Half of LGBT+ people stay in the closet at work, study reveals
Practically half of LGBT+ people are closeted at work, a new study has shown.
The research, conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, found that 46 percent of LGBT+ employees in the US hide their sexuality at their place of employment.
This represented just a four percent drop from HRC’s 2008 Degrees of Equality report, which was created before Barack Obama’s presidency, before same-sex marriage was legalised across the US and before transgender rights became a prominent issue in the civil rights struggle.
LGBT+ employees’ reluctance to come out may be partly explained by the fact that 53 percent of LGBT+ workers have heard jokes about lesbian or gay people at least once in a while at work.
And one-in-five queer employees reported to HRC that they had been told or had colleagues imply that they should dress in a more feminine or masculine manner.
Concerningly, nearly one-in-three LGBT+ people said they have felt unhappy or depressed at work.
When it comes to reasons why queer employees don’t come out of the closet, one-in-four respondents put their decision down to the possibility of being stereotyped, while more than one-in-three are worried about making people feel uncomfortable.
More than one-in-four LGBT+ employees are concerned about the possibility of losing connections or relationships with colleagues, or about co-workers thinking that they might be attracted to them because they’re LGBT+.
Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Programme, said that the accepting, inclusive face which many companies show the public is not necessarily reflected in how their employees actually feel.
“While LGBTQ-inclusive corporate policies are becoming the norm, LGBTQ workers too often face a climate of bias in their workplace,” she said in a statement.
“LGBTQ employees are still avoiding making personal and professional connections at work because they fear coming out – and that hurts not only that employee, but the company as a whole.
“Even the best-of-the-best private sector employers with top-rated policies and practices must do more to nurture a climate of inclusion for all,” added Fidas.
Earlier this year, research by the charity Stonewall revealed that many Brits also fear coming out to colleagues.
The survey found that 35 percent of LGBT people in the UK remain in the closet to colleagues.
A study published last year by CareerBuilder showed that four-in-10 LGBT workers feel bullied in work.
Out of those surveyed, 15 percent said they had called in sick after being bullied.
Research released earlier this month found that just 55 percent of adult Americans are fine with working with queer people.
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