Coming out still bad for a career

Emerging homophobia issues include treatment of transgender people
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/16/2006

For three years, coming to work was a nightmare for Jorge, a gay Toronto resident working in inside sales. On a routine basis, he had to endure jokes and derisive comments from the people he worked with, including things like, “Gays belong in hell.”

The workplace culture at that electrical distributor was rather macho, said Jorge, who didn’t want his last name revealed. That’s why he felt it was useless to try to change his colleagues’ minds about homosexuals.

And there was no point in asking people to stop the comments. His manager not only tolerated the talk, he would sometimes join in. The company’s HR department in Montreal seemed a distant entity, offering Jorge no protection and no recourse. As a new immigrant, Jorge remembered how difficult it was for him to land a job and he feared that any harassment complaint he made would only follow him and harm his career.