The Glass Closet Book Summary - The Glass Closet Book explained in key points
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The Glass Closet summary

John Browne

Why Coming Out Is Good Business

3.7 (84 ratings)
15 mins
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    The Glass Closet
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    People throughout history have been ostracized, imprisoned and even killed because of their sexual orientation.

    Despite many developments toward expanded equal rights, homophobia is still a real issue in society.

    In some countries such as Uganda, gay people have no legal protection. If authorities discover that someone is gay, that person could be sent to prison, or worse, even killed.

    Yet persecution based on sexual orientation wasn’t always a fear. In ancient Rome and Greece, gay people were treated equally. Some societies even considered gay people sacred.

    The Roman emperor Hadrian lived as an openly gay man. Greek gods such as Zeus were depicted in fables as taking male lovers; believers saw such acts as normal.

    The spread of Christianity, however, changed the public’s perception of homosexuality. Many believers have used their interpretation of the book of Leviticus in the Bible to justify the repression and persecution of people based on sexual orientation.

    Such religious condemnation has played a major role in branding gay people across the world as “sinners,” making them the targets of Christian violence.

    But such horrors aren’t limited to ancient history. Since the seventeenth century, gay people have been used as scapegoats for many of society’s troubles. Deadly earthquakes, the bubonic plague and more recently AIDS have all been blamed on the influence of gay people in society.

    What’s more, in Western nations such as Germany and the United Kingdom, being gay was a crime until very recently.

    During the Nazi regime in Germany, thousands of gays and lesbians were sent to concentration camps; they were given a pink triangle to wear, identifying them to others and signifying their low status in society.

    Even after World War II, being gay in Germany remained a crime for decades. Homosexual relations between men in England was made legal only in 1967.

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    What is The Glass Closet about?

    The Glass Closet (2014) details the struggles that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face in the workplace and how these struggles can be overcome. Importantly, these blinks will show how coming out can change people's lives for the better.

    Best quote from The Glass Closet

    As I know from decades of hiding my sexual orientation, closeted people usually assume that coming out will have dire consequences.

    —John Browne
    example alt text

    Who should read The Glass Closet?

    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
    • Entrepreneurs, managers and employees of corporations
    • Politicians and activists engaged in civil rights

    About the Author

    John Browne is the former CEO of British Petroleum (BP), a company he served successfully for 40 years. In 2007, he resigned his position following revelations by a British newspaper that he is gay. This incident, and the expressed relief he felt after publicly coming out, inspired Browne to encourage others to be more open about their sexuality.

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