9.5M LGBT Adults Nationwide Would Be Protected under New Comprehensive Non-Discrimination Bill

For Immediate Distribution
July 23, 2015

Lauren Jow, jow@law.ucla.edu, 310-206-0314

LOS ANGELES — A new comprehensive non-discrimination bill introduced today in Congress would provide protections to an estimated 9.5 million U.S. adults who identify as LGBT, according to Gary Gates, Williams Institute Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director.

The Equality Act would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, federal funding and jury service. Discrimination against LGBT people has been well documented in a variety of sources.

National, state and local surveys of LGBT people have found evidence of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

• In response to a national survey conducted in 2013, 21 percent of LGBT people said they had been treated unfairly by an employer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

• In a national survey conducted in 2008, 42 percent of LGB respondents reported experiencing employment discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity at some point in their lives, and 27 percent had experienced discrimination in the five-year period prior to the survey. The survey also found that one-third of LGB employees are not open about their sexual orientation at work.

• In response to the 2010 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 78 percent of respondents reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment at work because of their gender identity.

• In six other surveys conducted in the past 10 years, 19 percent to 44 percent of LGBT people reported experiencing discrimination or harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity at work.

Non-LGBT people also report witnessing discrimination against LGBT people.

• Across a number of studies, 12 percent to 30 percent of non-LGBT respondents reported witnessing such discrimination.

• About 83% of American adults report in recent polls that LGBT people face moderate to high levels of discrimination.

Research indicates that gay men and transgender people earn less than their non-LGBT counterparts.

• Gay men earn 10 percent to 32 percent less than heterosexual men who have the same productive characteristics, such as experience and level of education, according to 12 studies.

• Transgender people are unemployed at twice the rate of the general population, and 15 percent have reported incomes of less than $10,000 per year, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

LGBT people use non-discrimination laws at comparable rates to women and people of color.

• LGBT employees file administrative complaints of sexual orientation discrimination at a rate comparable to filings of sex discrimination by female employees and complaints of race discrimination by employees who are people of color, according to two Williams Institute studies.

Reducing discrimination and improving workplace climates for LGBT employees can be good for business.

• Research has demonstrated that LGBT-supportive policies and workplace climates are linked to greater job commitment, improved workplace relationships, increased job satisfaction and improved health outcomes in LGBT employees.

For more information on employment discrimination and its effects on LGBT people, click here.