Since March 4th is National Employee Appreciation Day, let’s talk about some of the issues LGBTQ+ individuals face in the workplace.
Discrimination in the workplace is something that many LGBTQ people face. According to the Center for American Progress, “15 to 43 percent of gay people have experienced some form of discrimination and harassment in the workplace;” that number jumps to 90 percent for transgender people.
These numbers are concerning for many reasons; aside from the fact that everyone is entitled to have their basic human rights respected regardless of their identity or sexual orientation, everyone deserves the right to earn a living without the fear of being harassed or fired for who they are.
Often times when we think about the wage gap, we assume the context is the wage gap between men and women but women are not the only ones affected by it. There is also a wage gap between LGBTQ and heterosexual employees. Gay employees make less than heterosexual employees and transgender employees make even less. Because of work discrimination and the wage gap, LGBTQ individuals experience high poverty rates than their heterosexual counterparts.
Many people believe that the public knowledge of their gender identity and sexual orientation has no place in a work environment because it is personal information; many of their heterosexual coworkers agree. Statistics from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation states that “53 percent of all LGBT workers nationwide hide who they are in the workplace.”
In 2013, Congress passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which “prohibits discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with at least 15 employees.”
While the country has been making great progress in the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, there is still an extreme amount of progress left to be made and as a society we need to work together to achieve full acceptance.
References: Center for American Progress, Wikipedia, The Cost of the Closet and the Rewards of Inclusion: Why the Workplace Environment for LGBT People Matters for Employers – Human Rights Campaign Foundation.