Preston Mitchum is a Policy Analyst with the FIRE Initiative at the Center for American Progress, which works to eliminate the social, economic, and health disparities faced by LGBT people of color.
On August 28, 2013, people crowded to the National Mall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The central purpose of the March on Washington was for economic justice and equality. Though the fight for economic security is hardly over, it is an area of particular concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers of color. Due to race- and LGBT-based discrimination coupled with a lack of explicit workplace protections, unequal job benefits, and high rates of unemployment and poverty, LGBT workers of color remain among the most disadvantaged populations in the American workforce.
A new report co-authored by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the Center for American Progress (CAP) and its FIRE Initiative, Freedom to Work, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) analyzes the broken bargain for LGBT workers of color, offers specific policy recommendations, and unearths unique demographic characteristics of LGBT workers of color throughout the United States.
Being LGBT can have real consequences in the workplace. In many places throughout the country, there are no explicit laws that prohibit employers from hiring, firing, or not promoting a person based solely on LGBT identity. On the state level, only 21 states and Washington, D.C. have laws that protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers based on sexual orientation, and a mere 17 states and Washington, D.C. have transgender-inclusive protections that safeguard workplace rights for transgender and gender nonconforming workers. Because of bias and prejudice based on race, workplace discrimination is exacerbated for LGBT workers of color.
LGBT workers …read more