Over 4% of American adults identify as LGBT. An estimated 72,600 LGBT adults live in Kansas. Kansas does not have a statewide law that expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, or other areas.
This report summarizes recent evidence of sex discrimination against LGBT people in Kansas, explains the limited current protections from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the state, and considers the administrative impact of adding these characteristics to the Kansas Act Against Discrimination.
LGBT people in Kansas report experiencing discrimination and harassment in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other settings
- An estimated 72,600 LGBT adults live in Kansas.
There are approximately 56,000 LGBT workers aged 16 and older in the state.
- Survey data indicate that LGBT people in Kansas experience harassment and discrimination. For example, in response to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 38% of transgender respondents from Kansas reported that they had experienced workplace harassment or general mistreatment; 15%reported losing a job; and 29% reported being fired, denied a promotion, or not being hired for a job in the past year due to their gender identity or expression.
Further, 22% of transgender respondents from Kansas said they had experienced discrimination in housing within the past year, and 29% of respondents reported that they had been discriminated against or harassed at a place of public accommodation within the past year.
- In addition, aggregated data from two large public opinion polls conducted between 2011 and 2013 showed that 79% of Kansas residents thought that LGBT people experienced discrimination in the state.
Similarly, another public opinion poll conducted in 2016 found that 60% of Kansas residents thought that LGBT people experienced a lot of discrimination in the U.S.
- National survey data on discrimination against LGBT people are consistent with data from Kansas. For example, in response to a national survey of LGBT people conducted by Pew Research Center in 2013, 21% of respondents said that they had been treated unfairly by an employer in hiring, pay, or promotions and 23% had received poor service at a restaurant, hotel, or other places of business because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
LGBT people in Kansas experience poor socioeconomic outcomes
- Research has linked poorer socioeconomic outcomes for LGBT people to region, a lack of legal protections from discrimination, and less supportive social attitudes toward LGBT people. Data from the 2015-2017 Gallup Daily Tracking survey
indicate that LGBT people in Kansas experience poorer socioeconomic outcomes than their non-LGBT counterparts:
- 30% of LGBT adults in Kansas reported having a household income below $24,000 compared to 18% of non-LGBT adults.
- 33% of LGBT adults in Kansas reported not having enough money for food compared to 12% of non-LGBT adults.
of LGBT adults in Kansas reported that they do not have health insurance compared to 12% of non-LGBT adults.
of LGBT adults in Kansas reported being unemployed compared to 4% of non-LGBT adults.
- In response to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 36% of transgender respondents from Kansas said they were living in poverty and one-third had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
The state executive branch, local governments, private employers, and public universities in Kansas have made efforts to protect LGBT people from discrimination and harassment, but coverage is incomplete
- Five localities in Kansas have adopted broad local ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in and gender identity in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations: Kansas City/Wyandotte County, Lawrence, Manhattan, Prairie Village, and Roeland Park.
- Approximately 12% of Kansas’s adult population is protected from discrimination under these five local ordinances. However, the ordinances do not offer the same scope of enforcement mechanisms and remedies as Kansas’s statewide non-discrimination law, the Kansas Act Against Discrimination.
- Several of Kansas’s largest corporate employers, including Spirit Aerosystems, Sprint, Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft, and General Motors, have policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, all seven public universities in the state have internal policies prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and six of them also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
Public opinion in Kansas supports the passage of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people
- In response to a national poll conducted in 2017, 67% of respondents from Kansas said they were in favor of laws that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations.
- Similarly, in response to a national poll conducted in 2011, 68% of Kansas respondents said that Congress should pass a federal law to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
A statewide law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Kansas would not be administratively burdensome or costly to enforce
- Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination law would result in approximately 31 additional complaints being filed with the Kansas Human Rights Commission each year.
- The additional complaints could likely be absorbed into the existing enforcement system with no need for additional staff and negligible costs.
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