Mental health & wellbeing

“Concealing compromises wellbeing”: Closeted LGBTIQ+ employees are dissatisfied and unhappy

Tarla Lambert /

The majority of LGBTIQ+ employees in Australia are not comfortable sharing their identity at work, compromising their overall wellbeing and performance, new research suggests.

The study was overseen by the Diversity Council Australia (DCA), RMIT University, the Star Observer, Deloitte and QBE. It found that only 32% of LGBTIQ+ workers had disclosed their identity and status within their organisation.

Why does this matter?

For starters, concealing compromises wellbeing. LGBTIQ+ employees who kept their identity concealed were reportedly twice as likely to feel down compared to employees who were openly out, while 45% were reportedly less satisfied with their role overall.

Secondly, the freedom of being out at work linked conclusively to greater workplace productivity. LGBTIQ+ employees who were not concealing their identity at work were shown to be 50% more likely to innovate than workers who did hide their identity. They were also 35% more likely to work highly effectively in their team and 28% more likely to provide excellent customer service.

The study also explored the reasons why LGBTIQ+ individuals felt motivated to conceal their identity in this way, and looked at the actions workplaces can take to ensure safe and inclusive environments for LGBTIQ+ workers to be themselves.

Such actions included bold leadership practices and policies and strategies that recognise the specific needs of LGBTIQ+ people. Critically, the study showed that LGBTIQ+ individuals in highly inclusive workplaces were three times as likely as those in non-inclusive workplaces to reveal their identity to colleagues.

Other key report findings

  • 74% of LGBTIQ+ respondents surveyed, expressed it was important for them to be out at work, however, only 32% were.
  • This figure dropped even further to 14% for workers with more than one LGBTIQ+ attribute (for example, they may be transgender and gay).
  • Only 16% of bisexual workers were out to everyone at work.
  • 28% of workers who are transgender or gender diverse were out to nobody at work – compared to only 4% of LGB workers.
  • 50% of LGB workers openly talk about their identity with colleagues versus only one in 10 doing so with their clients or customers.

This article was originally published on Women’s Agenda. Read the original article.

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Tarla Lambert

Tarla Lambert is the publisher for Women's Agenda. She's a politics junkie, content marketing specialist, wine drinker, rugby league watcher and fierce advocate for equality.

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