Home' LOTL : Jul 12 Contents 12 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Lifestyle | Health
Switchboard investigates the options of being out
in the workplace.
Coming out can at times be an enormous thing to do, and it is
something that ver y few of us will do only once. Friends, family,
acquaintances, e ven the occasiona l shop assistant, will be told in
one way or another over time. Whether these are big or small disclosures,
they tend to happen, and each can be an anxiety provoking episode.
Coming out at work, a place of stress for most can be espe cially tricky.
There are many rea sons for this anxiety, for example, most of us have
a variety of super visors, managers and work colleag ues that in other
circumstances we wouldn’t want to share personal information with so
it is reasonable to question why do it? Or perhaps you are trying to g et
a promotion, g et a reference or just make a g ood impression. We don’t
always know how another person will react. What if your boss has made
a homophobic comment in the past? What if you’re just not sure that the
workplace as a whole is supportive? Coming out may not be an option.
The troubling reality is that some of these fears do come tr ue. ‘ Writing
Themselves In 3’, the third nationa l study on sexual health and well being
of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people (2010),
showed that whilst the workplace was
the second least common site of abuse,
it occurred for 17% of those sur veyed.
Respondents had experienced verbal
abuse, but more shockingly, had also
been the victims of physical abuse.
These statistics are grim, and you may
be wondering , why would I come out if
I am going to face this?
The good news is that times are changing . For one, you have the right
to seek leg al action if you feel a s though you have be en dismissed unfairly
based on your sexuality and/or gender identity. Also, many workplaces
have anti-homophobia policies in place which aim to ensure equality.
There are also companies striving to g et onto the Austra lian Workplace
Equality Index , a ser vice provided by Pride In Diversity that evaluates
LGBTI inclusiveness in Australian workplaces. And Gay and Lesbian
Health Victoria has introduced, in consultation with the Quality
Improvement and Community Ser vices Accre ditation (QICSA), the
Rainbow Tick, an accreditation process for LGBTI inclusive practice
in Austra lia . The accreditation processes were developed in response to
increasing requests from the LGBTI community, in particular, requests
for a list of LGBTI inclusive health and human ser vices.
The decision to come out any where, including work, can be daunting .
The ma in thing to remember is that you are not alone. Many have gone
through this in the past, and many will continue to go through this in
the future. If you are feeling that you would like to talk to someone
about coming out and the implications for you, please give Switchboard
a call. Our trained volunteer telephone counsellors are able to offer you
support and referra ls during this time.
The good news
is that times are
Gay and Lesbian Switchboard
Counselling: (03) 9663 2939 (Melbourne) or 1800 184 527 (Regional Victoria
Monday to Thursday 6pm to 10pm; Wednesdays 2pm to 10pm; Friday,
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 6pm to 9pm
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