Review of The Glass Closet Why Coming Out is Good For Business by Lord John Browne reviewed by David Harborne
I decided to read Lord John Browne’s book because I provide a confidential coaching service for high-profile men who have a secret sexual identity and want to come out of the shadows.
When I was younger I had a high-profile job in the National Health Service and I lived under the radar, not telling anyone about my sexual orientation. I had my private life and public life but never the twain shall meet.
Much of what I read in The Glass Closet - Why Coming Out is Good for Business resonated with me.
“It is difficult to feel good about yourself when you are embarrassed to show who you actually are.”
I was reading this book from the perspective of being now openly gay. I realised there was much I didn't know.
“41 per cent of LGBT employees in the US remain closeted at Work. In the UK, the figure is 34 per cent.”
This evidence not only surprised me but made me wonder why I had not considered that coming out is good for business? My own experience proves it! Whilst I was in the closet I was not performing at my best, I wasn't being authentic and I created a divide between me and my team.
“Sexuality does not exclusively define anyone, but it is undoubtedly a significant portion of their identity. Denying a part of yourself makes it impossible to accept all of yourself. This takes an enormous toll on confidence and self-esteem.”
My perception has changed since reading this book. Before I was very much on the fence about whether it was a good idea to the need to share my personal life at work. Reading The Glass Closet raised my awareness of the benefits. Lord John Browne evidenced why it was good for businesses to embrace the inclusion agenda.
“Inclusion creates a level playing field, which allows the best talent to rise to the top. Respecting the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity should therefore be recognised as a matter of strategic importance to every company competing for the global market for talent. Minorities who are not treated fairly and who do not feel included will choose to work elsewhere.”
John Browne shares what needs to be done going forwards and explains this in-depth. I have become a convert in my thinking about coming out at work. Brown provides overwhelming evidence as to why it's good to come out at work and it's good for business.
It was reassuring to hear that younger people nowadays are continuing to make progress and integrate their sexual orientation as part of their overall persona at work and do not feel the need to hide their sexual orientation. This seems to vary from industry to industry, but overall, progress is being made. It is clear there is still much to be done and not every young person feels the same but things are going in the right direction.
I recommend The Glass Closet - Why Coming Out is Good Business for anyone who is questioning whether to come out at work. I also commend this book to organisations as a guide to actively promoting inclusion in the workplace as why it is good for business.
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By David Harborne