Helping LGBTQIA+ Clients Navigate Social Media in the Workplace


April 24, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 Minutes

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Social media has become a pervasive part of our personal and professional lives, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are no exception. However, for many LGBTQIA+ individuals, using social media can be fraught with challenges as they navigate the complex terrain of self-representation and identity management. As mental health professionals, we can support our LGBTQIA+ clients in navigating social media with strategies for managing their online presence authentically yet professionally in the workplace.

Social media use can positively and negatively affect social connectedness among LGBTQIA+ individuals. On the one hand, social media can provide a platform for building and maintaining social support networks, connecting with like-minded individuals, and engaging in activism and advocacy. On the other hand, social media use can also lead to feelings of isolation, cyberbullying, and exposure to negative messages and stereotypes.

For LGBTQIA+ individuals in the workplace, challenges can be amplified. In a recent qualitative study by Lauriano (2023), gay male employees reported using different strategies to manage their online self-representation, depending on their assessment of the compatibility between professionalism and homosexuality. These strategies included adopting different self-presentation styles on different platforms and “testing the waters” by observing reactions from visible audiences and adjusting their online behaviors accordingly.

LGBTQIA+ Support Steps to Consider

Lauriano suggests that therapists consider the following steps to aid LGBTQIA+ clients in portraying professionalism:

  1. Encouraging open and honest communication: We can provide a safe space for our clients to discuss their social media experiences and share their concerns and challenges. By creating an open and non-judgmental environment, we can help our clients feel heard and validated.
  2. Providing education and resources: We can help our LGBTQIA+ clients develop a better understanding of how social media can impact their mental health and well-being. We can also provide resources and tools to help our clients manage their online presence in a way that is both authentic and professional.
  3. Helping clients develop self-awareness: We can support our clients in developing a greater sense of self-awareness, including an understanding of their values, goals, and identity. By helping our clients develop a clearer sense of who they are, we can support them in developing a more authentic online presence.
  4. Supporting LGBTQIA+ clients in setting boundaries: We can help our clients establish healthy boundaries around their social media use, including setting limits on the amount of time they spend online and the types of content they engage with. By helping our clients set boundaries, we can support them in managing the potential negative effects of social media use.

LGBTQIA+ Telehealth Services

LGBTQIA+ telehealth services have proliferated, meeting the needs of struggling transgendered people worldwide. LGBTQIA+ telehealth services have also reduced healthcare inequities and reduced barriers to care access.


Social media has become an increasingly important part of our personal and professional lives, and for LGBTQIA+ individuals, navigating social media in the workplace can be especially challenging. As mental health professionals, it is important for us to support our LGBTQIA+ clients in developing strategies for managing their online presence in a way that is both authentic and professional. By providing education, resources, and support, we can help our clients use social media to build social connections and promote their mental health and well-being.

LGBTQIA+ Bibliography

Coulter, R. W. S., Kessel Schneider, S., Cordova, D., Shpanskaya, K., Khanna, A. S., & Truong, R. (2019). Mediators of the relationship between minority stressors and suicidal ideation among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 6(1), 79-88. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000319

Hall, M., & Hardy, R. (2011). The workplace experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees: Is diversity management enough? Human Resource Management Journal, 21(3), 288-303. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-8583.2010.00153.x

Lauriano, L. A. (2023). Gay employees on social media: Strategies to portray professionalism. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 28(2), zmad001. doi: 10.1093/jcmc/zmad001

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