There are legal provisions protecting LGBTIQ people from discrimination, harassment and vilification in the workplace.
But despite this, research suggests that almost 40 per cent of LGBTIQ Australian workers don’t share their LGBTIQ identity with their colleagues at work.
So for those who have not yet come out, here some thoughts and strategies for taking the plunge.
Why come out at work?
You can just be yourself. It takes a lot of effort to hide and pretend to be someone that you’re not. Coming out will mean you will no longer have to worry about how to act or be careful about what you say or don’t say.
You will be more productive. A happy worker is a good worker!
You will be able to form closer friendships with your co-workers. Open and honest relationships are the most fulfilling. Many of your co-workers will probably appreciate your honesty and openness and will accept you for who you are.
You could be a role model. Particularly if you are in a senior position in the company, your coming out and living honestly will inspire younger LGBTIQ co-workers to also feel okay about coming out.
How do I do it?
There are many ways to come out to work colleagues. Here are some suggestions:
Casually drop into a conversation at the water cooler what your plans are for the weekend with your “partner”.
Put a photo of your partner on your desk, and simply tell your colleagues it’s your partner if they ask if it’s a picture of your brother or sister.
Put a big fat rainbow sticker or flag on your desk. It will act as a billboard!
Talk about LGBTIQ issues in the news in the lunchroom, and your colleagues will soon get the hint.
Bring your partner to work function. If you’re brave, drag your other half to the annual Christmas party, and introduce them around.
Finally, don’t feel pressured. Coming out is a very personal decision, and everyone has their own journey. Always do what’s right for you.
Where do I find more information?
If you need advice or support with coming out, you can contact QLife on 1800 184 527 or qlife.org.au.
If you believe you have been discriminated against at work because of your sexuality, or you have suffered sexual harassment or vilification, please call Discrimination Claims on 1300 853 837 for a confidential chat about your options.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.