Protective Mask or Glass Closet?: Concealing a Stigmatized Invisible Identity at Work
This research examines experiences with hegemonic social norms that may affect decisions made by employees
with an invisible stigma to disclose that stigma or attempt to conceal it. More specifically, it reports analysis of in-depth
interviews focused on the the role of heterosexism in Millennial gay males’ decisions to conceal their sexuality in the
workplace. In keeping with past research, results suggest that heterosexism can explicitly influence concealment decisions
but, more surprisingly, results also suggest that internalized heterosexism might elicit a default of “conceal” for some that
short-circuits the cost-benefit analysis otherwise presumed to underlie these decisions.
Index Terms - Identity Management, Invisible Stigma, Sexual Orientation, Workplace Discrimination.