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LGBT equality

Research has consistently shown that people perform best when they can be themselves. Hence, for some of us, being at our best can also be a question of whether we feel safe to be open about our sexual orientation or gender identity.

Times have changed and society is generally more accepting than it was in preceding generations. A variety of European and UK legislation, notably the Equality Act 2010, makes it unlawful for LGBT people to be treated less favourably than other staff. Moreover, most employers are actively trying to promote diversity in their workforce, even in those sectors which once had a reputation for being very conservative, such as banking, accountancy, or law.

Yet discrimination and harassment do unquestionably still exist, and most LGBT people will, from time to time, think twice how open they want to be particularly if it seems like a job you really want might be on the line. For that reason, many of us want to know how LGBT-friendly our prospective employer is, what policies and support they have in place, and what it's really like on the ground to work in their organisation.

There are some simple things you can do to reassure yourself (see LGBT careers: tips and resources), and you can discuss in confidence any aspect of your career, including LGBT matters, with a careers adviser. But should you even be worried about this? And how do you handle it if you do want to disclose your sexual orientation or gender identity?