Half Of LGBTIQ Employees Are Still Closeted At Work, Study Finds


Stock photo of two work colleagues with notepad, pen and laptops working

Just over half of LGBTIQ workers say they are comfortable being out at work, according to a new study by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Forty-six percent of the LGBTIQ workers say they are closeted at work, compared to 50 percent in 2008.

In the HRC’s survey of 1,615 workers who were both gay and straight, LGBTIQ respondents reported fear of being stereotyped, damaging relationships, and making others uncomfortable as reasons for keeping their sexual orientation to themselves.

But according to the study, when LGBTIQ workers try to engage with their non-LGBTIQ colleagues, they’re often met with a double standard.

While 80% of non-LGBTQ workers agree that LGBTQ people should not have to hide who they are at work, 36% of them say they would feel uncomfortable hearing an LGBTIQ colleague talk about dating.

Just over half (59%) of them consider it unprofessional to talk about sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.

One in five of the LGBTQ workers surveyed reported having been told or had coworkers imply that they should dress in a more feminine or masculine manner.

“While LGBTQ-inclusive corporate policies are becoming the norm, LGBTQ workers too often face a climate of bias in their workplace,” Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program, said in a statement.

“LGBTQ employees are still avoiding making personal and professional connections at work because they fear coming out.”

Earlier this month, a separate study out of the UK found that gay men face a “glass ceiling”, which researchers attributed to discrimination, that was keeping some from reaching high-level managerial positions.