Homosexuality when the work environment is homophobic, is it so easy to keep a secret?

Although we may think that we have advanced a lot in LGTBIQ + rights, in truth people belonging to the LGTBIQ + collective suffer multiple types of discrimination in the workplace . It may seem to us that it is as simple as simply keeping your personal life out of contact with others. We all fix the problem of homophobia or biphobia with a simple “each one to sleep with whoever they want, period”, as if it were the responsibility of LTGBIQ + people to keep their emotional life secret, and thus they will not suffer any type of rejection. But that, in addition to being tremendously unfair, is not so simple. From the social psychology of work and organizations there is a line of research related to labor discrimination of different social groups, and the LGTBIQ + group is one of those studied due to the labor reality they face. And it is that in the labor market in general, and within organizations, not all and all of us are treated equally.

On the one hand, transsexual and transgender people suffer certain levels of discrimination and are victims of prejudice, stereotypes and aggressions to a greater extent because the change of sex, on many occasions, is seen visually. On the other hand, the less trans people appear, the more the rest of society might be willing to accept them, since the discrepancies between sex and gender become invisible. Such is the situation, that trans people have a much greater difficulty than another group to be hired in a company. In addition, it is not just transsexuality, there are transgender people, intersex people, gender fluid and a wide variety of cases in which their gender identity is not reduced to looking like “a man” or “a woman”.

The need to establish an inclusive work environment

For the acceptance of homosexual, bisexual, pansexual and asexual people, in addition to other types of sexuality, the solution is not to stay “in the closet” depending on which contexts. It is important that a climate of acceptance of diversity is established in the work environment , since our workplace is one of those in which we spend more time, establish relationships and constitute part of our identity. A person who has to hide that, for example, he has a partner of the same sex, a transgender partner, or does not want to establish any type of sexual and / or affective relationship with other people, has to keep a large-scale secret on a daily basis . You can not talk to their peers or companions of what made the weekend, that you have a new partner, that you are getting married or any other aspect of your personal and emotional life. You cannot establish a level of trust with the rest of the people in your organization, nor can you invite your partner to any type of event where people from your work environment attend.

Keeping a secret like this is not easy, or pretending or constantly constructing false speeches. This generates greater stress, in addition to which it can lead to a tendency to isolation, lower job satisfaction, as well as the loss of an important source of social support .

If you wonder why a person may have the need to hide their sexuality at work, the reasons may be several. One is that among his colleagues there is a discourse of LGBTphobia (homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, etc.) extended, for example, making jokes, or that some of the people with whom you have to work often, openly express homophobic ideas and nobody reproaches him. There may be mistrust because society still has many stereotypes placed on people belonging to the LGTBIQ + collective, for example, who are more promiscuous.

You can also hide your own sexuality for fear of being fired before other members of the organization, since the uncertainty about keeping a job is a growing problem. In addition, it is possible that more subtle discriminatory behaviors are carried out in the company, such as worse treatment of LGTBIQ + workers , or not having it and them for certain initiatives of the organization.

In general, LGTBIQ + people see daily how they are discriminated against in multiple areas of society, serious stereotypes fall on them and they have received rejection from family and / or friends, and in general their process of externalizing their sexuality It has been able to pose quite a few emotional obstacles . Why would they think that your company would just be accepted? It is not just being accepted or rejected directly, but all the behaviors that the rest of the organization may have towards them: jokes, distrust, isolation, mobbing , rumors, etc. This is the source of various conflicts at the organizational and personal level., in addition to being one more social environment that must advance in the inclusion and acceptance of diversity as the norm.

End LGTBphobia at work

To fight against LGTBphobia in the workplace, it is important that companies, as an organization, implement initiatives on the awareness and normalization of affective diversity. Talks, posters, meetings between colleagues, courses, etc. , that they teach us to create an LGTB-friendly climate, that is, that makes all kinds of people feel comfortable and accepted, regardless of their identity and sexual orientation.

Also, as colleagues, the people who are part of the organization can do our bit to make this happen. We can show interest in these types of initiatives, or propose them, reproach any type of homophobic or transphobic behavior in the company, either directly or through a complaint to the Human Resources department, if any, or by commenting on the issue with other colleagues to unite against these discriminatory and aggressive behaviors. And not waiting for the person or people affected to take the initiative or “defend themselves”, because it is not a personal issue, but a social one.

We have only focused on the aspect of the work environment and affective-sexual diversity . However, there are other sources of discrimination against LGTBIQ + people within the labor market, we must not forget that they can also find it more difficult to find employment. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.