by Allyson Zimmermann
Originally published: January 11, 2017
Across the globe, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) communities experience alienation, exclusion and discrimination on a daily basis and the workplace is no exception.
Many LGBT individuals, along with others who often find themselves in the minority or as outsiders in a group — including women and racial/ethnic minorities — can feel like the ‘other‘ in the workplace.
This feeling of separation means that people may take on the status of an outsider: they are not truly embraced as part of the team, feel excluded from opportunities and subsequently may also take a step back — separating themselves further from developing relationships with colleagues and being their most innovative selves. In business settings, these feelings typically translate into them being set apart from the power structures at the top.
A recent UK poll said that 77% of LGBT people said they felt uncomfortable about being their true self in public, and 74% said they felt the need to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity. A separate study on gay men in the United States also confirmed that they ‘managed’ their sexuality at work to avoid ‘potential negative consequences’ from co-workers and changed their behavior in order to fit in.