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!