The same with people asking about boyfriends and so on - I'll just correct and move on. No big deal.


The situation is that my boss feels it is appropriate to out me as gay to anyone she meets in the company. This has been via email, weekly stand-ups etc. I've brought it up with her before, trying to explain that I am not comfortable with this. In particular, I am not happy that she is outing me to our US colleagues. It is also not her business and frankly, I'm astounded that she feels it appropriate to share this. I purposefully did not tell her for a long time and would dodge any questions she asked.

I am not sure what to do here.

I am hesitant on involving HR at this point, especially after moving to a new office (this involved signing a new contract - I have no probationary period on this contract and have a continued service clause).

I have tried to subtly bring it up to her that I am not comfortable with this but she says that she doesn't even consider it to be an issue as 'she is so okay with it'.

How can I get my boss to stop outing me to colleagues and understand why this is a problem for me? Any guidance would be great here as I am not sure what to do, and am not sure if this is a legal issue or not (especially as I have moved country during this time).

  • 59
    She says she is okay with it, but her behavior clearly says the opposite.
    – LP154
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 8:45
  • 126
    @EdwinLambregts I think people understand the issue just fine. I'm not gay but I would be uncomfortable if my boss told everyone that I'm attracted to petite blond women (just an example, not necessarily true). Regardless of specifics, a manager bringing up sexual preferences of a subordinate is grossly inappropriate (in most industries).
    – user29390
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 10:42
  • 22
    Has she ever explained why she feels the need to out you to everyone? If it is such a non-issue for her, then in theory it shouldn't occur to her to tell people.
    – David K
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 11:48
  • 91
    Out of curiosity, how are you being introduced? Like "Also on the line is Dax, he's our gay senior network engineer."
    – LVDV
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 13:56
  • 78
    I think your boss think it's "cool" to know a gay person. The only thing I don't understand : when and how does she mention you're gay in e-mails and stand-up meetings. When is this "on-topic" in work-related e-mails. I've never, in my 20yr carreer, seen a mail where the relational status of an employee is mentioned.
    – pistach
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 14:26

15 Answers 15


You need to tell your boss in no uncertain terms that she should not be outing you.

Try something like:

I'd appreciate it if you didn't mention my sexual orientation to other people. It's a sensitive subject and if I feel that I want to let other people know, I'll tell them. Please leave that decision up to me.

If that doesn't work you may have to escalate, perhaps by requesting a formal meeting with the two of you and HR to discuss it. A meeting rather than a complaint. HR should be able to offer your boss some advice at that time.

  • 38
    I might also add in something to butter her up "I know that me being gay is a non-issue for you, and I am very grateful for how supportive you are. However..."
    – David K
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:00
  • 162
    @DavidK I wouldn't butter anything. This person doesn't need a gentle nudge - they need a firm pushback. I'd appreciate it... is a request. What they need is to be told firmly - this is not a request. OP needs to firmly insist that they stop doing this now. The gentle approach has failed.
    – J...
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:03
  • 10
    @DavidK Might be a good approach in some cultures (maybe even in most), but I would advise against it in the Netherlands. We are well known for being direct. "I'd appreciate it..." is fine. If that does not work, be more demanding. *disclaimer: This is off course still a generalization, that is more true in some regions then in others, but it is a well deserved stereotype.
    – Jeroen
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:36
  • 12
    @Jeroen and J.., I'm not saying the OP shouldn't be direct. I'm suggesting adding that in addition to the direct statement. If it were me, I would probably say "I know that me being gay is a non-issue for you, and I am very grateful for how supportive you are. However, please stop telling everyone that I'm gay. It is my decision who I want to be out to and when. I'm not asking you to hide it or pretend you don't know, but I also don't want you to announce it either."
    – David K
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:43
  • 18
    @J... I might be making an assumption here, but if someone quickly announces to everyone that someone is gay, and when asked about it says it's not a problem because "they're so ok with it", I imagine they're overly concerned about being intolerant. Telling them point blank that OP acknowledges their well-placed intentions might help them be more receptive to what OP has to say, instead of just preparing to defend themselves. Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:56

She says it isn't an issue for her. But it understandably is for you, and rightly so - her decision to openly raise this is completely illegal. Sexual Orientation is treated the same as race, gender or age discrimination, it is protected by LAW as it is called a Protected Characteristic, within the EU. She wouldn't out you based on your religion or race, but yet she is doing this based on your sexual preferences - it's the same thing.

What your boss is doing is a form of discrimination and, as you surmise, could potentially invite discrimination and/or harassment due to your sexual orientation, which is illegal.

Her stance that "she's ok with it" is somewhat questionable, as that seems slightly suspect to me. Regardless of her thoughts on the matter - it certainly doesn't make it OK for her to discuss this. At all.

I appreciate your reluctance to do you, however other than a direct request to her, the only other option you have is to talk to HR immediately, they will take stuff like this seriously. As you have already asked her to stop, and she is ignoring your request "because she doesn't have a problem with it" - then you need to escalate this up the chain. Involving HR is the next logical choice. Irrespective of what she thinks, outing you against your wishes is unacceptable.

From your initial post, I feel that this has been happening before you transferred, rather than after the transfer. Is this the case?

  • 25
    Can you add some reference for saying that this is illegal? In which country? OP says they were in the UK but are now in the Netherlands.
    – David K
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:01
  • 24
    "She wouldn't out you based on your religion" - so is letting caterers know that an employee eats Kosher or Halal illegal discrimination in your universe? I've never heard a suggestion that simply mentioning a protected characteristic could be de facto illegal discrimination in any jurisdiction, ever; the closest thing to that I know about is common HR guidance in the US not to ask about such characteristics in interviews, to avoid any appearance of discriminating on the basis of the characteristic - but that falls short of a mentioning protected characteristics being innately illegal.
    – Mark Amery
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:20
  • 31
    @DavidK It is most definitely illegal in The Netherlands. Where I work someone was fired last year for exactly this. You don't "out" someone else.That is harassment.
    – Tonny
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:24
  • 18
    @MarkAmery Of course mentioning it when appropriate or relevant (like your food-preferences example) is not illegal. But the key-word here is appropriate/relevant. Blabbing to everyone in sight "hey look at my colleague here, she is a lesbian" for no good reason at all is harassment and possibly discriminatory as well.
    – Tonny
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:28
  • 14
    @DavidK If the boss is not referencing other people's orientation, only Dax being gay, then this is discriminatory - and thus illegal. Of course, if the boss goes around doing the same for everyone ("Dax is Gay, Sisko's straight, Garak's asexual and Rom is married to an alien") then that's highly unprofessional, but any potential illegality would fall under Data Protection policies for protected characteristics Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 13:06

There is a concept in linguistics called implicature. This is based on the fact that when we say something, not only the content of the words, but the fact that we are saying it communicates meaning. By saying that you are gay, your boss is communicating not merely that you are gay, but that she thinks that it is relevant. Someone in the comments compared this to telling a caterer that someone keeps kosher, but that does not have the same implicature. Telling a caterer that someone keeps kosher has little implicature beyond "You should have non-kosher options". Randomly telling people that you're gay has the implicature that identifying gay people is important.

My next paragraph is going to present what I have surmised is going on. This is what I think likely is the case; I by no means am assuming that it definitely is the case. Rather than qualify each sentence, please mentally prepend "likely" to the following sentences.

You don't object to people knowing you are gay. You at some level realize that your boss is not merely telling people that you are gay, but implicitly asserting that it is important that they know that you are gay, and it is this that makes you uncomfortable. While you have detected this implicature, you aren't fully consciously aware that you have ascribed a meaning other than the literal one. When you talk to your boss, you object to her literal statements, and you implicitly consider yourself to be objecting to her implicature. However, you boss is insisting on addressing your objections merely on the literal level. You are trying to tell your boss that there's something wrong with the idea that it's important for people to know that you are gay, and your boss is, rather than addressing that issue, simply insisting that she doesn't think there's anything wrong with you being gay.

You need to take this implicit implicature and make it explicit. Instead of saying to your boss "I don't like it when you tell people that I'm gay", say "I don't like it when you tell people that it's important that they know that I'm gay". She will then likely deny that she has said that, so you'll have to have a discussion about how language actually works.

What she is doing is discrimination and sexual harassment. If she insists on continuing, a complaint to HR is warranted.

  • 4
    I came here pondering the philosophical issue of whether someone should keep a secret for you in which you state you openly share that secret. This answer captures the issue formally in the first paragraph. Nice argument!
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 20:32
  • This clearly sets out the miscommunication that has occurred. Addressing that is the best way to resolve the issue without escalating, assuming the boss has good intentions.
    – D Drmmr
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 10:56
  • Logical answer!
    – xyz
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 12:12
  • 4
    If your boss doesn't understand the ideas in this answer, refer to your boss as your heterosexual boss so they can hear how weird that sounds.
    – zahbaz
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 22:06
  • 1
    This is not sexual harrassment. Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 11:40

It does not seem like she is doing it with bad intentions; I would rather think that she believes that she is even trying to make sure you know "you are protected".

I would approach this directly to her. Not subtly, directly. Make a stand to make sure she understood that:

  • You don't want her to talk about your sexual orientation. It is your privacy and right to tell about it to whoever you want to.
  • She should consider the fact that if it was as normal to be gay as to be heterosexual she wouldn't be saying it; unless she mentions "hey, here is Robert; he is hetero, FYI". That probably does not happen, does it?
  • 6
    I would upvote this twice if I could. I wonder if it's just my imagination, or are there not a lot of questions saying "I have tried to subtly bring up" something, and then the questioner seems to be stumped when it didn't work? Not everyone understands subtle, and sometimes it can be interpreted in more than one way, so if subtle doesn't work, try clear and direct! Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 8:07
  • 2
    Not seeming like it's said with malicious intent doesn't matter, the OPs manager shouldn't be doing it, regardless of their intentions.
    – MattR
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 12:29
  • 2
    I agree that not everyone understands subtle. Subtlety is definitely the wrong way to go in the Netherlands. The Dutch are famous for being blunt and direct with each other and they expect you to say what you want directly without any sort of subtle hinting. Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 16:29
  • Intention is irrelevant.
    – xyz
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 12:10
  • @xyz Oh, is it? So much for being nice. I like people being nice. Sometimes people don't know how to be nice. I like them trying anyway.
    – Mr Me
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 12:33

Building on the already excellent answer from Accumulation:

What did you imply by saying that I was gay?

What if you had said:

"By the way, in case you didn't know. Dax is white." Now, do you realize how weird that sounds?

And yes, I realize that you didn't mean anything by it.

In fact, I'm not blaming you, I'm only wanting that you stop doing it.

Again, I agree with that explanation, but I still want you to stop doing it.

Again, I want you to stop doing it.

Following the advice of Manuel J. Smith from his book When I Say No, I Feel Guilty

The part in bold is the "broken record" technique. It's not meant to be annoying. But it's meant to keep on going on forever until the other person gives up. And it's worded as a want because no one can claim to know what you want better than you do.

The part in italics is called the "fogging" technique. The idea is that you latch on to any kernel of truth that you can find into what the other person is saying and accept it. It could be part of an explanation, an excuse, an insult, it doesn't really matter. You can usually find a kernel of truth into what they're saying. And whatever rock they throw at you, you behave just like the fog and you accept it.

But here is the important part, you accept part of what the other person is saying, but you don't stop there, in fact, you never stop there, you always keep on going with your broken record afterward.

And that throws the other person for a loop. Usually, they're used to manipulate people by arguing a point and winning that point. But they don't know what to do once the person keeps on agreeing with their points (or part of their points), but still refusing to give up on the larger desired action.

But even if that doesn't work for you, or if you just get fed up with the discussion.

You could just say:

Now will you stop bringing this up, or do I need to talk to HR about this issue?

I was hoping not to have to talk to HR, but if we can't break this impasse ourselves. It may be good to bring in a third party.

But please don't bring up this last option as a bluff. If you bluff, she may just call you out on it. If you say it and if she calls you on it, you must follow through with it and contact HR.

There are some people that are so stubborn, they'll shoot themselves in the foot no matter what. If you're dealing with such a person, it's not your behavior that caused them to get in trouble, it's their stubborn behavior that caused them to get themselves in trouble.

None of what happens after that is your fault.

  • 1
    I'd argue that the whole point of the broken record is to be annoying, because that way people will get the message through their (presumably thick, if you're resorting to it) skulls. The big key with that is that, if they protest -- "but Jessie is okay when I point out that he's gay", "I'm not a homophobe", "I have gay friends", whatever excuse they use -- you use the same line. Don't rephrase it. Just repeat the exact words over and over and eventually they'll pay attention, if only to make you shut up about it.
    – anon
    Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 21:13
  • 2
    @NicHartley Actually, I made a mistake, I'll need to rewrite that part. It's possible to take the "broken record" metaphor too literally and to start sounding like a child (or an actual broken record) during those discussions. As a boss dealing with a subordinate, sounding like a child might not be a big problem. But as a subordinate dealing with a boss, if you start sounding like a child, your boss will start treating you like a child and that's definitely not what you want. In other words, you can be annoying, but up to a point, otherwise, that may backfire. Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 6:26

She doesn't consider it an issue? If I was in your place, I would consider it an issue, and I would consider it sexual harrasment. What matters if whether you consider it an issue, her opinion counts for nothing. That's a basic principle in all harassment cases: It doesn't matter whether the perpetrator considers it to be harassement, what matters is what the victim thinks.

Talk to HR. Tell them that you repeatedly told the woman that you want her to stop, and that she refused to. You might tell her first that you will complain to HR about her if she ever does this again, but the fact is that she is your boss, she should know better, and if your boss (not any random coworker) does this, HR is always the appropriate place to go.

  • 4
    In the US, outing someone at work is sexual harassment. Not sure about the UK. Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 13:32
  • 13
    "That's a basic principle in all harassment cases: It doesn't matter whether the perpetrator considers it to be harassement, what matters is what the victim thinks." - That is simply untrue; what matters is if something is considered harassment under the applicable rules or laws. For example: if a co-worker simply says "hi" to me every day they arrive at the office, and I feel that's harassment, that doesn't mean it would be ruled as harassment by HR or a court judge. Harassment cases can be quite complicated, and defining it as "it only matters what the victim thinks" is misplaced.
    – marcelm
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 11:27
  • 2
    (note: I'm not saying the case of the OP is or isn't harassment, and I'm not saying harassment shouldn't be taken seriously - I'm arguing with your blanket statement)
    – marcelm
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 11:28
  • 4
    It doesn't matter whether the perpetrator considers it to be harassement, what matters is what the victim thinks. Absolutely untrue, and one of the more horrifying 1984-esque claims that have risen up in recent culture. The law and company policy dictates what harassment is, not what you feel. Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 19:30
  • 3
    @Vector The OP can be fired for suing their boss; that's not "raising a valid complaint", because that requires going to HR. Also, really? The boss should lose their livelihood -- and probably struggle to get a job in the future, for a very long time -- because they're doing something that they don't realize is bad? If you attribute to malice what ignorance could explain, you'll meet a lot more evil people than there really are. Of course, it's possible that the boss is aware, in which case you're absolutely right, they should be fired. If that's the case, they'll push back.
    – anon
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 14:36

Hoi Dax, welkom in Nederland.

As a Dutchman I can tell you that being gay here is widely accepted. There are also many laws and regulations to make sure that you can be whoever/whatever you want to be, it's up to you.

What's not OK here is what your boss is doing. Someone in the comments asked whether your boss does it out of pride or spite, in Holland: it doesn't matter. It's even illegal for her to do what she's doing without your express permission.

To help you out some additional information, I hope you've been upping your Dutchness ;)


You worte that our boss also outed you via e-mail. I suggest, after the next mail in which you are outed, you reply (to your boss only) with:

Dear boss, I appreciate you introducing me to X. As we've discussed previously, please don't include my sexual orientation in these introductions. Thanks and kind regards, Dax

This gives you a paper trail should you decide to go to HR with the issue and tells your boss that there is a paper trail.

If you don't want to wait for the next outing via e-mail, talk to her and summarize the points important to you in a short e-mail:

Dear boss, thanks for the quick meeting just now, let me summarize:
It is not acceptable to me to be outed by someone else in a professional setting, the decision to disclose - or not - my sexual orientation or other personal information to a client, partner or contractor mus be left to me.
Something nice about your boss
You're happy to do your part in maintaining professional relationships to clients/partners

I would guess that, without spelling HR, the fact that you create a paper trail will be understood as a warning shot by your boss. If that fails, or rather if your boss fails again, this will help you in dealing with HR.

  • 4
    Paper trails are inestimably valuable if ever there are downstream effects to one’s professional life as a result of fallout from this situation. It is much easier to show the email trail than to try to paint the entire picture of the situation using just memories. The second email after the first reinforcing the request will be as important if not more than the first - because it becomes the evidence that the boss ignored the first when/if they never respond. Of all things get an email trail.
    – Praxiteles
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 1:43

I am not a lawyer.

In most data privacy laws sexual preferences are a "special category" of private information so you absolutely have the legal right not have that information shared. Your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability to do your job so it is completely irrelevant to any company announcements. There is little to restrict any recipient of those emails from sharing that email further (perhaps innocently because they want to share some other aspect of the email).

If she says that she is comfortable you can say that you're glad that she's comfortable with your sexuality but you're not comfortable with the information being shared as you want to retain the freedom to choose who knows that private information. If pressed you don't need to justify your stance just reiterate that you'd like her to respect your wishes because it makes you uncomfortable.

If that still doesn't work you should look for another approach, you are probably best placed to decide whether going to HR is the best approach. If you know someone in HR perhaps you could have a face to face or telephone conversation with them and ask them what to do, you can ask them not to do anything without asking you first.


In the workplace, when people share things about me that I wouldn't want shared so openly, I warn them about their behaviour, no matter who, as soon as possible. This has worked every time I used it.

One situation that I recently encountered was about my weight. It's no secret that I have gained weight and that I'm doing it to avoid certain compulsory service requirements in my country. Though, this is something I don't like to share with people I don't like.

The HR has such people and one day, one of our most experienced and somewhat older members have told about this matter to the person in HR. It wasn't a malicious behaviour though, it's just that I didn't answer their question about why I gained weight and he felt the need to explain.

Right after the person from HR was gone I have told him "Mr. X, please refrain from telling anything about me to the HR in the future. It's an important matter to me." and he understood and replied affirmatively. Ever since, he has not told a thing about me to the HR.

Anyway, the point is, if you want a certain behaviour from someone, you need to tell them that it is important to you and what you want them to do about their behaviour. If you do and they still insist that they're right to do what they're doing, or in your case that they have no problem with it, then the issue should be escalated, within the company or out of the company, as necessary.


I find, as a rule of thumb it's best to not piss off your boss even if you're completely right. So I agree with the answer by 'User' but also with @David.

I had a teacher years ago who taught us the "Shit Sandwich" technique: when you have to deliver something potentially unpleasant, wrap it in two positives. Maybe...

"It's great that our workplace is so open and understanding...
So I need to respectfully ask that you STOP discussing my sexuality with people...
I'm really happy we have the kind of work relationship that I can talk to you about this."

Another expression that comes to mind is, "you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

  • 1
    You don't. (Obligatory xkcd link.)
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 19:00
  • @wizzwizz4 omg, how have I never seen xkcd before? I know what I'm doing for the next hours... thanks.
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 0:21
  • Start with this one; it seems appropriate.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 6:40

Alternative Solution:

Send the boss a link to this page!

It will show that you're serious about this being a concern, as well as the fact that you want to handle it in a professional manner and that you're worried about the boss's reaction if you brought it up.

Possibly best of all, the opinion isn't even coming from you; your boss will be presented with the opinion of a "random sampling" of Stack Exchange users, and then be able to make her own decision how to react!

Perhaps it's a slightly passive-aggressive approach, but I actually think it's one worth considering and could be appropriate in this case.

  • This would be really effective if the manager happened to stumble upon it (say, by noticing it on the Hot Network Questions list) but sending it directly is probably less so.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 18:58
  • @wizzwizz4 How would it be less effective? Some of these answers are almost suggesting that the OP be flat-out rude to the boss in order to get the point across.
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 0:15
  • I have a feeling that that would make the boss start off with a cross emotion which would not work well. Also, instead of the behaviour where the boss knows that the OP probably doesn't know that the boss has read it, the boss will exhibit the behaviour of somebody who believes they are expected to change their behaviour which puts on additional pressures which might cause the boss to react strangely, even in the opposite way.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 6:34

I agree with other answers that you need to direct about this. You could also ask her what she would think if the next time you are in a similar situation, you introduced her by saying: "Hi, I'd like you to meet my boss. She's straight."

Hopefully, the obvious awkwardness of this hypothetical introduction would drive home the point to her.

  • 7
    "She says she is straight".
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 20:50
  • 2
    Not that I'd do it and certainly not recommend doing, but adding something like "I believe she's straight, but given it's no-one's business I don't think that it's appropriate to mention to other people when I first meet them" would get the point across rather succinctly.
    – Jane S
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 0:45
  • 4
    A mentor once said, be assertive before you need to be aggressive. This approach could be viewed as passive-aggressive and gives away the moral high ground of the OP. This could definitely sour the relationship in the workplace.
    – Praxiteles
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 1:48
  • @gnasher729 -Honestly, my first though on reading the question was that the boss is overcompensating for her own closeted self-shame.
    – ashleedawg
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 6:40
  • @Praxiteles For some reason, I thought she had tried the direct approach and it hadn't worked. Rereading the question, that is not the case. Editing to reflect that the direct approach should be used first
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 14:41

Before the following:

  • if it exists ask your worker representation at your company

I think there should be some clarification on where the conflict could going. I would send a mail (BCC HR, and CC her boss) - take care that no information on you being gay is contained like:

My sexual orientation is personal information. You obtained knowledge in your function as my manager, and I would not have shared it if i knew that i would become a topic of your exchanges with persons outside the company. If my manager comes across personal information about me, I expect confidentiality. Storing/sharing it electronically by email is directly in the realm of regulations imposed by the GDPR. I do not and did not give my consent that this information would ever be stored electronically on our email server or your personal computer, neither that it would be shared with anybody (not even inside the company); even less people who i have no direct work or personal relationship to. It is not only highly irrelevant to the business purpose and makes us look nonprofessional in my eyes; it directly makes me and potentially others personally feel uncomfortable. Moreover it may affect my reputation, leading to a direct economic disadvantage for me. Since you don't typically include the information about heterosexual employees in the email that they are heterosexual, I also consider it a discriminating behavior.

In our previous conversations you seem to have failed to understand and acknowledge my authority over my personal data and the potential impact which this may have on my career, your career, the relationship with our customers and the company. So i ask you to respect the boundaries which I determine here. Please moreover take care not to continue to violate my personal sphere when quoting or forwarding your old emails for any purpose. I hereby demand that emails containing this information are made unavailable to the extend practically economically possible.


First advice

Don't talk about you being gay at work. In an ideal world, you would be able to talk about it without anyone judging you or think it is an abnormality. But you are not in an ideal world, so when someone asks about your personal life and you don't trust him/her enough, say something like "I'm sorry, but it's not work-related" or "I'm sorry, but it's not your business". If you talk about it like it's not a big deal (and it shouldn't be), there will always be someone like your boss that will find it weird and disclose it to everyone.

Second advice

Document every mail your boss sent. Talk to her. Tell her you are not confortable with her telling personal informations to everyone. If she jokes about it, tell her you are feeling harassed and be firm about this. If she doesn't stop, go to HR and file a complaint. It is harassment, and you should not let it go.

  • 2
    Maybe sexual harassment is a little "strong" but it is, IMO, a form of harassment that should not be ignored. I will edit out "sexual" from my answer
    – LP154
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 9:31
  • 7
    @KingGraham What this woman does meets my definition of sexual harrassment spot on. What would she say if the OP told everyone how often she has sex, and with him? Your sex life is nobody's business unless you decide to tell them.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 9:38
  • 8
    Downvoted. The advice should never be to hide your sexuality, it's a protected attribute and a core part of who you are. No-one should have to avoid the normal types of conversation people have about their families and relationships. The problem is entirely with other people and they are the ones who need to modify their behaviour.
    – user
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 10:38
  • 4
    Telling people "This is not work related and none of your business" probably won't go over well in the Netherlands.
    – Erik
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 10:56
  • 6
    -1 Telling the OP not to talk about being gay is just as bad as telling the OP they should go around telling everyone. For many gay people who have been in the closet for most of their lives, it is unimaginable and emotionally painful to even consider hiding who they are again. This is NOT YOUR DECISION. Deciding who to be out to is a personal decision that every gay person has to make and will vary from person to person.
    – David K
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 11:58

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