LGBTQ+ employees frequently face unique challenges in the workplace because of their identity. Coming out can be a difficult and ongoing process as people decide whether or not to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Fear of prejudice, discrimination, or negative reactions from colleagues or superiors can lead to the concealment of one’s true self and a constant fear of being discovered. This can lead to feelings of inauthenticity, emotional stress, and anxiety.
Furthermore, coworkers’ and management’s lack of understanding and awareness about LGBTQ+ issues can contribute to a lack of support and inclusivity. A recent study by SHRM further explains why LGBTQ+ employees prefer to keep their identity up to themselves.
While the majority of LGBTQ+ workers say they feel included and treated fairly at work, 40% have not disclosed their identity at work, with one in five of those employees believing that if they revealed their identity, they would not be promoted, according to Society for Human Resource Management(SHRM) study released June 1.
According to SHRM, “significantly fewer” LGBTQ+ workers believe their company has equitable representation at all levels when compared to non-LGBTQ+ workers. Notably, LGBTQ+ employees who said their representation was equitable were more than twice as likely to agree they were treated fairly at work.
“This new research shows that organizations are making progress in recognizing the importance of inclusion and support for LGBTQ+ workers.” “However, we still have a lot of room for improvement,” said Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP, SHRM’s chief knowledge officer. “Just hiring LGBTQIA+ people to maintain diversity isn’t sustainable without a culture of inclusion that truly welcomes all individuals for who they are.”
Another recent study agrees; Glassdoor discovered that 45% of LGBTQ+ employees polled said being out at work could harm their careers. More than half said they’d heard or seen anti-LGBTQ+ comments from coworkers.
The findings highlight the significance of a diverse workforce from the top down, as well as the importance of explicitly including LGBTQ+ identities in workplace DEI efforts. Only half of the businesses polled by SHRM said they include LGBTQ+ identities in their DEI efforts.