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1 Center for American Progress | Gay and Transgender People Face Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Data Demonstrate Need for Federal Law
Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely May 2011
Gay and ransgender individuals coninue o ace widespread discriminaion in he  workplace.* Sudies show ha anywhere rom 15 percen o 43 percen o gay people have experienced some orm o discriminaion and harassmen a he workplace. Moreover, a saggering 90 percen o ransgender workers repor some orm o harass-men or misreamen on he job. Tese workplace abuses pose a real and immediae hrea o he economic securiy o gay and ransgender workers. Congress should work quickly o pass he Employmen Non-Discriminaion Ac, or ENDA, o ensure ha all Americans are judged in he workplace based on heir skills, qualificaions, and he qualiy o heir work. Righ now, oo many o our counrys gay and ransgender workers are being judged on heir sexual orienaion and gender iden-iy󲀔acors ha have no impac on how well a person perorms heir job.
 The numbers
Te Williams Insiue on Sexual Orienaion Law and Public Policy aggregaed a num- ber o surveys o deermine he exen o which gay and ransgender workers experience discriminaion and harassmen in he workplace. Teir findings illusrae ha discrimi-naion and harassmen are pervasive:
Fifteen percent to 43 percent of gay and transgender workers have experienced some form of discrimination on the job.
Eigh percen o 17 percen o gay and ransgender workers repor being passed over or a job or fired because o heir sexual orienaion or gender ideniy.
en percen o 28 percen received a negaive perormance evaluaion or were passed over or a promoion because hey were gay or ransgender.
Seven percen o 41 percen o gay and ransgender workers were verbally or physically abused or had heir workplace vandalized.
* In this column, the term gay is used as an umbrella term for people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
 
2 Center for American Progress | Gay and Transgender People Face Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Sraigh coworkers also ates o he presence o discriminaion and harassmen agains LGB workers. Te Williams Insiue’s repor ound ha 12 percen o 30 percen o sraigh workers winessed discriminaion in he workorce based on sexual orienaion. Conrolled experimens have ound consisen evidence o workplace discriminaion as  well. When researchers send wo ses o mached resumes o major employers, and one indicaes he applican is gay, employers warmly receive “gay” resumes ar less ofen han “sraigh” resumes. Seven ou o eigh o hese sudies confirmed he exisence o anigay employmen discriminaion.ransgender individuals encouner workplace discriminaion and harassmen a even higher raes han gays and lesbians. Earlier his year, he Naional Cener or ransgender Equaliy and he Naional Gay and Lesbian ask Force released a comprehensive sudy on ransgender discriminaion ha revealed near universal problems a he workplace:
Ninety percent of transgender individuals have encountered some form of harass-ment or mistreatment on the job.
Fory-seven percen o workers have experienced an adverse job oucome because hey are ransgender. Tis includes: Fory-our percen who were passed over or a job weny-hree percen who were denied a promoion  And 26 percen who were fired because hey were ransgender
 The stories behind the numbers
Behind hese saisics are he hearbreaking sories o everyday Americans losing heir  jobs based on characerisics ha have nohing o do wih heir job perormance.  Vandy Beh Glenn los her job wih he Georgia General Assembly when her boss fired her because she was ransgender:
[My boss] told me I would make other people uncomortable, just by being mysel. He told me that my transition was unacceptable. And over and over, he told me it was inappropriate. Ten he fired me. I was escorted back to my desk, told to clean it out, then marched out o the building…I was devastated.
Brook Wais was gainully employed in Dallas, exas unil her manager fired her immediaely afer she saw a picure on Brook’s cell phone o Brook and her girlriend kissing on New Year’s Eve:
 I didn’t lose my job because I was lazy, incompetent, or unproessional. Quite the con-trary, I worked hard and did my job very well. However that was all discarded when my boss discovered I am a lesbian. In a single aernoon, I went fom being a highly  praised employee, to out o a job.
 
3 Center for American Progress | Gay and Transgender People Face Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
 And officer Michael Carney  was denied reinsaemen as a police officer in Springfield, Massachusets because he old his supervisors ha he was gay:
 I’m a good cop. But I’ve lost two and a hal years o employment fighting to get that job back because I’m gay…I’m proud to be Irish-American. I’m proud to be gay, and I’m  proud to be a cop in Springfield, MA.
 The economic consequences of discrimination
Gay and ransgender individuals suffer rom socioeconomic inequaliies in large par due o pervasive discriminaion in he workplace. Discriminaion direcly causes job insabiliy and high urnover, resuling in greaer unemploymen and povery raes or gay and ransgender people, as well as he wage gap beween gay and sraigh workers. Consider ha gay men earn 10 percen o 32 percen less han similarly qualified he-erosexual males. Older gay and lesbian aduls experience higher povery raes han heir heerosexual counerpars. And ransgender individuals are wice as likely o be unem-ployed and are our imes as likely o live in povery. Nearly 20 percen have been or are currenly homeless.Companies should care abou hese numbers i hey are in he business o boosing profis. ime and again , researchers have demonsraed ha discriminaion diminishes  produciviy, job saisacion, and he menal and physical healh o all employees.
Enacting legislation that provides real protection
Gay and ransgender individuals’ legal and social sanding is improving despie heir unair and unequal reamen in he workplace. An increasing number o saes, munici-paliies, and businesses have adoped nondiscriminaion proecions ha prohibi discriminaion based on sexual orienaion and gender ideniy. Te public, oo, has increasingly  voiced suppor or employmen proecions and work- place airness or gay and ransgender workers. And more and more gay workers are coming ou a he workplace, a sign ha workplace climaes have become more accep-ing or a leas oleran overall.Neverheless, gay and ransgender people coninue o lack ull workplace proecions afforded o women, people o color, veerans, seniors, and he disabled. Under ederal law i is sill legal o fire someone or being gay or ransgender.
 
 Where sae or local laws exis, gay and ransgender workers file discriminaion complains a comparable raes and in some case higher raes han oher proeced classes such as gender and race. Bu Congress has hus ar ailed o incorporae gay and ransgender workers ino employ-men laws ha shield hese and oher groups rom workplace discriminaion naionwide.
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