STUDY: Employers Hire Gay Men 40% Less Often Than Straight Ones

The American Journal of Sociology just published a study showing that openly gay male applicants get called back for job interviews 40 percent less often than their straight male counterparts—and it’s even worse in the South and Midwest. Plus, if the job asks for the stereotypically masculine traits of being “assertive,” “aggressive,” or “decisive,” openly gay men’s chances get ever lower. And you thought your resume typeface was the problem.

Pink News reports:

Harvard University researcher Andras Tilcsik sent out two realistic but fictitious resumes to 1,700 white collar job openings. One resume mentioned relevant experience in a university gay society as a treasurer, while the other listed experience in the ‘Progressive and Socialist Alliance’.

Mr Tilcsik said that since employers are likely to associate both groups with left-leaning political views, this would separate any ‘gay penalty’ from the effects of political discrimination.

The results showed that applicants without the gay reference had an 11.5 percent chance of being called for an interview. However, CVs which mentioned the gay society had only a 7.2 percent chance. The difference amounted to a 40 per cent higher chance of the heterosexual applicant getting a call.

Tilcsik said, “The results indicate that gay men encounter significant barriers in the hiring process because, at the initial point of contact, employers more readily disqualify openly gay applicants than equally qualified heterosexual applicants.”

The study a few interesting questions: should job-seeking LGBTs hide their LGBT identity until after they get hired? Is it morally acceptable for LGBT employers to hire only LGBT employees in an attempt to even out the balance? And should LGBT applicants see their pre-emptive rejection as a blessing in disguise for keeping them outside of a homophobic work environment?

Image via SnippyHolloW

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  • alienmindtrick

    I wish I could find this surprising, but I don’t. It’s good to have it confirmed, though.

  • tookietookie

    i was rejected for a job because i wasn’t closeted. i’ve been hired by other jobs and passive-aggressively treated as a f*gbangle or else ghettoized.

    it gets better. :P

  • Cam

    Not surprising. The Tea Partiers what to criminalize even mentioning that we exist.

  • So Yo

    Looking for a job right now. This does not instill much confidence. :(

  • MKe

    Totally. Every job interview I’ve ever had I go in trying to be as straight as possible, but I leave knowing the guy could totally tell I was gay.

  • trevor bartlet

    Of course not. Who the hell wants the drama that comes with it?

  • WitchDoctor

    A friend and I worked for the same company and there was a period of layoffs, we both got laid off. However, the person who had a ‘personal’ relationship with a psych patient and the other guy who had poor evaluations were kept.

    I also who had a friend who was fired from a restaurant for being gay, after the restaurant was bought out by a very strict religious couple.

    Just a bunch of jackasses out there. (yeah, I’m bitter.)

  • BubbasBack

    But there are no jobs! Darn it Queerty, it’s all Obama’s fault!

  • Michael

    Sorry, but no f’n duh. When I was a bartender there were many, many bars which were all into hiring until they found out I had previously worked for a gay bar.

    In other words, f*ck you America. It’s at least nice to know most of our allies, if not all of them, are far, far beyond us in their treatment of gay people.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones



    Same thing happened to my boyfriend his whole life. First job interview he went to at the age of 15, the female HR rep, started giggling at him when he started talking about himself. He asked if he had said something funny, and she said, “My god, you’re so queeny!”. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.

  • WillBFair

    The study is important. Maybe now we can get past the activist crowd who insist that everyone comes out regardless of the consecuenses.

  • Tony

    Not surprising, but depressing considering I’m looking for a job. Maybe I should just give in and go apply at homo friendly Home Depot.

  • No One

    This is why we need an inclusive ENDA or civil rights protections.

    Think how difficult it is for someone whose official ID or work history doesn’t match their gender presentation or name. You can’t really hide that…

  • Jonathonz

    Hopefully this study will make it to the appropriate lawyers, the ones that are arguing our civil rights cases at this very moment against the claims of those that are arguing that homophobia is not a deeply entrenched and pervasive problem that gays encounter as they go about their daily lives.

  • Interesting

    This is not the first study to show these results. There is also a ceiling with wages as well. Just like there is one based on race. This is why I have always said ENDA is more important than just about any other legislation in terms of gay equality in the short term because it would have the quickest far ranging impact of gay equality in the country. The only reason why this economic data (which shows we are poorer than straights, make less money than straights and now are hired less than straights) is ignore I believe is that the gay main stream wants to focus on present us as different from other minorities and want to avoid anything that does not paint us as middle class white people. This is unfortunate because most Americans – by 70 percent would get behind a strong ENDA being that is inclusive of Trans. But that is never seen as a top priority. While I appreciate DADT, the truth is ENDA will have the greatest impact. Not sure why people deny this other than for the reasons I describe above.

  • Interesting

    @WillBFair:And spoken like a conservative, you miss the fucking point. What the study means is that there needs to be laws so that one can sue employers for not hiring based on sexual orientation. Only a conservative would blame the victim. Its your fault for wanting to come out. If you had been willing to stay in the closet like me- then you would have been safe. You are a retard. the more we have people like you in this society the more its going to go to shit like it already is.

  • the crustybastard


    [ROBOTIC VOICE] “You are fined one credit for a violation of the Verbal Morality Statute.”

  • queertypie

    Medical profession jobs such as RN, LPN, Certified nursing assistants, etc. don’t seem to have a problem hiring openly gay individuals. I’ve been in the medical profession as a CNA for 10 years now and am openly gay and have been welcomed heartily and given every opportunity for advancement and recognition. Many of my co-workers are LGBTQ and whether they are out or not, are treated with respect and dignity.

  • perdeep

    Try being gay and identifiably Arab, too. I could hide one and pass (even though I wouldn’t choose to because it goes against my personal reasons for being out) but I can’t hide the other. I’m happily employed right now (knock on wood) but I’ve definitely felt the effects before.

  • Kev C

    40% seems low, actually. I don’t know about lesbians, but fems and trans are often discriminated against in many job fields, and also face on the job harassment. Even in jobs that are typically filled with gays (medical/healthcare, beauty/fashion, arts/entertainment, decorating/desigh, computer IT) hiring discrimination and OTJ harassment have risen over the last decade.

  • Robert in NYC

    Even if ENDA were the law, employers would find ways to get around it and deny or fire gay people for other reasons. We’ve really not progressed that much in employment practices.

  • Interesting

    @Robert in NYC: No law will ever completely prevent anything. it is specious to say a law should not exist because it will not yield 100 percent compliance. What it will do is raise the stakes for discrimination, and will, like with racial discrimination and sex discrimination, make it harder for employers to do so. The way the law works in the area of employment discrimination is that one can bring a case even if one can not prove intent. Its called disparate impact, which means, if you can show that gays are disproportionally not being hired (regardless of intent) there is an issue that can be possibly litigated, which means employers will actively seek to avoid such cases by hiring gays and training their staff not to discriminate. Will this reach everyone? No. But you will reduce the numbers from 40 percent to something less than 40 percent. You like a lot of Americans seem quite ignorant about how laws work.

  • Tired Old Queen at the Queerty

    Yeah but it ultimately works out best in the final analysis. Work for smart people and shit up.

  • adam

    Something like one in four resumes contains false or falsified information, according to others of these wonderful studies out there. And, when companies can block applicants for perfectly legitimate, relevant past experiences, who could blame people for strategically tinkering with items, intervals, and references on resumes? There’s apparently lots of bad-faith negotiating going on, for both the applicants and the interviewing teams.

    One wonders, if the resume had just said the applicant had experience as an officer with a student group, left completely generic, would it even get a second glance? Are companies even going to bother contacting universities, to check up on references like this one?

  • brown gay al

    what a stupid study. I will not hire someone with a queer studies or. woman’s studies course either. can someone compare this resume with one proclaiming chairperson of the feminist association. and for not firing blacks you really think I can’t fire blacks either. what a joke

  • adam

    Craigslist has a job ad for a Gay bartender .wiilling to work shirtless. I emailed the guy about being a heterophobe and flagged the ad. I’m pretty sure that violates the EOA. Wrong is wrong no matter who does it.

Comments are closed.