The purpose of this paper is to explore the ways in which Canadian lesbians and gay men manage their non‐hegemonic identities in organizations, given the relative paucity of qualitative data in the area, the importance of work as a site for identity projects in the contemporary west and growing pressure on employers to attend to sexual orientation as part of diversity management initiatives.
Data were gathered through 16 semi‐structured interviews with lesbian and gay workers from three Canadian cities.
The data emphasize the importance of organizational environments in which queer people feel able to integrate their identity at work with their identity in the rest of their lives. Role models were identified as especially important in this regard, particularly for women who talked of the organizational “double jeopardy” of being female and a lesbian.
Although the data reported here are not generalizable, it is worrying that they echo many earlier studies on the negative aspects of lesbian and gay workplace experience. One key implication is that those employees who conform most closely to what Butler calls the heterosexual matrix are less likely to experience problems related to their sexual orientation.
This paper indicates several themes which are not extensively travelled in the existing literature, including the suggestion that coming out to colleagues is easier if one is in a long‐term relationship, as well as a sense that having to negotiate such disclosure simultaneously enhances work‐related interpersonal skills.
Bowring, M.A. and Brewis, J. (2009), "Truth and consequences: Managing lesbian and gay identity in the Canadian workplace", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 361-377. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150910964231Download as .RIS
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