HRC Report: 51% of LGBT Workers are Closeted
A new study released by the nation’s largest gay rights group shows that more than half of LGBT workers in America are closeted at their jobs. Human Rights Campaign released a report this week, called “Degrees of Equality.” The group found, through series of focus groups and interviews, that 51 percent of LGBT employees hide their identity from most or all of their co-workers.
According to the research, almost 60 percent of gay employees say co-workers or supervisors make jokes or derogatory comments about gay people at least some of the time. Eric Bloem is deputy director of HRC’s workplace project. He says this is a large reason so many LGBT workers stay closeted.
Bloem: “Hearing something whether it be at the water cooler or in the break room, or wherever it might be – something derogatory about LGBT people, and you being LGBT, it definitely does have an effect on how you percieve the climate around you. Whether or not you feel that you can be open and it’s okay.”
42 percent of LGBT workers said they’ve had to lie about their personal lives, which could leading to trust issues. More than a quarter said they’ve been distracted by an unfriendly workplace, and more than one in ten say they’ve had to stay home from work. Bloem says that’s just bad for business.
Bloem: “It does have a profound effect on the bottom line of an organization, whether or not someone is able to come to work every day, to contribute fully, without having concerns about them being open.”