Being Gay in the Workplace

Revealing your sexual orientation in the workplace improves well-being, a new study finds.

HomoCulture Koelen Andrews

This article was published on October 8th, 2019

The United States Supreme Court is set to hear cases involving LGBT rights, including whether or not a business or company has the right to fire a queer person simply based on their sexual orientation. Though it is something any gay person could tell you, a new, timely study has been published with results showing that coming out as LGBT+ at work improves an employee’s well-being. Could this be used as supportive evidence for our case?

In an upcoming article funded by the American Psychological Association, “Affective Antecedents and Consequences of Revealing and Concealing a Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual Identity” reveals the results from the survey, conducted by Rice University, in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Applied Psychology. Its principle findings? Coming out and being open about sexual orientation at work is beneficial to an employee’s health and overall well-being.

Using new data, building upon previous research examining the mental impact of being out or closeted at work, the research hones in on lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals and the way they are treated at the work place either after coming out or remaining in the closet about their sexuality.

“Opening up about your sexuality at work is a very real fear for many LGBTQ+ Americans, no doubt due to the fact that individuals have been fired for coming out in the workplace,” said associate professor of psychological science at Rice U, Eden King, one of the authors of the new study.

The study surveyed 61 LGB participants from different backgrounds working full-time in the Washington, D.C., region, and included those who had not been at their present job or workplace for more than a year. A focus on new employees was made simply because newer employees statistically have an easier time coming out to their colleagues.

While the world watches with bated breath as to how the newly conservative court will rule, having a study like this one, verifying that queer people do better in work and life by being out and living their true lives, should help add validity to our plight of full equality under the law.

Do you believe that coming out at work can improve your overall experience in the workplace? Or do you feel it is safer being in the closet? Leave your thoughts, opinions, and comments below.

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