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Majority of Americans support workplace protections for LGBT employees

Eat this, bigots. The boycotts and scare tactics aren't working out very well; you're getting left behind, as the results of the latest Out & Equal Workplace survey show. It's also clear that the majority of straight folks are still not aware that you can be fired for your orientation or gender identity, so there are discussions that need to occur out there. See the stats below the fold…* 64% believe it is unfair that federal law currently allows for an employer to fire someone because they are gay or lesbian.

* 60% of heterosexual adults were not even aware that federal law does not provide protections for employees on the basis of sexual orientation.

* 79% of heterosexuals also feel that how an employee does his or her job, and not their sexual orientation, should be the standard for judging an employee.

* 67% also agree that employee performance should be the standard by which they are judged and not whether they are transgender.

“This survey continues to demonstrate that clear majorities of American adults agree that discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is wrong,” says Out & Equal Executive Director Selisse Berry. “It is apparent that heterosexual co-workers are realizing that sexual orientation is not relevant to job performance.”

In addition, more heterosexuals (88%) say they would feel indifferent or feel positively upon learning that a co-worker is gay or lesbian. About one-in-ten (12%) say they would feel negatively.

This positive response from co-workers is likely a contributing factor to the increase in the numbers of gays and lesbians who feel comfortable(2) about being open in the workplace about their sexual orientation.(3)

    * In 2007, 54 percent of GLBT adults are comfortable having a photo of their spouse, partner or significant other on their desk, compared to only 34 percent in 2002 who felt this way.
    * In 2007, 64 percent of GLBT adults are comfortable introducing their spouse, partner or significant other to their co-workers, compared to 50 percent in 2002 who said they would be comfortable doing this.

I'll be on a panel, “Workplace Equality in the American Spotlight,” at the 17th annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit, which is September 27-29 at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C.  You can read about it here.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding