Risky business: Gay identity disclosure in a masculinized industry

Joshua C. Collins, Jamie L. Callahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Gay former BP chief executive Lord John Browne resigned his position in 2007 after losing a legal battle to keep a tabloid from printing stories that would ‘out’ him, and purport false accusations of professional misconduct involving a former partner. A comprehensive view of the circumstances leading to Browne's resignation provided a basis for the study of how organizations that value masculine standards work to marginalize gay men. Browne arguably chose not to disclose his sexual orientation for fear of a negative career impact. The purpose of this article is to explore the challenges of disclosure for gay male professionals in masculinized industries and to situate the conversation within Human Resource Development (HRD). Our analysis of the archives of Browne's experiences as an involuntarily outed gay executive in a male-dominated career suggest he struggled with issues of fear related to coping with his gay identity. Implications for HRD practice, research and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-470
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Disclosure
  • Gay men
  • Lord John Browne
  • Masculine industries
  • Sexual orientation


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