The LGBT community is statistically one of the most discriminated against demographics in the world today. Although this demographic has seen positive gains as of late, in both marriage rights and employment equality, there is still a long way for them to go to achieve the same equality that those who only have opposite sex attractions face.
In the United States, only 21 states currently have protections in place for LGBT employees to prevent discrimination.
In more than half of the country, the LGBT community can be denied employment just because of their suspected sexual preferences. When the issue was brought up in 2013 that comprehensive national rights should be extended to the workplace, Speaker of the House John Boehner stated that he “didn’t see a basis or a need for it.” In the 2014-2016 Congress, with Republicans controlling all of Congress, it is unlikely that any action will be taken.
- The LGBT community earns as little as $0.68 for every dollar that a heterosexual man earns, even when qualifications are equal or even greater for the LGBT worker.
- The percentage of the US workforce that identifies itself as being LGBT: 4%.
- 21%: That’s the percentage of LGBT employees who report having been discriminated against in hiring, promotions and pay.
- 1 out of every 25 complaints made about workplace discrimination comes from LGBT employees.
- For the Fortune 500 companies that have internal policies which forbid LGBT discrimination, 96% of them state that their workplace policies have led to greater productivity and a general increase in overall morale.
- Up to 64% of transgender people report incomes below $25,000.
- Termination of an employee based on sexual orientation remains legal in 31 American states.
- Termination of an employee based on gender identity remains legal in 39 American states.
- Of the 5.5 million unmarried couples documented in the United States, 13% were same-sex couples.
One of the big topics that is up for debate right now is the “wage gap.” This is often applied when looking at women vs. men in salaries or minorities vs. whites, but the biggest gaps are being seen in the LGBT vs. straight male community. Men who identify themselves as having same sex attractions may make 68% the amount of their straight counterparts. This even occurs when their qualifications are greater than those of their male counterparts. Is it any wonder that so many discrimination complaints are being filed by this population demographic?
Is There An Information Gap In The Workplace?
- One survey of LGBT employees found that 23.8% of lesbian and gay people were not out to anyone at work.
- 48.8%. That’s the percentage of bisexual employees who have kept their sexual preferences secret to their co-workers.
- A recent poll shows that 3.4% of Americans identify themselves as LGBT, slightly lower than the workplace population.
- Women are more likely than men to self-identify as having same sex or “alternative” sexual preferences.
- Up to 43% of LGBT employees say that they’ve experienced discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual preferences, even though ¼ of them haven’t made their sexual preferences known.
- Up to 41% of LGBT employees say that they’ve either been physically or verbally abused by their co-workers or had their workplace vandalized.
- A 2009 study on transgender employees found that 97% of those surveyed experienced harassment or mistreatment in their workplace.
- While 5.9% of the general population makes less than $10,000, 14% of LGBT individuals are within this income bracket.
Having a personal bias is one thing. People tend to be around other people that make them feel comfortable. Someone of a different sexual preference, especially when it comes to those who are transgendered, can actually create fear. What do people do when they are afraid? They’ll either attack or they’ll run away. In the workplace environment, running away means quitting a job or being fired on purpose. That affects their income and is often viewed as an unacceptable course of action. That leaves attacking as the only other option. To counter this fight or flight response, workplace educational programs and policies of acceptance can help to make everyone more comfortable because each person is held to the same standard. That’s why Fortune 500 companies with LGBT equality mandated are seeing so much success.
Why Is There Not More Being Done To Stop LGBT Discrimination?
- 67% of LGBT employees do not report anti-LGBT remarks to human resources or management.
- 58%. That’s the percentage of LGBT employees that have reported derogatory comments or inappropriate jokes about their population demographic.
- In one study, 9% of LGBT employees have heard a negative comment about LGBT people by their supervisor.
- Lesbian couples who are aged 65 and over are twice as likely to be poor as heterosexual married couples aged 65 and over.
- 47% of the transgendered employee population report that they were either fired, not advanced, or not hired due to their gender identity.
A common thing that is heard in the workplace is some variation of this statement: “I don’t care what a person’s sexual preference is. Just don’t bring the bedroom to work.” The only problem is that the average co-worker DOES bring the bedroom into work. For heterosexual workers, talking about how “hot” a woman is or the “equipment” a man might be packing is the equivalent of saying to the LGBT population “I’m straight.” How then is it unprofessional or problematic for the LGBT community to say the same thing? Many LGBT employees don’t identify themselves simply because they believe it would affect their income and job standing. For a society that prides itself on equal rights, all of this sounds far from equal.
Why Should A Business Promote Diversity?
- The total buying power of adult LGBT individuals is projected to be $790 billion.
- 87%. That’s the percentage of LGBT adults that would consider purchasing from a brand that is supplying equal benefits to their LGBT employees. 3 out of 4 non-LGBT adults would also agree.
- 23% of LGBT adults have switched products or services in the past year because a different company was supportive of the LGBT community.
- 71% of lesbian and gay people would remain loyal to that brand should they be supportive of and friendly to LGBT issues, even if purchasing that brand was less convenient or more costly.
The policy of many modern workplaces is that it isn’t “best for business” to cater to the needs of the LGBT population demographic. As the statistics show, however, there is a lot of value that gets brought to the business world. The LGBT population might be comparatively poor to other demographics, but they still have a massive amount of spending power. Businesses that work to reduce discrimination will inspire a lot of loyalty and that often results in repetitive customers.
Discrimination Isn’t Just In The Workplace
- 14% of all hate crimes reported in the United States are committed against the LGBT population demographic.
- 69% of white evangelical protestants are against the idea of gay marriage. So is 56% of the 65+ age demographic.
- 1 in 4 Americans are opposed to equal protection rights being extended to the LGBT community. 1 in 5 Americans believes that transgender individuals shouldn’t receive any equal protection.
- 62% of senior citizens say that sex between two adults of the same gender is morally wrong.
- Only 32% of those who self-identify as Republicans support having a national recognition of same sex couples.
- About 3 in 10 Americans believe that same sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to raise children in their home.
- 50% of Americans believe that someone from the LGBT community is not qualified to be ordained as clergy in a religion because of their sexual preferences.
- 60% of people believe that being apart of the LGBT population is a personal choice and not something that is biological.
- Studies indicate that between 20 and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
- Half of teens that come out as being LGBT state that their parents have had a negative reaction to the news. 1 in 4 report that their parents kicked them out of the home.
If people are allowed the right to pursue happiness, then shouldn’t that include personal happiness that comes from a fulfilling relationship? What is morally right and wrong isn’t necessarily something that a society gets to decide. There are certain actions that are deemed to be illegal, but each person must choose their own morality. It is not something that we can legislate. By discriminating against the LGBT community because they are seen as “immoral” or “sinners” or “different” is wrong. There’s not getting around that fact. Maybe it is time to get the bedroom out of the workplace – for everyone.