Sexuality and Gender at Work Essay

Total Length: 916 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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.....individual's level of sexual identity development relates to their level of job satisfaction depends on numerous variables -- such as the confidence with which one identifies their sexuality, the degree to which that identity is accepted among peers, and the extent to which that identity places one as a minority. As the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (n.d.) indicates, "Minorities also tend to be at a disadvantage in terms of job rewards, which no doubt has an impact on their job satisfaction as well as career advancement in the long run" (p. 62). The issue therefore is one of whether the individual's sexual identity is a cause of tension or stress both for the individual and for colleagues. To the extent that it is an issue, the individual's job satisfaction is likely to be comparably impacted.

The functions of heterosexual privilege are 1) to enable heterosexuals to maintain a high degree of authority and command, and 2) to undermine the notion of equality between heterosexuals and homosexuals. Some examples of heterosexual privilege in an employment setting may be: 1) the way in which heterosexuals can indulge in lewd or sexually inappropriate conversation with one another, whereas if a homosexual behaved similarly he or she would be labeled as a pervert or with some other such negative label that would be socially stigmatizing; 2) the way in which heterosexuals erect the power structure, adopting an "alpha male" power base that enables them to assert an authority over others.
From this power base, promotions are granted to heterosexuals before they are granted to homosexuals because of a signal of alpha maleness that they give. In other words, the privilege is extended because their way of life is more respected by the workplace culture.

3. Whether it is important for a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender employee to "come out" at work depends upon the aims of the workplace culture and of the individual. A workplace culture that does not promote "coming out" may produce negative effects on an individual who "comes out" -- which would typically cause an individual to want to not come out. However, if it is socially accepted and the individual wants to be honest with his or her co-workers, "coming out" may be viewed as important. It depends upon the circumstance, the context, and what is gained by it. An individual who wants to obtain a promotion may feel it better to hide his or her sexuality for fear of being passed over. On the other hand, another individual might feel that no promotion is worth that kind of fear or stigmatizing and may feel….....

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U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. (n.d.). FAIR & EQUITABLE TREATMENT: A Progress Report on Minority Employment in the Federal Government. DC: Office of Policy and Evaluation.

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