Report: 1 in 3 Gay Employees Closeted at Work
July 26 2011 9:00 AM ET
An alarming percentage of gay individuals face employment harassment and often decide not to disclose their sexual orientation in the workplace, according to a summary of recent social science data by the Williams Institute.
In a review of studies including the 2008 General Social Survey, a national probability survey, the Williams Institute reported Monday that 38% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees who are out at work reported being harassed because of their sexual orientation. More than one-third of respondents said they were not out to any colleagues at work.
Surveys focused specifically on transgender workers in recent years have found even greater employment discrimination: a 2011 study, for example, found that 78% of trans employees had reported at least one form of harassment on the job, with nearly half experiencing discrimination in hiring, promotion, and retention.
Via the Williams Institute's Monday release:
Among LGB respondents to the [General Social Survey], 42% had experienced employment discrimination at some point in their lives, and 27% had experienced employment discrimination just during the five-year period prior to the survey. …
“This new data shows that it’s still risky to come out about being LGBT in the workplace,” study co-author and Williams legal fellow Christy Mallory said. “Therefore, it’s not surprising that the GSS data also show that one-third of LGB employees are not open about their sexual orientation to anyone in the workplace.” …
Not only does research document the pervasiveness of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, but also the negative impacts of discrimination on LGBT people. Because of discrimination, and fear of discrimination, many LGBT employees hide their identities, are paid less and have fewer employment opportunities than non-LGBT employees.
The full report is available here.
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