48% of Gay Americans Work in the Closet

Many are out in their personal lives, but in at work

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 22, 2011 8:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – Nearly half of college-educated gay and lesbian Americans keep their rainbow flags furled at work, according to a new study. By the Center for Work-Life Policy’s count, 48% hide their orientation in the workplace, with about a third leading “double lives”—meaning they’re openly gay at home. That leads to more workplace stress and lower morale, the Center warns, noting that closeted employees are more likely to say they’d like to quit their current job.

A whopping 90% of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and 57% extend benefits to their employees’ same-sex partners. But the report’s co-author says gay-friendly policies sometimes aren’t enough to coax employees out of the closet. “It's not just the policies, but also how well they're communicated,” she tells Yahoo. “People aren't always sure that they have these policies or what it means." Coworkers can also be a deterrent; 37% of straight women and 52% of straight men say they prefer gay people keep their orientation private.

Roughly half of gay Americans keep their rainbow flag furled at work.
Roughly half of gay Americans keep their rainbow flag furled at work.   (Shutterstock)
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