Common Work-Related Questions

Should I reveal my sexual orientation in my resume or cover letter?

Revealing your gender identity or sexual orientation at any stage of the job search process is a very personal decision — there is no “right” or “wrong” answer.

  • First, consider your own comfort level and interest in sharing your sexuality or gender identity with others. Is it important to you to be out at work?
  • Second, research your audience. Is it likely the organization you're applying to will look favorably upon LGBTQ -related experiences and activities? If so, see this LGBTQ Sample Out Resume. If you're concerned they will not, you can highlight the skills you developed without highlighting the organization you worked with. See LGBTQ Undisclosed Resume.

Should I reveal my sexual orientation or gender identity in an interview? Can a potential employer ask about my sexuality?

Once again, revealing your sexual orientation or gender identity at any stage of the job search process is personal and up to you.

  • It is illegal for an employer to ask about sexuality if an applicants’ sexual orientation is protected under state discrimination laws, but can be a legal question in states in which sexual orientation is not protected under discrimination laws. (In some states it is illegal to make a hiring decision based on your answer, in others states it remains legal to discriminate against people because of their LGBTQ identity.)
  • Prepare for the questions you would be most nervous about answering so that you go into the interview feeling confident and prepared to tactfully negotiate questions around your sexuality or gender.
  • Mock interviews with a career counselor are a great way to prepare yourself for an interview whether you may wish to reveal your sexual orientation or gender identity or not.

What work considerations do I need to think about as a transgender person?

It is important to be aware of state statutes regarding gender identity.  Right now in 33 states there is no state law protecting transgender people from being fired or not being hired in the first place because of who they are.  Only 17 states (CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, IA, MA, ME, MN, NJ, NM, NV, OR, RI, VT, and WA) and D.C. currently prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

  • Many transgender people have concerns related to work-place benefits and workplace facilities—will workplace insurance cover hormones and/or surgery? Does the company have gender-neutral or single-sex bathrooms available? If you are uncomfortable revealing your gender identity, you can ask questions in a way that will get you these answers without specifically revealing your gender identity.
  • Ask about “diversity initiatives” in general, or say “tell me about diversity in the workplace and related policies, such as” and list several types of diversity, including sexual orientation and/or identity, in order to assess the employer

Should I come out in the workplace?

When, to whom, and how you come out in the workplace should be your decision only.  Review the following questions to help you come to a better understanding of where your view falls to make the best decision for you.

1.) Does your employer have a written non-discrimination policy?

2.) Is there an LGBTQ resource group at your workplace?

3.) What is the overall work climate like in your workplace?

4.) What are your work relationships like?

5.) How does your employer rate on the Human Resource Campaign's Corporate Equality Index?