In my 20's, I worked with the same group of people for years, from one startup company to a larger, more established website. I knew most of these people inside and out, which tends to happen when you spend more time at your job then you do at home. However, it took me a long time to be able to open up to everyone about who I was dating. I used to say the same thing to coworkers as I did to my inquisitive 80 year old Jewish grandmother, "I'm just hanging out right now."
That excuse worked for many years, but towards the end of the time there, I found that I wanted, no, I needed to tell my psuedo work family about what I did on the weekend. I was sick of trying to make up places that I went to, movies that I saw, and women that I dated. All of my coworkers talked about their signifigant others, so why shouldn't I?
What happened next suprised me. Nothing happened. There wasn't really shock, but actually more support than I could have ever asked for. I didn't give these people, my friends, as much credit as I should have. It didn't matter to them who I dated, just as long as I was happy.
My story is pretty tame compared to others I have heard from friends. Could it have been the industry that I was working in? Possibly. I know many people who work in other sectors of the business world who wouldn't dare come out to their coworkers or bossess. Many friends work for conservative companies who aren't gay-friendly, and wouldn't even dream of offering a domestic partnership health benefit unless it was legally mandated. They have felt that if they did out themselves, there could be reprecussions to their job.
It's sometimes hard to feel out the work culture when you are applying for jobs, but there is one place you can go that might give you a heads up. Each year, HRC publishes "The Corporate Equality Index", a report that provides " an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees."
Like many of us these days, if you are looking for your next big adventure, I would highly recommend checking out the list. I wish every workplace was as welcoming as my old company, and the companies listed on the report, but I know that isn't the case yet, but I'm staying hopeful!