NEW research has found people who ‘sound gay’ could be discriminated against in applying for jobs or promotions.

The University of Surrey study found that gay men face workplace discrimination if they have ‘feminine’ voices, as do lesbians who sound ‘husky’.

While the results appear to depend on stereotypes, the study found straight men are less likely to think a ‘gay sounding’ person should get a job or higher salary compared to a ‘straight sounding’ person.

Lead researcher Dr Fabio Fasoli said the study proves workplace discrimination still exists for LGBTI people.

“This study highlights that it can be a real problem in the workplace and for people’s career prospects,” he said.

“It is revealing that despite all the work to lessen discrimination against the LGBTI community, people subconsciously typecast an individual before getting to know them.

“This study demonstrates that unacceptable levels of discrimination, be they subconscious or conscious, still exist in our society.

“We need to do more to tackle the discrimination faced by the LGBTI community.”

Another recent report has also found almost half of LGBTI Australians hide their sexual or gender identity at work.

The report was conducted as part of the international Dive In Festival for diversity, initiated by insurer Lloyd’s. It revealed six in 10 LGBTI people have experienced verbal homophobic abuse at work, and two in 10 have experienced physical violence.

Being able to be out at work appears to be better for businesses.

Lloyd’s representative Chris Mackinnon said, “Research shows that when LGBTI staff are ‘openly out’ to all, businesses see a 15 to 30 per cent increase in productivity, and retention rates improve by 10 per cent.”

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