Workplace Mental Health for LGBTQ+ Professionals

Featuring Insights from Employees at Etsy, Intel, and OpenTable

June is Pride month. With a growing number of companies publicly stating support for the group, how do organizational practices translate to the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ professionals?

Bernie Wong | Senior Associate, Mind Share Partners

Updated 6/23/20

This article is also published on Mind Share Partners' "Mental Health at Work" section on Thrive Global.

June is Pride Month, and many companies have taken to social media and other platforms to celebrate this community of diverse peoples. The U.S. has made great strides in creating supportive spaces for the LGBTQ+ community. This includes the Supreme Court's milestone judgment voting that the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The percentage of Fortune 500 companies with policies protecting LGBTQ+ discrimination grew from 4% in 1996 to 91% in 2019 and gender identity discrimination grew from 3% in 2002 to 83% in 2019. What’s more, leading companies have begun creating employee resource groups (ERGs) for LGBTQ+ employees, explicitly encouraging diverse applicants in recruitment, and supporting LBGTQ+ causes and organizations through donations and matching employee contributions.

Despite a number of supportive companies and industries leading the way for LGBTQ+ inclusion in workplaces, there is significant progress to be made. Before the Supreme Court's ruling, only half of U.S. states have formal laws providing the same LGBTQ+ and gender identity protections in workplaces. Half of LGBTQ+ employees stay closeted at work, and nearly 43% of gay individuals and 90% of transgender individuals have faced harassment or mistreatment on the job. In fact, job applicants affiliated with LGBTQ+ organizations were 40% less likely to be called back for an interview, and LGBTQ+ people of color continue to face added challenges in discrimination, representation, and economic opportunity.

These experiences have direct impacts not only on the financial and occupational health of LGBTQ+ individuals but their mental health as well. LGBTQ+ individuals are three times more likely to experience a mental health condition than non-LGBTQ+ individuals, and in Mind Share Partners’ 2019 Mental Health at Work report, they were more likely to experience every mental health symptom listed across anxiety, depression, and more, and