The Corporate Closet: The Professional Lives of Gay Men in America

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9781501137020: The Corporate Closet: The Professional Lives of Gay Men in America
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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.

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From the Back Cover:

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.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A revealing and timely, if partisan, description of the strategies that gay men assume in order to function among heterosexuals in corporate life. Woods (Communication/CUNY) began this study as a Ph.D. dissertation, then was joined in the writing by Lucas, who runs an ``organizational development firm'' specializing in employment issues relevant to gays. Although many of the homosexuals who replied to Woods's survey insist that sexuality is irrelevant to their business lives, the author complains that corporate life is in fact dominated by the sexual identities of heterosexuals, as expressed by family pictures on their desks and discussions of weekend activities. Some gay men, he explains, use various strategies to hide their own sexual orientation--including establishing boundaries, making up stories, choosing sympathetic allies, evading the issue by using verbal and situational dodges, distracting with other eccentricities, remaining ambiguous, or simply withdrawing. While none of Woods's respondents regrets coming out of the closet, those who have do so with accompanying corporate-life strategies: minimizing visibility; ``normalizing the abnormal''; ``dignifying the difference''; exceeding the employer's expectations; or accepting tokenism. Whatever the penalties for coming out, Woods says, businesses profit from having workers who are uninhibited by their sexuality, whose self-esteem is enhanced by going public and who therefore are more productive workers. Throughout, Woods reveals the strategies necessary for any minority (sexual, racial, ethnic, or religious) to survive in a conventional, homogeneous corporate world--but, as he makes clear in his perceptive study, of all these minorities, it's only gays who move through that world with their particular identity unshielded by law from harassment or abuse. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780029356043: The Corporate Closet: The Professional Lives of Gay Men in America

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ISBN 10:  0029356040 ISBN 13:  9780029356043
Publisher: Free Press, 1994
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9780029356036: The Corporate Closet: The Professional Lives of Gay Men in America

The Fr..., 1993
Hardcover

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