When, How, and Why to Disclose to Your Employer
Regardless of if you’ve been out and proud for a month or 10 years, disclosing your sexuality to your employer can feel intimidating and induce anxiety. You may be asking yourself: Why do I have to disclose my sexuality or gender preferences to my employer? That’s a great question. It’s really up to you whether or not you disclose your gender or sexual orientation to your employer.
The good news is that employers can’t discriminate against you for your sexual orientation or gender preferences. They have to provide you with reasonable accommodations and make you feel safe. Now, it’s important to recognize that not all areas are as friendly to Queer folk. You may not feel safe disclosing this to your employer, and that’s okay. It doesn’t take anything away from you or your story.
Lots of people like to disclose to their employers so that they can feel seen as they are in their Queer bodies. Also, accommodations such as Queer benefits and gender pronoun usage are important to have.
However, if you feel comfortable sharing your gender preferences and sexuality with your employer then it’s important to follow a few basic steps. While you can just buy a t-shirt or one of those hats with your preferred pronouns emblazoned on them— maybe even in glitter—not everyone feels comfortable with that approach. Therefore, here are a few opportunities for you to come out to your employer to feel safe and seen at work.
One way to come out to your employer in a more subtle way is by listing the Queer organizations you are a part of on your resume. This creates an opportunity to come out without shouting it from the top of your lungs in your best Show Tunes rendition or by getting Freddy Mercury tattooed across your forehead. If you feel some reticence at drawing attention to their sexuality through a resume for fear of discrimination, it makes sense. Just remember, straight folks, draw attention to their religious, sporting, or political organizations on their resumes all the time. You have a right to hint at your sexuality and open up a discussion with your employer. Additionally, if you fear discrimination or rejection for disclosing your sexuality on your job, then maybe the organization wasn’t the right fit for you anyways.
Next, some folks wish to disclose their orientation during an interview. This is a more direct approach and not everyone is comfortable with that. But, disclosing this way will allow you to gauge your potential employers’ reaction and create a conversation around policies that affect you as a queer person going forward.
Last, you can also disclose to your employer after working at the company for a while. In this scenario, you have an opportunity to get established and comfortable with an employer before disclosing. You can build that rapport and feel a greater degree of safety and security when disclosing. One way to disclose after working for your employer for a while is in a private meeting with your boss. That way, you can get all your basic questions answered. And, if your boss isn’t like Michael Scott from The Office, there shouldn’t be any shenanigans or forced kisses. Jokes aside, disclosure is an important part of being a Queer person but it isn’t everything. Your Queer status is a sacred, personal experience and you don’t have to disclose it to anybody. Remember that. You are yours alone.