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Do you work in an environment that encourages closeting?

man in closet.jpeg

Just a month before the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, a Gallup poll revealed that 60 percent of Americans supported same-sex marriage. As of today, roughly 67 percent support LGBTQ friends and family.

With the growing support, however, why do nearly half of surveyed LGBTQ employees hide their true sexual orientation at work?

Why do many LGBTQ employees remain closeted at work?

In the spring of 2018, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released some troubling data. According to their survey, 46 percent of LGBTQ workers report hiding their sexual orientation at work. The survey also tried to get to the root of why people remain closeted. Some findings include:

  • One in five LGBTQ workers report having been told or had coworkers imply that they should dress in a more feminine or masculine manner.
  • 53 percent of LGBTQ workers report hearing jokes about lesbian or gay people at least once in a while at work. 

With an environment like that, it makes more sense that LGBTQ employees would choose to keep their sexual orientation a secret. Sadly, the survey also revealed that many LGBTQ employees don't report this discriminatory behavior to management because they have little confidence that it would improve their workplace environment.

Coming out: A risk/benefit analysis

Part of what bonds people together is the ability to share lives with others. For members of the LGBTQ community, however, sharing their true identity often requires careful consideration of the risk, opposed to the benefit. Despite the fact that discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal in the workplace, it still happens. As this survey sadly shows, many still feel that the risk of bringing their whole self to work is simply too high.

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