Business Owner Embraces Being Out and Proud.

by Aurelio Giordano

My name’s Aurelio Giordano and I’m from Brooklyn, New York.

So back in 2008, at the time I was working as an executive assistant in the marketing department of a large media company. And we were at a holiday work party – it was around Christmas time. Somebody came up with the idea to play “Fuck, Marry, Kill.” The premise being, you know, you name three people – one you’re going to fuck, one you’re gonna marry, one you’re gonna kill them.

Now mind you, I had already been with the company for about a year and a half and I have been out. My boss, though, she didn’t know directly from me. So then, the woman who came before me, she gives her three, you know, choices. And again, everyone reacts and this, that and the other. And I’m saying to myself, “Oh shit, I’m next.”

I think I just kinda came out and said, “Oh, well, I would pick the same three she did. And there was just kinda like, “Ohhhhh!” You know, like, “Ohhhhhh!” kinda thing.

And then I kinda had a moment with with my boss shortly after the game. She had had a couple of cocktails and I’d had a couple of cocktails, and she was like, “Oh I knew!” You know, like just the typical cliche thing a lot of people say. You know, our relationship was good before it stayed good after. And it wasn’t that big of a deal.

I can’t pinpoint exactly how much time after that Christmas party it had happened, but there was a scenario with this other girl that was in another department. I had never said anything directly to her about my personal life, but I’m sure she must have found out.

And she purposely comes over to my cubicle and is like, “Hey, we were talking about X, Y, and Z about Madonna. What do you think about it? Do you like it?” And this, that and the other.

My reaction at the time was, I answered, “Oh, yeah. Oh, I heard about it. Oh, I haven’t heard it yet.” But then I kinda took a minute to reflect upon that. And it was like, she never came to me before to ask me anything about Madonna. But after this Christmas party that I had supposedly outed myself, now you wanna come over and ask me what my opinion is about the latest Madonna thing that’s out there.

It was a bit of a – I guess I would call it a turning point. A little bit of a turning point about, in terms of being out in the workplace and what role I wanted my personal life to play at my job or in my career.

After I had gotten let though from from that company, in the year or two to follow, I had decided that I wanted to start a business. I officially started Ace World Travel in June of 2012. And having come from a family business, I knew how important it was to build your name and build your credibility. I didn’t wanna pigeonhole myself, you know, just like I don’t want to be pigeonholed as the token gay guy, you know, in the office.

About two years in, I realize, okay, maybe now it is time to study and get to know a little bit more about how to work with different types of people. The LGBT market was something that was always there and was starting to gain presence. Thinking about it, I obviously didn’t want to leave that stone unturned, both from a business perspective and personally, because obviously being of the community, I wanna service the community as well.

So the first thing I did was join an organization called the IGLTA. It’s the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. If now I start making it known that I work and sell travel with the LGBT community, what is that going to mean to the public? Because the last thing I want is to be the gay travel agent. I’m a travel agent who’s gay. I’m not the gay travel agent. Both personally and from a business standpoint, it was smart for me to just continue diving into it. I decided that I wanted to make working with the LGBT community a bit more – a bit more of a focus. Now, I’m making a conscious decision to incorporate it in my business, make it known and be proud of it and say it, you know, intentionally.

I’ve been affiliated with the IGLTA for three-plus years. I’ve even gone further to join the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and now Ace World Travel is nationally certified as an LGBT-owned business.

It’s been many years since I was that guy at that Christmas party that officially outed himself playing, “Fuck, Marry, Kill” and who, you know, had a little bit of an issue being the token gay guy in the office being asked questions about Madonna. I’m older now and I’ve grown more into myself and more comfortable with who I am.

Having a part of my presence in terms of as a business owner and an entrepreneur has been a pretty tricky situation. But it’s something that now five years in, soon to start my sixth year, I’ve completely embraced.

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