If you are a member of the LGBTQ community, you may be no stranger to differential treatment in the workplace. After all, according to recent reporting from NBC News, about 50% of LGBTQ workers have experienced work-related discrimination. Approximately 10% of these have done so in just the last year.
It is not uncommon for LGBTQ workers to engage in covering behaviors in the workplace. Covering simply means you change your appearance or behaviors to better fit in with your colleagues or company culture. Unfortunately, though, covering can take a significant toll on your mental health.
Not being yourself
Even though it is normal to put on a professional persona when you go to work, you should not have to change the person you fundamentally are. If you regularly employ covering behaviors, you eventually may view yourself as not good enough for your workplace or society at large. Even worse, you may forget who you are.
Not accessing resources
Your employer may have a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy. If you are trying to downplay your sexual orientation or gender identity, though, you may be reluctant to lodge a complaint against your manager or coworkers. Indeed, staying silent may be an integral part of your cover.
Missing out on career advancement
Just like your colleagues, you should be able to compete for promotions, pay increases and other career advancements. While covering may seem to make you more eligible for these, it can have the opposite effect. Almost ironically, not being your authentic self may cause your work performance to suffer.
Ultimately, rather than trying to cover your LGBTQ identity, you should be able to trust your employer to stop others from targeting you.