Trans-parency boosts job satisfaction

Transgender folks who are out in the workplace are happier than those who aren’t, according to new research from a Rice Univeristy professor. This, at least to me, is one of those “duh” studies, but still important to spell out empirically. On the other hand, I suppose it’s not so “duh” considering how many closeted people (of all stripes) live in fear of showing themselves.

The study, “Trans-parency in the Workplace: How the Experiences of Transsexual Employees Can Be Improved,”  is perhaps the first empirical research on transsexuals’ experiences at work, says Michelle Hebl, the study’s coauthor and a professor of psychology at Rice. It will appear in full in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Vocational Behavior. Here’s the press release about it from Rice.

What I know personally and anecdotally is that we humans are happier when we integrate ourselves into a whole, when we are who we are all the time. Being one person at work, another at home, yet another with our families of origin is crazy-making. I think one of the saddest things about being closeted is that the people around you don’t get to know the real you. Sometimes stealth is important for safety, but many other times perceived fear drives secrecy when it really doesn’t need to. Everyone I know who has come “out” has felt liberated. Viva la liberation! The truth will set you free!

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2 Responses to Trans-parency boosts job satisfaction

  1. Danielle says:

    I’ve found myself much happier for not being out in a workplace. Last month I changed jobs, leaving the one where I was working when I transitioned. In doing so I left behind lots of things, largely misgendering, and coworkers who clearly would never accept me as I am (and a few who weren’t happy when others did – that I was treated as a woman by others.)

    • didaniel says:

      Thanks for your perspective, Danielle. Absolutely it’s an individual thing. For me, the more people know me the happier I am. And for those who accept me (for any reason) it feels like a more meaningful relationship. The important thing is we do what’s right for us given the situation and time in our lives. Those things change year to year. And thank goodness for that!

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