Many LGBT workers are hesitant to be out in their professional lives, according to the British advocacy group Stonewall. In a survey of over 60,000 LGBT employees from organizations participating in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, only 27% of respondents said they would be comfortable revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity to coworkers or clients.
The survey also shows that there is a dearth of openly LGBT role models for employees. Only 53% of participants reported being aware of gay role models at work, and a scant 11% could think of bi role models in their companies.
Kathryn Nawrockyi, the gender equality director for Business in the Community, told Forbes, “Many employees are still nervous about being out at work and the fear of abuse is likely to be a key part of this. That’s why it’s important to create a culture of openness and a safe working environment where all employees feel they can be themselves.” That isn’t always an easy task, however. Stonewall’s Sarah Foster noted: “I’ve seen organizations getting effective at reaching out to [the] LGBT workforce but a big proportion of the workforce think it’s a fluffy thing to do, so how do you turn those cynics into supporters?”