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Pride Against Prejudice? The Stakes of Concealment and Disclosure of a Stigmatized Identity for Gay and Lesbian Auditors

Sebastien Stenger and Thomas Roulet
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Sebastien Stenger: Institut Supérieur de Gestion (ISG), France

Work, Employment & Society, 2018, vol. 32, issue 2, 257-273

Abstract: How do individuals choose to conceal a stigmatized attribute and what are the consequences of such a choice? We answer this question by looking at how gay and lesbian employees make sense of their homosexuality in the highly normative context of audit firms. As a first step, we unveil the subtle pressures exerted on those who possess concealable stigmatized identities. Homosexual auditors engage in partial or full concealment of their sexuality. They live in the fear of being misjudged and cast out of a context in which male values are tantamount. However, the efforts required to conceal create a situation of unrest, which eventually interferes with their social integration at work. We draw on rich ethnographic material in French audit firms, benefitting from the exogenous shock of a gay marriage bill. The study’s findings shed new light on audit as a gendered profession and the cost of concealing stigmatized invisible identities.

Keywords: audit firms; diversity; sexuality; stigma (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/0950017016682459

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