Closeted in The Corner Office


In some places, discrimination camouflaged as business strategy — “We’re tolerant, but our customers might not be” — is considered acceptable. Even as the gay rights movement progresses at a faster clip than civil rights movements before it, there is an overwhelming pressure in the workplace to hide one’s sexual orientation.

For the Times, Claire Cain Miller writes about the depressing fact that there is not a single openly gay CEO at any of the nation’s 1,000 biggest companies.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 91% of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies, up from 61 percent in 2002, but that a majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender workers remain closeted at work.

At some companies, for example, there is a belief that bringing a same-sex partner to an event like a deal-closing dinner with a conservative client could be bad for business.

And sometimes it could be. Deloitte has assigned gay consultants to work on projects for clients, only to have the clients call and say they do not want a gay person on the team, Ms. Smith said. Deloitte walked away from those contracts, she said.

“This is the leadership issue of our time,” she said.

Also, this should go without saying but in case it doesn’t: do not read the comments.

Photo via jstanden

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