Today marks #ComingOutDay. Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people who dare to do be out with regard to their sexual or romantic orientation and/or gender identity, either for the first time or as a repeated act for #LGBT+ visibility. But why is #ComingOut still important? Don’t we (LGBT’s) have what we want and need? Yes, in many countries LGBT+ rights are well advanced but not all of us around the globe have equal rights and equal treatment, whether by law or by society.
A few facts:
❌ Homosexuality is still illegal in 35% of UN member states and fewer than 30 countries recognize same-sex marriage.
❌ Same-sex acts can still carry the death penalty in at least a dozen countries.
❌ In the EU one in five (20%) who were employed and/or looking for a job in the 12 months felt discriminated against for being LGBT+ in the past year.
On the plus side:
✅ Eighty-one countries prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation
✅ 96% of Fortune 500 companies have LGBT inclusion policies that include sexual orientation; 94% have non-discrimination policies that include gender identity; 57% include domestic partner benefits and 71% include transgender-inclusive benefits.
🏳️🌈 Fewer than 0.3% of Fortune 500 board directors were openly LGBT+ in 2020.
🏳️🌈 Almost half (46%) of LGBT+ workers in the United States are closeted in the workplace.
🏳️🌈 Nearly two thirds (59%) of non-LGBT+ employees believe it is “unprofessional” to “discuss” sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace – although they do exactly that when they mention their opposite-gender spouse or their own gender.
🏳️🌈 Employees report feeling exhausted from spending time and energy concealing their authentic selves: 17% from hiding their sexual orientation; 13% from hiding their gender identity.
🏳️⚧️ And remember: living stealth is not an option for trans employees who wish to begin transitioning, unless they leave their current employers. For some trans people living stealth will never be possible.
So, coming out and being visible as LGBT+ is a significant statement and act against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Because those who are out can pave the way for those who are not yet out but wish to take this step into the freedom of being their true selves. Let’s support them, all of us and everywhere.