According to an LGBTIQ+ resident, a study is not enough to determine whether an employee should come out to their workplace.
Events officer at Rainbow Riverina Allan Briggs, 45, said that exposing sexuality at work is “ultimately” up to an individual’s decision.
“Coming out is very personal and ultimately it’s an individuals choice, it’s not for myself or the Diversity Council to determine exactly what is right for them,” Mr Brigs said.
“I knew I was gay when I was 12 years old, but I didn’t come out until I was 20 years old.
“This was a very long process, but now it’s such a non-issue and such a small part of the wonderful person I am.”
A study undertaken by the Diversity Council of Australia and RMIT University revealed that 95 per cent of LGBTIQ+ people have at least come out to someone, while only five per cent have not exposed their sexual identity.
Mr Briggs said he is not surprised by these figures and argued that it’s a “pretty accurate” reflection of the workplace and society.
“I do think it would be very different if these were based on regional NSW alone,” he said.
“It’s not like regional areas are behind but it can be more difficult for people in a smaller area, as it’s not as easy to disappear in a population based the size of Wagga as it is in Sydney.”
Mr Briggs argued that Wagga has come a long way and the university helps to bring a variety of people in each year.
The study found that LGBTIQ+ employees who have not “come out” at work are 45 per cent less likely to be satisfied with their job.
While Mr Briggs said that coming out was such a “non-issue” for him, if he had to conceal part of his identity, he argued that life in general, would not be enjoyable.
“I think I would be less satisfied in my life if I wanted to maintain a facade that wasn’t quite true, I’ve always thought if you’re honest and upfront it’s so much easier than remembering the lies you’ve told,” he said.
Psychology academic Dr Rachel Hogg argued building a culture in the workplace where people feel comfortable goes beyond the policies.
“Coming out" is not an all or nothing event, rather, it tends to be a gradual process of making decisions about how much to reveal, to whom, and in what contexts,” Dr Hogg said.
“Trust in the organisation and in one's immediate supervisor appears to influence the relationship between workplace disclosures and organisational policies.
“While the policies and practices of an organisation matter and these policies are an important baseline for an organisation, what may matter more is perceptions of employees about these policies and how confident they are in formal policies being enacted and taken seriously in the workforce.”
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