For LGBTQ individuals considering on coming out of the closet at work, questions like those from the Human Rights Campaign's "Coming Out at Work" article can be helpful to employ:
Questions to Ask
- Does your employer have a written non-discrimination policy? Does it specifically cover sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression? Does insurance cover domestic partner benefits? Does health coverage cover transitioning costs?
- Is there a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employee resource group at your workplace?
- What’s the overall climate in your workplace? Do people tend to make derogatory comments or jokes? Are any of your co-workers openly LGBT?
- What are your work relationships like? Do people discuss their personal lives? Are they asking questions about yours? Is the atmosphere friendly or guarded?
- Does your state or locality have a non-discrimination law including sexual orientation and gender identity/expression?
- Is your company ranked on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index? If so, what rating has it earned?
Other helpful list in considering coming out at work is in an excerpt from Steven Petrow's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life (2011):
To Tell or Not to Tell
- These are some of the many and varied circumstances that might lead you to decide to come out at work:
- Your company has nondiscrimination policies in place protecting LGBT people. (If you don't know, find out!)
- You’re discussing your respective families or personal lives with a straight coworker and decide that not revealing that you’re L, G, B, or T would amount to appearing less than candid or even dishonest—or, along the same lines, you just don’t want to hide your sexuality or gender identity anymore.
- Your work is related to an LGBT issue in some way and you think you could do a better job—or help win new business.
- Your company has an LGBT affinity group.
- An event is about to happen in your personal life, such as a birth, marriage, or gender reassignment surgery, which may affect your job or simply seems important enough to share with the people you spend so much time with.
- Others have come out recently at your workplace and your colleagues seem unfazed—even better, they welcomed the news.
- Your supervisor thinks that, being on the face of it single, you can work weekends or travel regularly because no one is waiting for you at home.
- The stress of being in the closet threatens to affect your work, and perhaps even your mental health.