A comprehensive study of the UK gay and lesbian community reveals most gays and lesbians think coming out as gay can harm their careers.

These first findings from the Out Now 2008 Millivres Gay Market Study reveal new information about being gay at work in the UK.

For the first time ever in a large-scale research study, gays and lesbians were asked whether they thought being openly gay at work can harm their prospects for promotion.

The vast majority of respondents – 82% of lesbians and 75% of gay men – say that being open with everyone at work about being gay is not a good career move.

One in eight said that being out as gay at work would “definitely” hold back their job promotion prospects.

Respondents were asked whether coming out at work is still an issue these days and most said that it is: Fewer than one in five female respondents (18%) and one in four male respondents (25%) said being openly gay at work would not cause any harm to their career prospects for promotion at work.

Global gay strategy consulting company, Out Now, carried out the new research amongst users of a number of Britain’s most respected gay media: GT, Pink Paper and DIVA.

Other results show that 14% of respondents were harassed at work in the UK last year because they were perceived to be lesbian or gay.

According to Out Now the results show workplace gay Equality and Diversity policies are not filtering down into actual day-to-day life at work.

Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now said, “The fact that two out of every three respondents think their own employer treats gay staff less than perfectly is – in 2008 – rather depressing”

“Concealing your sexuality at work takes a lot of energy – energy that could be far more productively used in building better workplace relations – based on mutual trust and respect – between everyone at work,” he added.

The survey results are reported on in the April issue of GT magazine, the UK’s largest paid circulation magazine for gay men.

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