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The positive experiences associated with coming out at work

Nicholas P. Salter (Psychology, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, USA)
Thomas Sasso (Management, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 3 September 2021

Issue publication date: 18 March 2022




Much research has focused on the negative aspects of disclosing sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the workplace but less has explicitly examined the positive aspects. This lack of research is problematic as this can oversimplify the work lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) people. The current study examines positive intrapersonal, interpersonal and work opportunity experiences associated with coming out in the workplace as LGBTQ.


The current study surveyed 135 working adults who identified as LGBTQ and used a mixed qualitative and quantitative design to examine the relationship between disclosure and various positive workplace experiences.


Results suggest that sexual orientation disclosure at work was related to participants perceiving multiple positive interpersonal as well as work opportunity experiences. Furthermore, results suggest gender identity disclosure was similar to, but not the same as, sexual orientation disclosure in terms of perception of positive experiences.


Previous research on disclosure at work has taken a somewhat narrow and typically quantitative approach. The current study provides more nuance to the phenomenon by broadly examining multiple positive experiences associated with disclosure and studying them qualitatively in order to best understand participants' experiences in their own voices.



The authors acknowledge and thank the research assistants who helped with coding data for the current study, as well as the participants who graciously volunteered their time for this study.


Salter, N.P. and Sasso, T. (2022), "The positive experiences associated with coming out at work", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 224-240.



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