More than four percent of the U.S. workforce identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Approximately 160,000 LGBT people live in Missouri.Missouri does not have a statewide law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, or public accommodations.
This report summarizes evidence of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, explains the limited current protections from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in Missouri, and estimates the administrative impact of passing a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Missouri.
- In total, there are approximately 160,000 LGBT adults in Missouri, including 100,000 who are part of the Missouri workforce.
- Media reports and lawsuits document that a number of Missourians have faced discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; these include reports from teachers, law enforcement personnel, an attorney, and a truck driver.
- Media reports and lawsuits document that a number of Missourians have faced discrimination in housing and public accommodations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; these include discrimination by a hotel, a landlord, and a retail store. A 2006 survey of LGBT people in Kansas City found that in the previous three years, 13.0% of respondents reported experiencing an LGBT-related hate crime, 14.1% reported experiencing workplace discrimination, and 2.0%reported experiencing housing discrimination.
- Disparities in wages are also a traditional way that discrimination has been measured. Census data show that in Missouri, the median income of men in same-sex couples is 23% lower than men in different-sex marriages.
- In 2009, a University of Missouri Campus Climate survey found that 35% of LGBQ respondents and 57% of transgender respondents reported experiences of harassment on campus.
- National surveys also confirm that discrimination against LGBT workers persists. Most recently, a 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that 21% of LGBT respondents had been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay, or promotions; and 23% had received poor service in a restaurant, hotel, or place of business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Similar surveys show that discrimination against LGBT people continues in areas of housing and public accommodations. In 2012, the number of incidents of sexual orientation or gender identity housing discrimination nationwide increased by 43%.
- As recently as 2010, 78% of respondents to the largest survey of transgender people to date reported having experienced harassment or mistreatment at work, and 47%reported having been discriminated against in hiring, promotion, or job retention because of their gender identity. Additionally, 53% of respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, and 19%reported being denied an apartment because of their transgender status.
- Eighteen Missouri localities provide protection from sexual orientation discrimination by local ordinance and sixteen of those localities provide protection for gender identity discrimination.
- Approximately 73% of Missouri’s workforce is not covered by a local ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation; 74% of the workforce is not covered by a local ordinance that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
- Even Missourians who live in localities with such local ordinances are not as protected as they would be by state law. In many cases, the local ordinances do not fully cover public and private employment, housing, public accommodations, and government services. Some do not cover gender identity discrimination. Moreover, Missouri state law provides stronger remedies than many local ordinances and provides for a private right of action– a right not included in many local ordinances.
- Many of the state’s top employers have internal corporate policies prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, including 8 Fortune 500 companies.
- Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s current non-discrimination law would result in approximately 47 additional complaints of employment discrimination being filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights each year.
- Enforcing complaints of sexual orientation or gender identity employment discrimination would cost the state approximately $39,300 annually; 2.5% of the annual budget of the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.