COMING OUT LGBTQ+ A WORK: A GUIDE
You want to come out at work, but just do not know how? Are you unsure about how much of yourself you want to share with your coworkers? Well here is a guide, courtesy of Well + Good to help you decide if coming out is the best way to go:
1 – Do Your Homework
Research your company if it has a big name. See where it ranks intolerance and commitment to diversity. Check out the HRC Corporate Equality Index, the annual Stonewall Top 100 Employers guide, and the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. At least you will know if this is a safe environment for you.
If you work for a smaller company, research the non-discrimination policy to make sure you can not be fired or discriminated against based on sexuality.
2 – Observe your coworkers
This is a good and obvious way to figure out people’s reactions to queer people. Are your coworkers queer-friendly. Listen to the chatter in your office to gauge how your colleagues react to queer-related goings-on in the news.
Dr. Airton suggests asking yourself the following questions as you observe: Are there other out queer or trans* folks at your workplace? If there are other trans* or non-binary people, are their pronouns respected? If there are queer people, do they display photos of, talk about, or bring around partners? What kind of humor is tolerated? What kind of humor is shut down and not tolerated? Is the office culture rigidly gendered—for example, do the men always go out with the men, while the women only hang out with the other women? Is there a gendered dress code? Are there gender-neutral restrooms?
3- Consider Consulting HR
Confiding in HR could be helpful or harmful. Use your better judgment before seeing if this is the right way to go.
McDaniel adds that if you confide in HR, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much doing so can help you in your process. “If you make the decision to come out in an environment with no other out trans* folks, HR can help you navigate how to do that.”
The bottom line? If your HR department is a good one, it’ll be receptive to how you’re feeling and your desire to come out. The data you collected on steps one and two will help you decide if that will be the case at your place of work.
4- After Much Consideration, Speak Your Truth
Depending on your state, company, and company culture, coming out at work may be a risk. But not coming out also presents possible pitfalls. “Not being out at work effects what people are able to share about their life during casual chitchat; it may make them stressed about what they post on social media; and if they’re trans*, they face being misgendered every single day, over and over,” says McDaniel. “Feeling like you have to put a mask on to go to work has real long-term consequences such as dysmorphia, depression, and anxiety.”
5- Find More Inclusive Workplace
However, staying closeted as a long-term solution isn’t advisable either: Research finds that workplace culture—which includes how you feel your environment will embrace your choice to come out and be out—is actually a higher indicator of employee happiness than salary. So, if these points ring true to you, consider it solid evidence that you haven’t found the role that’ll be most additive to your life and goals.
“Your happiness matters. Give yourself permission to seek out an alternative place of work that will be accepting,” Dr. Airton says.
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