What’s in it for you to come out at work?

IN Magazine - - PRIDE AT WORK - By Colin Druhan

Just un­der half of all Cana­di­ans who iden­tify as LgBT are out to every­one they work with. There is am­ple ev­i­dence to prove that em­ploy­ers who fos­ter in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ments, where it’s safe for LgBT em­ploy­ees to be hon­est about their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and/or gen­der iden­tity, en­joy higher re­ten­tion rates and more pro­duc­tive teams. That’s cer­tainly great for those em­ploy­ers, but for LgBT Cana­di­ans

won­der­ing what’s in it for them to come out at work, here are a few pos­si­ble ben­e­fits to con­sider:

Elim­i­nate the work of stay­ing in the closet

nearly ev­ery work­place de­mands some sort of shar­ing of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, whether it’s talk­ing about gen­eral in­ter­ests like TV shows, movies and sports, or more in­ti­mate de­tails like what we did (and with whom) on the week­end. Edit­ing out key in­for­ma­tion that would dis­close your sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity, like names and gen­dered pro­nouns, can be a full-time job in it­self.

Build stronger re­la­tion­ships

The more we know about our col­leagues, the more in­vested we are in their suc­cess. Shar­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in­spires the same be­hav­iour in oth­ers, and know­ing facts about the peo­ple we work with lim­its how much we rely on as­sump­tions and stereo­types.

Be an ally to oth­ers

not all LgBT peo­ple share the same chal­lenges, but by be­ing out at work with vo­cal sup­port for all mem­bers of the LgBT com­mu­nity you are pro­vid­ing the op­por­tu­nity for your LgBT col­leagues to reach out to you when they need sup­port. That means un­der­stand­ing how you want to be treated, and lis­ten­ing to oth­ers when they tell you what they need to feel safe and re­spected at work.

cre­ate pos­i­tive role mod­els

When LgBT peo­ple who are new to the job mar­ket see mem­bers of the com­mu­nity in po­si­tions of lead­er­ship, they are bet­ter able to imag­ine them­selves in se­nior roles. Vis­i­ble LgBT lead­ers also have the op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenges stereo­types about what LgBT peo­ple can (or can’t) achieve in the work­place.

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