The Corporate Closet : The Professional Lives of Gay Men in America
Using interviews with hundreds of gay professionals, this study discusses the effects of their sexuality--whether open or in the closet--on their careers, including the stress that may result from managing their sexual identity at work. 15,000 first printing.
- Paperback | 368 pages
- 152 x 229 x 21mm | 531g
- 26 Sep 2015
- Free Press
- Reissue, Expanded
- Illustrations, black and white
Back cover copy
While most of us believe that professional conduct is, or should be, asexual, corporate America is in fact suffused with sexual assumptions. From its offices to its boardrooms, heterosexuality is continuously on display: alluded to in conversation and family photos, symbolized by wedding rings, and endorsed by personnel policies that award benefits to spouses and children. For the estimated ten percent of the population that is gay, including the millions of gay professionals in the corporate world, the "sexual culture" of these organizations forces a series of difficult choices. Now, drawing on hundreds of interviews with men all across the country and in different kinds of companies, from chief executives to recent college graduates, James Woods explores the professional lives of gay men and the various strategies they have developed for managing sexual identity at work. Whether they disguise their sexuality, reveal it, or try to avoid the subject altogether, each choice has its consequences and benefits and has profound implications for their careers, their companies, and their colleagues. This pathbreaking book explores the significance of each alternative, and in tracing the process by which gay men make the choice it illuminates the stressful realities of gay life in corporate America. In the short run, it is the men's self-esteem, productivity, and job satisfaction that suffer from the struggle of accommodating to heterosexual norms. But in the long run, the sexual culture of the workplace affects all professionals. Woods' fascinating inquiry explores the dynamics of sexuality in professional life and the way it shapes our own self-definitions, values, and most deeply held ideasabout work. As the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, it is time for us to look more closely at the boundaries between the sexual and the professional, and the many ways in which these worlds overlap.