How Do I Deal With A Messy Fem Co-Worker?

By OckyDub | Posted Jan 26 2015 | 24 Comments  

The Office FemThis week we tackle a common problem that many gay men have had to deal with in the work place….The Messy Fem Co-Worker.

Dear Ocky,

I’ve been a periodic reader of your site since the Discreet City days. I don’t engage in the ‘scene’ and your site has been my way of feeling comfortably connected. I am writing to you for your opinion and advice.  I do ask that you forgive me, for this will be a long read.  

I recently started a new job and I am trying to pay my way through grad-school. Things were going okay, until my 3rd day. I began to be ‘stalked’ by a fellow worker. Word got back to me that an individual (we’ll refer to as Gary) began to tell everyone that he was going to ‘get him’, referring to myself. Shortly after, he got brave and asked some fellow co-workers to pass me his phone number. Each time I would tear it up, throw it away and make it clear I’m not interested. He attempted this on 4 different occasions. 

Apparently lacking the ability of to take rejection, he then began to spread rumors about me. This really did not bother me at first; however, Gary began to ‘expose’ closeted males he claims to have slept with.  He has told his whole department (comprised mostly of women) and several other members who these individuals are and even showed personal pictures of these individuals.  One of these individuals has a girlfriend and a child.  Now, I have never had any communication with Gary and only see him in passing (which is rare, fortunately). The information about his exposing closeted men comes via water cooler talk.

The reason this bothered me so much is manifold. The biggest reason is that I, like many, have had several closeted friends who have struggled with this. I have even had a close friend attempt suicide several times and nearly succeeded due to his sexuality. So, the ‘exposing’ and the hypocrisy of the audience Gary seeks (an audience that condemns him behind his back) I find a bit disgusting. This honestly is just as bad as a guy sleeping with a woman and sharing intimate photos of her.

A little background information; I am not out. I’m a very private person to the point that I don’t share my political/religious views or even my middle name. I work for a locally owned company that’s large for its size. The department Gary works in is female dominated. What makes the situation difficult for me to find a professional way to handle it is that he is one of the ‘vicious’ fem-types. We are both African American males (as is Gary’s victims) located in the ever-so-progressive southern state (sarcasm) that is first in almost every negative title. I also work in a city that is ‘messy’ because the average person seriously has nothing to do nor strive for. I’ve come pretty close to wanting to punch Gary in the face, but that would end one of two ways for me: jobless, arrested for a hate crime; or forced out of the closet, arrested, and jobless still. The HR department is not worth its weight in bovine fecal matter. I’m not sure I can ignore the situation.

How would you handle such a situation? I honestly have enough on my plate and I just want to survive grad-school. The situation has gotten a bit crazy. Seriously, several guys have given him threats and he keeps going. 


Save me from this Vicious Fem

Dear Sir,

Blunt and to the point, you have to ignore it. You state “I’m not sure I can ignore the situation.” Why not? Sometimes we as men feel the need to defend our honor or masculinity when no defense is needed. You don’t owe anyone on your job site anything. At this point you have no other options. Do not spend any real time or energy feeding this beast. From your hints I can assume you are located in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia or South Carolina but if I had to guess I would say Mississippi. You are in grad school and working towards something better for yourself. Allow that to be the focus and ignore this distraction. You can’t punch dude in the face and you can’t go to your HR department because they are worthless. You have to ignore it.

Believe it or not, this situation is providing much needed experience on how to navigate office politics. The wonderful practice of ignoring fuckeries and making sure you stay above the gossip and rumor circles is that it will help build patience, determination and allows focus in more important areas. You say you barely have any contact with the dude so stop the negativity at the door and prevent it from entering. One thing you have to do is tell people to stop bringing or feeding you information. That conversation needs to start off or go a little something like this, “Hey work friend/associate, I don’t mind talking with you but I don’t want to hear anything else concerning Gary (the-vicious-office-queen) or any other gossip.” This may ruffle feathers but you don’t care because this job is only a stepping stone. This will also help set the tone that you will no longer deal with messy foolishness while at work. Be an example of how everyone else should be conducting themselves.

Speaking from first-hand experience, gay messiness comes in all forms; regardless of feminine or masculine. Also from experience (I grew up and still leave in the southern US) when you work in larger corporations or publically traded companies, you do have more leverage within HR departments versus smaller mom and pop operations. Nonetheless, where you live or work, you may come across vicious miserable gays who seem to take pleasure in gossip and outing men they may have had encounters with or have seen in the club. You can’t control gossip or rumor but you can control how it affects you, if it has already gotten past your defenses.

I know being what is considered “OUT” may come with a lot of baggage but at the same time we have to have a sense of self and self-confidence to where what others think as it pertains to our sexuality is somewhat meaningless or has little power in our lives. I hope this helps.

Have you had a similar experience; if so how did you deal with it? As always, feel free to give your own bit of advice to help out this young man and others who may be having comparable problems in the work place.

Be Cool and Take Our Advice


About the Author

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

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24 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. BlackguyExecutive | January 26th, 2015

    This sounds like an HR crisis waiting to explode. Every state has anti-harassment laws and this kind of action is just why those laws exist. This can probably be approached in to forms (1) sexual harassment and/or (2) hostile work environment. I know many states have no protections for gay workers so I would use caution going down the sexual harassment route. But it sounds like a hostile work environment for sure.

    I currently work in the Executive Offices of a Medium/Large private security company and we have had our fair share of problem employees, especially, entitled gays who think that they can get away with doing certain things because of their protected legal status. Well that is not always true especially when the “messy” gay is doing the harassing. I have a follow up question….my time in the military believes that every problem should be attempted to be resolved at the lowest level possible. Try directly talking to the “messy” and tell him to stop…that you are not interested and to move on. A lot of times that direct message comes across loud and clear. If that doesn’t work, I file a grievance.

  2. Nick Delmacy | January 26th, 2015

    I’ve heard 3 separate stories from people I personally know about how a messy feminine dude in the office either Outed them or made life difficult. This is a common dilemma, smh.

    • RolandG
      Rolandgarros28 | January 26th, 2015

      I know you’re fixated on the stereotypical fem dude in the office who outs masculine closeted men out of spite but in my experiences, I’ve seen just as many masculine dudes do crazy shit to their exes also. They may not leak nude pictures of the guy as they may be closeted themselves, but I’ve seen two gay and somewhat masculine dudes in my building break up and one couldn’t fake it to make it. He made it obvious that something was going on. Crazy shit like not speaking to the other dude when they passed after they had been “best buds” for so long, changing groups that they were in as if the dude that dumped him had the plague, canceling a corporate trip because the other dude was included. I mean he wasn’t overt with it but it didn’t take long for people to put two and two together and other dude was as good as outed. Not just a fem thing.

      • Nick Delmacy | January 27th, 2015

        Hmmmm….first off you say these guys are “somewhat masculine” as proof that “masculine” men act the same. Second off, all of the things you mentioned are subtle and happen even with two heterosexual women in the office who suddenly start disliking each other. I’m referring to the messy loud obnoxious feminine dudes who don’t know what the meaning of the word “subtle” means.

        • alton
          NYCforEVER | January 27th, 2015

          Exactly @Nick My job is FULL of effeminate guys. Muhfukaz consider me stuck up, arrogant, bourgeoisie, DL “Homothug” (laughable) etc, but I refuse to associate myself with them. Drama avoided is drama averted. And it’s fucked up, because I’m sure some of them are actually pretty cool but unfortunately some bad apples have given the whole bunch a bad name.

  3. RolandG
    Rolandgarros28 | January 26th, 2015

    @ocky hit the nail on the head when he said it’s best to just ignore it and let it go. I only say that because he’s not revealing intimate pictures of you in the office. True, there are anti-discriminate laws and sexual harassment laws but sometimes HR departments aren’t nearly as confidential as you would think and your complaints will most certainly get out to the general population. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve had HR personnel reveal private things to me about others.

    I would say follow ocky’s advice and ask your peers not to bring that type of gossip to you. This may also sound like elitism, but I would also suggest that you associate with those that currently sit in positions you aspire to be. I’m not saying inappropriate is nonexistent the higher up you go, but non of my colleagues go around revealing naked pictures of their sexual conquests. It sounds like you’re associating with the people on the bottom of the totem pole and these people don’t care who they offend because they’re not trying to make a career out of what they’re doing. I hate to hear stories of people in these situations but sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it without there being some kind of blow back whether deserved or not. Good luck on your career.

  4. ControlledXaos | January 26th, 2015

    I agree with the advice give here.

    Avoid and deflect any mention or hearsay that involves Gary. “I don’t want to hear any rumors about that individual.” and if there is any policy in your HR handbook that mentions anything about gossip, refer people that.

    A lot of ladies like to keep a “Good Judy” around just so that can be like “Guuurrrrrrllllll, did you see that picture of that dude Gary had on his phone? Chiiiile…. You can’t tell these days.” I can imagine each and every one of them call him ‘fag’ behind his back but these types love getting the attention and bragging about their ‘pieces’ to anyone who will listen.

    From this point on, every time Gary directly tries to interact with you, document it. The color of shirt he wore, the area of the company he tried to talk to you in… all of that. That way security could go back to the DVR and see that Gary did in fact follow you into the bathroom or break room.

    Email yourself to your personal email so that it’s dated and time stamped. This way, if things ever come to the point where you feel you are sexually harassed, you at least have something behind it to take to HR and a lawyer if it gets there.

    • alton
      NYCforEVER | January 27th, 2015

      LOL! Picture it…..{insert company name here}….customer service bay. The sound of keyboards clacking and ghetto birds yacking fills the air. 6′ 2″, brownskin, purty hur’, Dante (new employee) walks in. All heads turn and eyes immediately get low as the THOTs start plottin’. Queue Kiesha and Markell a.k.a. “Ebony” in the far corner….

      “YASSSS huney! Who-is-THAT? {overly mascara’d Bird eyes squinted with $3.00 Xang Ming Beauty Supply acrylic nails tracing across a butterfly tattooed titty} “Okaaaay gurrrrl! Thas that NEW boy Shonda up in HR was talkin bout last week. It’s some NEW trade up in this bitch Huney! Eeeeow! Thas my fyuchah HUSSSban’ Huney, Yassss!! Watch me work my magic huney”

      4 days later after constantly being ignored and rebuffed…

      “What happen gurl? You had? “Gurl please, he tired. Talkin’ bout HE aint intres’tid, talkin’ bout HE just hea to work, that he ain’t hea lookin’ fo’ no frien’s. Pssst, Chyle please. {eyes rollin’, legs crossed, and extra glossy lips pooched) That’s aight tho, I’ma show his ass, ignorin ME. Don’t NObody play Ebony, Huney.”

      And so a bitter ass bird results to the only thing he knows to counter rejection….drama.

      • ControlledXaos | January 27th, 2015



        But it’s true. That’s how these types roll.

      • Rhode | January 29th, 2015

        That is kind of funny, but a little over the top, even for a fem guy. But you get points for your dramatization.

        • alton
          NYCforEVER | January 30th, 2015

          Its really not so over-the-top, Bro. I’ve seen it firsthand enough times in many different jobs here in NYC and been told and overheard enough stories from both the perpetrators and victims to make me believe it’s not that rare of an occurrence.

          • Rhode | January 30th, 2015

            I stand corrected. After I typed my reply, I realized that you are New Yorker, or at least your moniker suggests as much. So I guess nothing is beyond the realm of possibility. Pardon this Ohio native his erroneous assumptions and chastising me gently for them.

  5. dashawn | January 27th, 2015

    this post reminded me of a similar situation that I went thru.
    4 years ago I started working for a local chain-operated grocery store as a cashier on the front-end of the store where its also female-dominated. there was 3 of us gays, 1 in particular was “out’ and obnoxious. he was favored by just about all the females in the workplace (including the ones in HR) primarily because he gossips, does hair, and is a “fashionista.” he would always target me for some reason. Making smart remarks, slick and derogatory comments toward me in front of an audience in an effort to strike up a laugh at my expense. Eventually I got tired of it so I took it to HR in which they only dealt with it in a casual manner. after learning that this dude just wont leave me alone, I ignored him…I even went as far as to ask our manager to schedule us around each other so we wouldn’t cross paths. eventually he was fired for poor job performance which confirmed to me that karma is very real…just be patient and let God separate the wheat from the tare.

  6. tigerbreaux
    Tigerbreaux | January 27th, 2015

    I agree with Ocky, but I’d even take it a step further: Just say no to co-workers. Altogether. Especially if you know that job is a stepping stone. You are not obligated to befriend your co-workers and it will honestly make your life easier if you don’t. Especially if you’re trying to live this super private life (which can be problematic in and of itself, but we won’t go there). Be cordial, be polite and respectful, but you can also politely tell them you don’t want to be involved in anything non-work related. Yes, some people may feel a way about it, but who cares.

    • BlackguyExecutive | January 27th, 2015

      Yes. I agree. I am just social enough with my coworkers to get things cordial but by no means are we friends. We are colleagues and that’s about it. I not really interested in hanging out after work or seeing you on my days off. That is a false dynamic that people thing you need to be friends with co-workers.

      I use to have this problem in my early days in the coast guard before I “came out.” All my shipmates were like why don’t you hangout with us? I would go to work and go home. It got so bad that my immediate supervisor told me if I wanted to be promoted I needed to make more friends…

  7. Ishmal
    Ishmal | January 27th, 2015

    I would say follow Ocky’s advice.

    The only sn I will offer is before you paint these “closeted” coworkers innocent and blameless and Garry as a bully in this micro-drama, keep in mind no one is innocent. He is not right for “outing” these men but none of us are privy to every conversation and interaction they have had and we don’t know if his lashing out is in response to them coming at him with negativity.

  8. budda | January 28th, 2015

    Just ignore him and keep doing your job. We all know that being in the gay community you have to deal with some messy people. The choose is simple don’t be messy and ignore the bullshit…

  9. senojrd | January 28th, 2015

    I’m actually going to take an additional approach to what Ocky and the majority of commenters posted here. I mean, the brotha said he doesn’t think he can ignore it. Gary is sexually harassing this guy and creating a hostile work environment and all the co-workers who helped pass along these notes were complicit in maintaining that hostile work environment. This has nothing to do with gay or straight. Make Gary a straight man and the writer a woman, and this is much more clear.

    So while I would go along with Ocky et al and ignore Gary, I’d also file a grievance like BlackguyExecutive suggested. In fact, here’s a draft of the letter I’d send:

    Dear Human Resources,

    I would like to file a formal sexual harassment complaint against Gary. He has created a hostile work environment through his repeated advances toward me and through perpetuating rumors about my sexual history after my repeated rejections of his advances. I am troubled by his actions and would like for immediate action to be taken so that I will be able to continue working in a less hostile, professional environment.

    Within my first week of employment, I received a note through a colleague from Gary. Included on the note was Gary’s personal phone number. I expressed to Gary that I was not interested in his advances. This occurred an additional three times, and each time, employees within this company were complicit in the repeated harassment by acting as couriers for Gary’s.

    After asking Gary and my colleagues to discontinue the back and forth that was taking place, I soon learned of rumors about my alleged sexual behavior and history that were initiated and perpetuated by Gary. The workplace is not a place for any discussion of ones sexual history, let alone ones history that another person knows nothing about.

    I really enjoy working for this company and am very honored and delighted to have been afforded such a great opportunity; however, I am terribly disturbed that I have to endure such inappropriate behavior from one of my colleagues. I ask that you give your attention to this matter and ask that an appropriate resolution be reached in the very near future.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. I will be in contact with your office within the next week to follow up on this matter. I sincerely hope that this could be handled as quickly and as confidentially as possible.

    Thank you again,

    • Ocky Williams | January 28th, 2015

      Here is why in my opinion he has to ignore it. Everything he knows about Gary (outside of him being gay) is all gossip and rumor and it could be false. He said he does not speak to Gary, rarely sees him only in passing. This means all the info he gets about Gary is all second hand from others.

      “Now, I have never had any communication with Gary and only see him in passing (which is rare, fortunately).”

      Like seriously, what if these are female co-workers just ‘tryin’ him? The first thing HR is going to say is “tell me exactly what Gary said or did to you?” Guess what…He has never communicated with Gary now what?

      This letter now turns into a possible false allegation against another employee.

      • tigerbreaux
        Tigerbreaux | January 29th, 2015

        Exactly, and not only that, since he said this was a small company, the odds of any complaints filed staying strictly confidential are highly unlikely, thus making the workplace even more hostile and the target on this man’s back even larger. At that point he’ll have no choice but to confront the situation or quit at that point.

        • ControlledXaos | January 29th, 2015

          This is why I suggested to record any ‘direct’ contact with Gary because it appears that Gary and the OP do not even work in the same department which would lead one to ask “Well, why are you guys even interacting in the first place?”

          Also, why I suggested he record any contact. Because when the ish goes down, those coworkers who gave him Gary’s number, will not say one word because they are not going to want to get involved then. They just wanted to stir the drama pot.

  10. budda | January 29th, 2015

    If Gary is not fucking with your money let this bullshit go. I am kind of in the same situation at my job but I really do not care. Work is for working and you never let someone who is messy fuck with your money. Who (Gary)is fucking is none of your business.Ignore this dude and remember no work environment is perfect.Put on your big boy pants and do your job or go find another job that provides the professional environment that you lack in this one.

  11. Confusing One | April 19th, 2015


    This post, and NYCforEver and Nick Delmacy’s stories do not give me hope. I am also about to getting ready to graduate from grad school and get back into the real world. In my jobs that I had after undergrad, there were no gay men (that I knew of), and certainly no black men. With that said, with my white coworkers, I was very pleasant at work but still kept to myself and very professional by ignoring gossip etc. I did not go to the bars after work, and minded my business. Allegedly that made me “intimidating” even to the straight white men. I am hoping to go to a large company after school where there will definitely have more black people/men just based on location. I assume this doesn’t happen with white gay workers?

  12. samespiritssamebody | October 5th, 2015

    I truly feel for the writer. I remember one of my first jobs as a manager being called out by someone who didn’t even work at my company. We just shared the same building complex. “Hey girl,” he would yell out whenever I was walking about with my staff. I was already out of the closet but using ‘girl’ the way he did was always colored with a demeaning, sneering affect. Now that was almost fifteen years ago, and I would handle him totally different today, in those days I felt targeted and couldn’t figure out a way to check him professionally and totally. However I do think, if any of you all have any compassion for our most swishy gay brothers, that for many a femme dude they have always had to be the target of oppression because they were too gay to go under the radar. I know that the bitterness of always being the visible gay could turn into being someone who targets other gays that are less demonstrative, are in the closet or otherwise not interested in taking up so much social space. I also think many masculine brothers have always been terrified from back in elementary school of that volcanic queen that knew you were gay too who might just blow up your spot! I think its that queen many of ya’ll need to make peace with.

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