Half of all gay and lesbian staff hide sexuality from colleagues

Half of all UK lesbians and gay men feel they are unable to reveal their sexuality to their colleagues, according to recent research.

And one in eight lesbians and one in 10 gay men said they had been harassed at work because of their sexual preferences, the survey by gay marketing company Out Now Consulting revealed.

“Being accepted by the government is a big step forward in terms of civil partnerships, but being able to be yourself at work is something all workers in the UK ought to be able to do,” said Ian Johnson, the firm’s managing director.

Government figures released last month estimated that 6% of the UK adult population, about three million people, were classified as lesbian or gay.

But the survey of 1,000 gay and lesbian employees suggests there are up to 1.5 million UK workers who do not feel able to be honest at work, Johnson said.

He called on UK employers to do more to improve workplace equality and diversity.

“This would build improved comfort levels, for all staff, working together, irrespective of sexuality. Often HR managers say “but we don’t discriminate” – and that is probably true.

“But the situation on the ground shows that for UK lesbians and gay men, almost half do not currently feel they can truly be themselves at work.”

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