Homosexual women, particularly exposed to discrimination at work

In nearly one out of two homosexual women at work, this discrimination has led to suicidal thoughts.

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Published on 12/05/2022 07:50

Update on 12/05/2022 08:02

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They want to remain invisible at work to avoid discrimination. According to the association L’Autre Cercle, which has just looked into the fate of homosexual women at work, with Ifop, they want to avoid the accumulation of discrimination, women on the one hand, and homosexual women on the other hand, in order to to avoid everyday sexism at work. A very present sexism, since according to the study presented by the association, 53% of lesbian or bisexual women have already suffered discrimination or aggression at work.

Discrimination even more present in certain sectors. This percentage of homosexual women victims of discrimination at work increases sharply in sectors where men are more widely present, such as industry, with 57% of homosexual women victims of discrimination, or transport, with 58%. The situation is even worse among women exercising an isolated activity, such as artisans and traders, with 60% of women discriminated against, and business leaders, with a rate of discrimination that climbs to 68%. Added to this are social factors: women from lower classes are more often confronted with discrimination and aggression. The highest rate is found among racialized lesbians and bisexuals.

Discrimination which has very serious consequences indeed since more than four homosexual or bisexual women out of ten declare having had suicidal thoughts following discrimination. They are 34% to have left their job for the same reasons. Their strategy: hide. Only a third of them have come out to their hierarchy. Bisexuals are the ones who conceal their status the most, along with the oldest employees and racialized women. This strategy of invisibility, explain the authors of this study, is motivated by the fear of being “the service lesbian”, of being labeled as a homosexual rather than as a professional.

Yet they would like to be able to talk about it. The presence of visible homosexual colleagues or even the guarantee of an environment conducive to the expression of one’s homosexuality could encourage nearly two-thirds of them to come out of the shadows.