Devin Randall's picture

A Study Found that Being In The Closet At Work Is Stressful

Rachel Williamson is a doctoral candidate in industrial-organizational psychology at the University of Georgia and she’s published a study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior concerning sexual orientation at the workplace.

The study was conducted with 89 same-sex couples who were recruited through advertisements on/in social media, diversity centers, and Pride groups.

Once they had the participants, Williamson and her colleagues measured them on sexual orientation disclosure (whether their coworkers and supervisors knew of their sexual orientation), work-family conflict (in which they agreed or disagreed to statements like “I feel too frazzled after work to participate at home"), job satisfaction, and family satisfaction.

The results found that, as you probably expected, hiding one’s sexual identity at work is unhealthy. Mostly, it negatively affects the home atmosphere and strains the relationship with their significant other.

"Hiding your sexual orientation can be thought of as a demand of the job, in that you're having to hide it and devise strategies, from using different pronouns, not mentioning your spouse, or not including your spouse in work-related parties or other functions," said Williamson.

"The efforts required to hide sexual orientation from a supervisor impact the partner's family satisfaction. The partner being less satisfied at home explains why the partner is in turn experiencing this family interference with their work," she later said in a university news release.

While most in a similar situation could have told Williamson and her colleagues as much without scientific study, now that there is more evidence of it, we can use this to fight for a more fulfilling and efficient workplace for all.