Challenges LGBTQ+ Employees Face at Work

Author : Sumona Chetia

Karan, a management consultant, is openly gay. While the management is supportive of his gender identity, he still has to face teasing and bullying from his peers.

Aritri is transitioning from male to female while working at an IT firm. Her workplace isn’t welcoming about her change, and she is being subjected to insensitive casual banter and mockery.

These are a few of the many issues faced by LGBTQ+ employees at the workplace.

Creating an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees means ensuring employees are safe, represented, and able to bring their whole selves to work. In recent years, even though the initiative has gained momentum, LGBTQ+ employees continue to face discrimination and challenges at work.

Here’s a list of a few difficulties of varying degrees faced by diverse strands of LGBTQ+ employees:

Fear of coming out

It is the most common challenge encountered by an LGBTQ+ individual. The fear of whether to come out, express their gender identity or gender expression becomes a tough decision to take in an unwelcoming work environment.

Internalized oppression

The stress of not being able to be at their authentic selves causes anxiety and self-loathing, which ultimately affects the productivity and innovation of the employee at work.

Discrimination or harassment

Harassment or bullying can be both verbal or physical forms embedded in decisions such as hiring, salaries, work opportunities, and promotions. A lot of such behaviours goes unreported to higher management.


LGBTQ+ employees experience a series of microaggressions, such as hearing derogatory remarks or jokes about themselves or people like them, assumptions, misgendered, wrong pronouns etc.

Workplace policies

Health care benefits, same-sex washrooms, parental leave policies are a few of the many missing employee benefits for LGBTQ+ employees.

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