Many California residents believe sexual harassment is only perpetrated by men against women. As we have explained in other posts in this blog, women can also be the instigators of sexual harassment in the workplace. At the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Fulton, we are aware that sexual harassment is also prevalent among LGBTQ people. As you may expect, it can be complicated to recognize and report sexual harassment, regardless of the instigator and the victim.
NBC News discussed numerous instances of LGBTQ-related sexual harassment at work. In the report, victims described feeling confused and violated as they were subjected to unwanted sexual advances, crude comments and retaliation. In one instance, a transgender woman described how she felt victimized and helpless when a superior repeatedly made comments about her body during her transition that were disguised as compliments but crossed the line. In another example, a gay man told about how he was disciplined for being late after he rejected the physical advances of a male supervisor.
You might not be surprised to learn that these victims admitted they had difficulty recognizing the behavior as sexual harassment, despite repeatedly feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed or threatened. They also were confused about how to handle the situation and second-guessed their own judgment. Additionally, it can be challenging for LGBTQ people to address sexual harassment, because they may be afraid of discrimination and backlash based on their sexual orientation.
You should never have to feel victimized by sexual harassment, no matter your sexual or gender orientation, as our page on sexual harassment explains.