Discrimination against LGBTQ Community: Inequality in the Workplace

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One common group of people who get discriminated at their workplace today is the LGBTQ community. Though more liberal states such as California or New York have very good laws in place that protect this community of individuals, other states unfortunately have very limited laws that protect transvestites or people that identify as another gender besides male or female. There are a lot of cases of discrimination amongst the community with the military which can be even seen until this day. There are many protests which are trying to bring awareness to these issues and attempt to bring legislation to fix it. Although the United States did come a long way from where they used to stand on homosexuality and transsexuals, it is something that can still be seen running into conflicts even with this current generation.

The LGBTQ has a long history of discrimination. It can be workplace discrimination, or just discrimination of homophobia or transphobia in general. It wasn’t up until December 22, 2010 that Barack Obama signed a legislation that threw out “Don’t ask, don’t tell”, which was a motto in the military that heavily discriminated against homosexuals. The meaning is exactly what it sounds like which prevents any active service member from asking another colleague regarding their sexual orientation or telling them. If one answers truthfully about them being gay, they risk themselves from being fired from their service. Of course, this type of discrimination not only applied to just homosexuals, but people who would identify as bisexual and transsexual as well. (FACT SHEET: Obama Administration's Record and the LGBT Community)

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One recent incident of workplace discrimination which was trending on the news recently the Trump Administration putting a ban on transgender troops. As the topic mentioned earlier, this all took place after Obama’s repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law. This all happened on March 23, 2018. According to Levin, this would force transvestite military members to try to hide their identity throughout their service to protect this country. Levin also stated that Trump’s defense is that it would save medical costs of transitioning soldiers, but the effects which it would bring to the military would be far worse. (Levin 2018). There seems to be no proof that transgender troops directly serve into the military for the benefit of transitioning surgery. Also, many can argue that it’s not one’s priority to join the military. It shows the U.S.A took a leap backwards in terms of military workplace equality which directly contradicts Obama’s legislation to protect them. On July 26, 2017 Donald Trump made a tweet regarding the ban on transgender military members.

Trump tweeted, “The U.S Government will not allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory.” (Trump 2017). This is a way to be perceived as not only discriminatory from preventing the transgender community from serving, but also making it perceived to as if transgenders are not focused on “victory” or “mentally fit”. According to New York Times, the military members must use the pronouns, bathrooms, and identification of gender which is listed on their birth certificate. (Philipps 2019). If a service member is diagnosed with “Gender dysphoria”, they will not be allowed to serve in the military.

Gender dysphoria gets thrown around quite a lot in conversations regarding transgender people. Gender dysphoria used to be the diagnostics of many people who identified as transgender not too long ago. Unfortunately, many transgenders were considered mentally ill, not as a normal healthy person. Similarly, to what homosexuals used to experience years back where they were considered to be a mental illness also. Many people were afraid to have their children go near a person who identifies as homosexual, because they were terrified that their child will become homosexual as well. Fortunately, times have changed and now people are starting to realize that people are born that way and was not changed into a different sexual orientation or gender later in their life. This puts a contradiction on the mental illness diagnoses of “gender dysphoria”. Also, getting rid of this diagnostic term will prevent further workplace discrimination against transgender workers that are not soldiers as well.

According to LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project, only 21 states prevents workplace discrimination against the LGBTQ community whether they are homosexual, transsexual, or a different gender identity, which is also shown in figure 1 above. (LGBTMAP). An interesting fact that can be drawn from the figure above, is that there is what seems to be a pattern. The states in the lower mid-west shows that if you live there while being gay or transsexual, you will more likely to be not protected by workplace anti-discrimination laws. If you identify as a different gender or are homosexual, this map easily shows that your best bet is to live in one of the state’s highlighted green. One may be confused by Obama’s legalization of gay marriage in 2015, but unfortunately this federal legislation only looks at the legalization of marriage itself, which doesn’t include protecting the LGBTQ against other discrimination. (LGBTMAP)

A fascinating article which was published by the Huffpost written by Kurina Baksh, brought up very staggering statistics. According to Baksh, only four percent of Americans identify as LGBTQ. Shockingly, twenty one percent have admitted that they were discriminated against when it came to pay, raises, and hiring. Baksh also stated that twenty five percent of discrimination complaints are from LGBTQ employees.

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