A new brief issued by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and the National LGBTQ Workers Center showcases the importance of LGBTQ people in the workforce. And also in every day life.
Currently only 20 states and D.C. have laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a growing number of federal courts have extended protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity – specifically through Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination based on sex.
Despite this patchwork of protections, LGBTQ workers still report high rates of discrimination when looking for work and on the job.
In the U.S., it’s estimated that 4.5% of the population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. This totals to approximately 11 million LGBTQ people. Of that number, roughly 88% are employed.
LGBTQ people are racially diverse with one-third of the LGBTQ community made up of people of color. Further, Black, Hispanic and Asian people are more likely than Caucasian people to identify as LGBTQ.
There are approximately 1 million LGBTQ immigrants in the U.S. with 30% being undocumented.
It’s important to remember that these statistics are variable and the results could fluctuate based on how many people in the overall community submit to being interviewed. The numbers could potentially be much higher than what’s been reported.
With harsh immigration policies and lack of nondiscrimination protections, undocumented LGBTQ workers are at increased risk for discrimination and exploitation.
It is estimated that 25% of LGBTQ people reported experiencing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the past year. Half of this population said it negatively impacted their work environment.
Still others didn’t even report the discrimination for fear of retaliation. The brief showed that 27% of transgender workers reported being fired, not hired or denied promotions between 2016-2017.
There’s also the issue of wages.
The study found that 22% of LGBT workers were not paid or promoted at the same rate as colleagues. Gay men reported higher salaries than lesbian women, but both reported less income than non-LGBTQ colleagues.