I’ll sometimes find myself watching young and old straight couples — kissing and laughing, like there’s no one else in the world. The positivity and warmth I feel in these moments is often tinged with a sort of envy: will I ever be able to be that free? Will I ever be able to display affection in public towards the person I love?
I hope so, but the recent spike in attacks on the LGBTQ+ community has confirmed that displaying one’s sexuality in public is a much riskier decision than some realise and that this risk can carry over to the workplace.
Yes, there have been many articles published in recent months about how to make workplaces safer for minorities, particularly for the LGBTQ+ population. However, in the UK, around 35% of us still feel uncomfortable displaying who we are and openly discussing our sexual orientation at work. There’s an immense amount of pressure to mask this part of our identities, and obviously, not being able to be open and authentic with co-workers can have a detrimental impact on one’s happiness, in and outside of the office.