HRC Blog

Watch: HRC Workplace Equality Program Director on Why LGBT People Don’t Come Out at Work

Director of Workplace Equality Programs, Deena Fidas, participated in a HuffPost Live event this afternoon – LGBT People Still Don’t Come Out at Work – speaking to the revealing findings in HRC’s recently-released report The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion.

Did you know that 91% of Fortune 500 companies have sexual orientation employment protections, and 61% have gender identity protections, but over half of LGBT workers are closeted on the job?

There is a misperception that LGBT workers are the only ones that “come out” in the workplace. In reality, any casual reference to weekend plans or sharing about family members or significant others is essentially revealing one’s sexual orientation. This casual coming out – LGBT or not – happens in the workplace every day. The Cost of the Closet shows that many times, non-LGBT workers don’t even realize they are doing this. But they notice when their LGBT colleagues do.

Our research shows that LGBT workers continue to hide their identity on the job because of this double standard in the workplace – where non-LGBT people don’t have to edit their stories or references to family members, change pronouns, or even consider how sharing in the workplace might affect their employment, but LGBT workers are receiving the message that their casual references to their lives outside of work are not appropriate water cooler conversations. 

Check out the recorded session here, and share these surprising findings to help make the workplace environment more welcoming and productive for all workers.

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