Into the Workplace Closet

By: Rachel Koffman  

My paper will argue that the reason many youth choose to remain "in the closet" is because of four key differences between university and the workplace: people, programs, policies, and values. When youth do not feel free being "out" at work, there are major implications for both themselves and employers. For LGBQ youth employees, the need to conceal their sexual orientation may result in an increase of stress, mental illness, fatigue and social avoidance. For employers, this can have real financial implications including increased turnover, reduced productivity and brand risk. Through a review of testimonials, scholarly peer-reviewed articles, university career centre resources, and reports, I will explore the key differences between university and the corporate, for-profit, workplace as it relates to LGBQ youth experiences. I will also discuss the implications, and conclude by offering recommendations to help employers foster an inclusive workplace that enables LGBQ youth to feel more comfortable bringing their full selves to work.

LGBT Inclusion Transition
Organizational Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Rachel Koffman