Deal with Homophobia at Work

Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. If someone at work is being homophobic, you may be unsure of what to say or do about it. Don’t worry, the law is on your side. There are plenty of things you can do to put a stop to it. To help you out, we’ve put together a handy list of options for you to choose from.


Speak up about your views.

  1. Talk about accepting others regardless of their preferences. If someone is expressing homophobic opinions about you or anybody else, tell them that you don’t feel the same way. Talk about how you feel people should be free to love whoever they want, regardless of what others think about it.[1]
    • For instance, you could say something like, “I don’t really care how you feel about it, people should be able to do whatever they want.”

Talk to your friends about it.

  1. Seek support from people you love and trust. If you’re feeling hurt, that’s totally normal. Try talking to your friends about how you feel. They’ll be able to give you love and support that can make you feel better and not be so bothered by someone else’s ignorant views.[2]

Try not to let it bother you.

  1. Rise above their petty insults. That’s not to say that you should let it go if someone is being homophobic. But don’t let their ignorance bring you down to their level. Avoid fighting back with insults. There are plenty of other ways you can put an end to their behavior.[3]

See a counselor.

  1. Talk to a professional if you’re struggling with it. Dealing with homophobia can absolutely affect your mental health. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or being over-dramatic. If you’re feeling really upset or shaken up about homophobic behavior at work, try talking to a mental health professional like a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist.[4]

Know your rights.

  1. Discrimination is illegal and you don’t have to put up with it. You have the law on your side. Discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation isn’t legal. If someone is being homophobic at work, you can rest easy knowing that you have the full support of the legal system.[5]

Document any homophobic incidents.

  1. Make a note as soon as it happens. Write down any homophobic behavior at work. Save any emails you receive. Document everything you can. You may need to provide them as proof if you file a complaint.[6]

Talk to your supervisor.

  1. Ask them to put an end to the behavior. Tell your immediate boss about any homophobia you experience. Tell them who the perpetrator is and ask them to do something about it. If the person being homophobic is reprimanded, they may not do it anymore.[7]

Challenge anybody you see being homophobic.

  1. Tell them it’s not okay and you won’t support it. You don’t have to be gay to be upset about homophobic behavior at work. It’s never acceptable. If a coworker is being homophobic, call them out on it. Tell them you won’t allow them to behave that way around you.[8]
    • Be stern about it. Say something like, “Look, that’s not okay. Don’t do it again or I’m going to notify our supervisor.”

Support anybody being discriminated against.

  1. Respect them and tell them you’re there for them. It can be really hard to deal with discrimination, especially if someone has to deal with it alone. If a coworker is hurt or upset by someone else’s homophobic behavior, be there for them.[9]

File a complaint.

  1. Make a formal report with HR or your manager. If enough is enough, and you’re done dealing with homophobic behavior at work, it’s time to make it official. Talk to the human resources manager or your boss and tell them you want to file a formal complaint. Sometimes, people will only learn by being punished for their insensitive and hurtful behavior.[10]


  • Talk to your boss the first time you experience any homophobic behavior so the problem can be stopped as soon as possible.


  • If the harassment continues, consider hiring a lawyer for legal representation.