How Companies Can Embrace The Lgbtqia+ Community In The Workplace
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a gay or transgender employee in the modern workplace today, The Glass Closet offers valuable insight that can help you understand their experiences.
Through sharing his own experiences as a gay executive, the author provides an eye-opening look at how companies and employees can benefit when they embrace people’s differences in sexual orientation.
From learning which countries still discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals to discovering why companies that actively support their rights are seeing success, this book provides the truth about being LGBTQ+ in the modern workplace.
Additionally, readers gain insight into Apple CEO Tim Cook’s outlook on gay marriage and learn tips for creating an atmosphere where all employees feel welcome and accepted in the office.
The Persecution Of Lgbtq+ People Is Rooted In Centuries Of Religion-Based Discrimination
Throughout history, many people have been ostracized, imprisoned and even killed as a result of their sexual orientation.
This began with the spread of Christianity, which marked the beginning of social condemnation against members of the LGBTQ+ community, branding them as “sinners” in need of repentance.
This concept was spread worldwide and resulted in gay people becoming the target of numerous atrocities, such as those committed during Nazi Germany where they were sent to concentration camps and forced to wear a pink triangle signifying their low status in society.
Even up until recently, homosexuality has been looked down upon in countries like Germany and the United Kingdom where it was still considered illegal into the 21st century.
Sadly, some parts of the world now remain places where LGBTQ+ individuals are still persecuted and even killed simply for who they are; countries such as Uganda offer no legal protection for its gay citizens.
The reality is that homophobia is still a real issue today, making it all the more important for us to hold ourselves accountable when it comes to educating ourselves about these injustices and standing up against discrimination.
Can Gay People Really Be Themselves At Work? The Challenges Faced By Employees Who Wish To Come Out
Being openly gay in the workplace is generally accepted today, but that doesn’t mean that gay professionals don’t still worry about their careers.
Many fear that publicly “coming out” will ruin their job prospects, and this fear is understandable given the lack of openly gay role models in higher positions who can serve as an example of how to succeed professionally despite one’s sexual orientation.
Many major corporations, such as Apple, have made clear that they fully support marriage equality, and they have taken steps to show this support (such as instituting employee support groups).
But even if companies are supportive of LGBT rights in public, there may still be resistance among certain executives or colleagues when a person comes out at work.
This was unfortunately evidenced by the author of The Glass Closet, whose ex-boyfriend leaked his sexual orientation story to a British newspaper.
Such an event could potentially result in backlash at work and give other gay people second thoughts about coming out themselves.
The takeaway from all this is that while it’s true that there has been vast improvement on acceptance for people from diverse backgrounds over recent years, there is still much progress to be made before everybody feels totally safe expressing their identity at work.
The Benefits And Challenges Of Coming Out At Work For The Lgbtq Community
Coming out at work can be a huge plus for gay and transgender workers, allowing them to live their lives more openly and honestly.
However, not all experiences with coming out have been positive.
For those brave enough to come out, research shows that employees are able to work more productively and even positively impact the productivity of their entire team.
LGBT activist Louise Young’s productivity index indicates that closeted gay employees are up to 10% less productive than heterosexual colleagues, while Kirk Snyder’s research suggests that openly gay managers tend to treat employees more fairly regardless of identity or background.
The satisfaction ratings among employees working for openly gay male managers also show higher levels of contentment compared to those working under heterosexual male managers.
Unfortunately, there are still many cases where homosexual or transgender people face negative consequences for coming out such as workplace ridicule, decreased pay or even being fired due to homophobia from bosses or coworkers.
Gay men in particular often experience discrimination based on stereotypes about their behavior – something which unfortunately still persists in today’s working environment.
In conclusion then, coming out has its benefits both professionally and personally but sadly not everyone who takes this brave step will find a safe and accepting workplace atmosphere when they do so.
Companies That Stand Up For Equal Rights Attract A Diverse Range Of Customers And Employees
Businesses that are open in their support of equal rights for gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are finding a major advantage when it comes to attracting new employees.
By espousing a culture that supports employees of different sexual orientations, companies find that they not only benefit from greater profits due to the loyalty of these consumers but also from a more diverse workforce.
Research conducted by the Human Rights Campaign has shown that 58 percent of gay adults prefer buying from businesses which support equal rights and even market specifically to these communities.
One example is IBM’s LGBT diversity task force which Claudia Brind-Woody co-chairs.
While at a job fair, Brind-Woody noticed an unusually high number of young Asian women at the IBM booth and asked them why they were interested in working there.
Their answer highlighted one great benefit: if a company supports equality for those in the LGBTQ community, then they’re likely supportive of other minority groups as well making them more attractive to all kinds of potential new hires.
Leaders Need To Speak Out In Support Of Equal Rights For Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Employees
For employees to feel comfortable coming out, they need to know that their leaders support them.
This means that companies should make it clear not only to their employees but also the market at large that they are actively working to improve conditions for gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace.
It’s important for employers to communicate that coming out is not only safe but also celebrated.
Even if there may be some pushback from homophobic attitudes, employers must make it clear that hate will not be tolerated in the office.
Sharing stories of other employees who have been accepted positively by coworkers provides visibility for such acceptance.
Leaders must also actively participate in conversations about equal rights for gay people so that policies can be expected from all levels of an organization.
Many business leaders already support queer individuals or have revealed their sexual orientation publicly, but it doesn’t always reach the rank and file of most companies.
As such, vocal support from both gay and straight allies is crucial towards creating a more accepting and welcoming work environment no matter what your orientation may be.
Google is a great example–the company makes sure to loudly display its commitment to diversity within its workforce every year by formally participating in Gay Pride Parades all over the world.
Sports: A Symbol Of Acceptance And Inclusivity For Gay People
For generations, gay public figures have been ostracized if and when they chose to come out, making it difficult for them to be their true selves.
Just a few decades ago, the announcement of one’s homosexuality was sure to bring on criticism from media and society as a whole, leading many to remain closeted for fear of destroying their careers.
Take Billie Jean King, for instance — she was a world-renowned professional tennis player with several Grand Slam titles who ultimately chose to come out as gay in 1981.
Unfortunately, that same day she lost all her professional sponsorships, worth over $2 million at the time.
Thankfully, we now live in a world where people no longer fear such economic fallout from coming out.
Even in fields like professional sports where openly gay athletes were previously considered taboo, acceptance is growing with teams and events such as Nike Pride supporting such players so they can be free to be who they are without restriction.
The public’s response to famous athletes coming out has been largely positive — Tom Daley is but one example.
His announcement brought forth messages of congratulations instead of derision and hate, signalling how far we have come in terms of accepting people regardless of sexual orientation.
It’s clear that things are finally changing for the better when it comes to endorsing equal rights for everyone — and that includes the right to simply just be yourself.
The Glass Closet is an important book that reminds us all that coming out in the workplace can be empowering, but it can also be dangerous.
Organizations and businesses must strive to create a safe space for everyone in the office, regardless of sexual orientation.
At its core, this book advises people to be thoughtful and considerate if someone trusts you enough to come out to you.
Respect the trust they have put in you and show support for them.
If you are unsure how to respond right away, take a moment to gain clarity on your thoughts before responding rationally and positively.
Ultimately, The Glass Closet encourages us all to create supportive environments so that people feel safe when coming out at work.