Home > LGBT News > Utah’s Closeted Workers…Turning the Gay Rights Clock back 20 Years

Utah’s Closeted Workers…Turning the Gay Rights Clock back 20 Years

July 9, 2011
The Human Rights Campaign

Image by julesreyes via Flickr




Although Salt Lake City has developed a more bohemian reputation than the rest of the state, coming out at work still seems completely unapproachable for some residents. Despite the admonition from Harvey Milk, Sarah Jackson (name has been changed), a 35-year-old Salt Lake City resident, said she would lose her job and her livelihood if she were to tell her coworkers that she is a lesbian, and so would her girlfriend of nearly five years.

“We work together at an accounting firm,” Jackson said. “We met at work, developed a friendship and that eventually morphed into a romantic relationship.”


The firm is a small company and is owned by two business partners who are members of the Mormon Church.

“I just know that we would run into problems if we come out,” Jackson said. “They might not say we were being fired for being gay, but they would find other ways to let us go.”

via Closet workers in Utah | QSaltLake – Utah’s Gay and Lesbian News and Entertainment Magazine.

Wow… I feel sorry for these people.  Not only are their lives more difficult because they ‘have’ to be in the closet, but they’ve made the lives of every LGBT Utah citizen and every LGBT child who is bullied that much more difficult!  Thank you for setting the LGBT movement back 20 years!

These people should be ashamed of themselves.  Putting the risk of losing their jobs above their self esteem, above who they are and what they SHOULD stand for is appalling.  As adult LGBT people it’s our responsibility to speak through our actions!

How can you be a model for younger people that it’s OK to be LGBT, to be who you are, and that you should stay in the fight to be first class citizens if you can’t even tell your employer.

How can you sit back and let others do the work of advancing our rights while hiding in the closet.  If you want to one day be able to marry your partner in Utah, to have equal employment and housing opportunities and equal civil rights it’s up to EVERY individual LGBT citizen to pick up that torch and carry it, regardless of the personal burden you endure.  We will NEVER gain equality if we hide in the closet and hope that someone ELSE works in our best interests.

It’s time these people take responsibility and stand up, stand proud and stand out!  Stop hiding among your straight peers, within your families and among your coworkers.

Being a part of a silent majority of LGBT is no longer acceptable.  Use your voice, your words, your economic power and take ACTION!

  • Don’t shop at businesses who further the anti-gay discriminatory agenda
  • Vote against politicians who continue to stifle equality legislation- LGBT Rights are Human Rights!
  • Attend rallies & protests to further the LGBT community causes-Speak Out!
  • Come OUT to your family, your friends, your coworkers and your employers.  Visibility is political power!
  • Volunteer and donate locally!

Take personal action for those who fought and died for who they were, do it for those children who took their own lives because of bullying or being ashamed of who they are.  Take action for future generations so that they will not endure what we’ve endured. Take action for yourself… be a better person, server a higher human cause!

“Our invisibility is the essence of our oppression. And until we eliminate that invisibility, people are going to be able to perpetuate the lies and myths about gay people.”Jean O’Leary

  1. July 10, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Sorry Phil, but the language in your post reads like an attempt to shame and punish. You can deny it all you like, but that’s how I read it.

    You’re quite right that these people don’t want to make the personal sacrifice you seem so keen to demand of them. That’s their choice to make. You were happy to make a different one. Their perception is likely that the RISK is too great, and it hardly fair for you to insist others martyr themselves.

  2. Naggedbycats
    July 10, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Your little rant seems heartless and insensitive to me. Yes, these women being closeted at work isn’t an ideal situation. Yes, ideally they would stand up for who they are.

    The thing is, everyone has to eat. Self-esteem and community respect don’t pay for food and shelter. Perhaps you’d be happy to risk being hungry and lacking a safe place to sleep for your cause. It seems these women aren’t. I can’t find it in my heart to punish them for that. Why do you?

    • July 10, 2011 at 5:29 am

      I didn’t punish them, they are punishing themselves. And yes, I have been in positions where I paid the price for my sexuality and it didn’t keep me in the closet. People like this want equality, but they don’t want to make a personal sacrifice, such as sharing who they are with co-workers. They ASSUME they’d be fired, but they don’t know. They ASSUME that since it’s mormons running their workplace that they wouldn’t get treated fairly. For the record, I was recruited to a Utah firm by a Mormon Bishop, who very much knew I was gay. I still have my job today.

  1. July 18, 2011 at 12:44 am
  2. July 11, 2011 at 9:55 pm
  3. July 10, 2011 at 4:37 am
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