Within the careers service we understand just how difficult it can be to embark on your first internship, placement or graduate job. This anxiety can be amplified even further, if you're also worried about having to hide your sexual orientation or gender identity. I often find myself talking to students who aren't sure whether to disclose their sexuality or not. First and foremost, only you can decide whether or not to reveal your sexuality; it’s your personal life, and you have every right to keep it that way if you wish.
The main law relating to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is the Equality Act 2010. It provides the right not to be disadvantaged nor treated badly at work nor in education because of your sexual orientation. Therefore it is worth bearing in mind that you don't have to disclose your sexual orientation at any point during the recruitment process so don't feel like you need to include it in your CV, covering letter or application form. Much the same applies with interviews as with the application process.
You may also want to take your time and research the right employer, an excellent source of information and help when looking for positive employers is Stonewall. You may want to look at the 'Starting Out: Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Careers Guide' and 'The Workplace Equality Index' which Stonewall publishes annually.
You may decide once you're settled in your new place of work that you'd like to be open and share your sexual orientation with your colleagues. Please do take a moment to read this excellent article by the Huffington Post on Coming out of the Closet. If you do decide to share your sexuality, these tips may help:
- Make sure you’re emotionally ready to be known as your genuine self.
- If there are other people “out” in your workplace already, maybe seek their confidential guidance in how they approached their own announcement.
- Know your employer’s diversity policies. Do they have an LGBT group for example? May be worth contacting your HR department.
- Do think about how others at work may react and your emotional response to their reaction.