Over 4% of American adults identify as LGBT. Approximately 15,100 LGBT adults live in Wyoming. Wyoming does not have a statewide law that expressly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
This report summarizes evidence of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in Wyoming, explains the current protections from sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the state, and estimates the administrative impact of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s existing non-discrimination laws.
LGBT People in Wyoming Report Experiencing Discrimination and Harassment in Employment, Housing, Public Accommodations, and Other Settings
- An estimated 15,100 LGBT adults live in Wyoming. There are nearly 8,700 LGBT people aged 16 and older in Wyoming’s workforce.
- Survey data indicate that discrimination against LGBT people occurs in Wyoming. In response to one recent survey of LGBT people in Wyoming, more than one-third of respondents reported that they had experienced workplace harassment and one quarter said they had experienced employment discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Another survey of LGB people in Wyoming found that 29% of respondents reported that they had been discriminated against in employment opportunities; 20% reported that they had been terminated from a job, and 17% reported they had experienced housing discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
- In addition, aggregated data from two large public opinion polls conducted between 2011 and 2013 found that 78% of Wyoming residents thought that LGBT people experienced discrimination in the state. Another public opinion poll conducted in 2016 found that 56% of Wyoming residents thought that gay and lesbian people experienced a lot of discrimination in the U.S. and 55% of Wyoming residents thought that transgender people experienced a lot of discrimination in the U.S.
- National survey data on discrimination against LGBT people are consistent with data from Wyoming. For example, a national survey of LGBT people conducted by Pew Research Center in 2013 found that 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.
- When transgender people are surveyed separately, they report similar or higher levels of discrimination. For example, the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, the largest survey of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. to date, found that 27% of respondents reported being fired, denied a promotion, or not being hired for a job they applied for in the year prior to the survey because of their gender identity; 23% of respondents reported experiencing some form of housing discrimination in the year prior to the survey because of their gender identity, and 31% reported experiencing some form of mistreatment in a place of public accommodation in the year prior to the survey because of their gender identity.
- Reports of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Wyoming have also been documented in administrative complaints, lawsuits, reports to community-based organizations, and the media.
LGBT People in Wyoming Experience Socioeconomic Disparities
- Research has linked greater socioeconomic disparities for LGBT people to region, a lack of legal protections from discrimination, and less supportive social attitudes toward LGBT people. Data indicate that LGBT people in Wyoming experience socioeconomic disparities compared to their non-LGBT counterparts. Nearly one-third of LGBT adults (32%) in Wyoming reported having an annual household income below $24,000 compared to 18% of non-LGBT adults.
Local Governments, Private Employers, and Public Universities in Wyoming Have Made Efforts to Protect LGBT People from Discrimination and Harassment, but Coverage Is Incomplete
- Laramie is the only locality in Wyoming with a broad local ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Two other localities, Cheyenne and Jackson, have policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity against their own city government employees.
- Laramie’s non-discrimination ordinance protects approximately 6% of Wyoming’s adult population and workforce from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- At least four of the large private sector employers in Wyoming – Halliburton, Rio Tinto Energy, Lowe’s, and Walmart – prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, the University of Wyoming prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Public Opinion in Wyoming Supports the Passage of Non-Discrimination Protections for LGBT People
- In response to a statewide poll conducted in 2014, 62% of respondents said that they were in favor of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Wyoming’s employment non-discrimination law.
- In response to a national poll conducted in 2011, 69% of those polled in Wyoming 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 Wyoming 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 four additional complaints being filed with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services each year.
- The additional four complaints of discrimination could likely be absorbed into the existing system with no need for additional staff and negligible costs.
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